The working teen mom from Beloit who became a billionaire

Ash Jurberg
Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Recently Forbes released its list of billionaires. In all, there were 2,755 of them around the world. Many of them have inherited their wealth through family businesses. However, very few are as inspiring as Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks. She has created her vast fortune through hard work, persistence, and all the time while raising a family.

This story of a working mom from Beloit serves as an inspiration for mothers around the world.

From Teen Mom to Beloit Billionaire

Born in Wisconsin in 1947, Diane had her first child when she was just 17 and was forced to work in factories and sell construction to support her son. Four years later, she met a roofer named Ken Hendricks, and together over the next four decades, they were married, became business partners, and built a billion-dollar company.

"Motherhood got in the way real quick and I grew up real fast. It didn’t stop me from wanting to reach my dream. In fact I think I became even more focused on what I wanted to achieve." Diane Hendricks

All the while, she raised a growing family. In addition to her son from her first husband, she had two more children with Ken. Together with Ken's four children from a previous marriage, Diane was a mother of seven in a blended family. This didn't stop her business ambitions.

I was busy. I worked a lot. I balanced a lot. I got used to living in chaos and learned how to get things done.” Diane Hendricks

As easy as ABC

Ken and Diane founded their business, ABC Supply, in 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin. Together they built the company into one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing and window products in the United States. It has over 780 locations across the country and generates over $11 billion in sales each year.

Women may get tired before the men, because that responsibility of raising a family still falls heavily on the female." Diane Hendricks

Diane suffered a devastating tragedy in 2007 when Ken died in an accident. Other companies saw this as an opportunity to try and acquire the business, but Diane held on. She continued to build her company and led ABC to two of its most significant acquisitions. In 2010 she bought their biggest rival, Bradco, and in 2016, she purchased a leading distributor L&W Supply.

She now has a net worth of $8 billion which places her at 308 on the world's billionaire list.

Inspiring Others

Dianne has spent millions on local economic development and brought several new businesses to Wisconsin. She has been passionate about bringing new jobs to Beloit. In addition, she has helped revitalize Beloit through some of her real estate purchases and renovations. These include moving the town’s library to a nearby mall while replacing the original historical location with a theater for students from Beloit College. Diane has also purchased an entire downtown lock, leveled the buildings, and replaced them with new trendy eateries.

“It looks like we’re beautifying the city, but we’re really beautifying the economy,” Dianne Hendricks

She has donated some of her wealth to WisconsinEye. In addition, she has served on the Stateline Boys & Girls Club boards, Beloit Memorial Hospital, the Beloit Foundation, Forward Janesville, Kandu Industries, Blackhawk Bank, and the Hendricks Family Foundation.

Diane was ranked number one on America's Self-Made Women 2020 list and served as an inspiration for mothers and women in Beloit, Wisconsin, and worldwide.

“I made sure my children knew they could be anything they wanted. I told them, ‘Pursue a life that’s your life.’” Diane Hendricks

Readers, have any of you met or worked with Diane? Please leave your comments in the section below.

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