Kansas City, KS

The richest person in Kansas City, KS

Ash Jurberg

Taylor Grote/Unsplash

Recently Forbes released their list of the 400 richest 400 people in the United States. Since that list was published, I have been writing articles on a number of these people. Today it is time to look at the wealthiest person in Kansas City.

The richest person in Kansas City

The richest person in Kansas City is Min Kao. He has a net worth of $5.8 billion, placing him at number 182 on the United States rich list.

Min Kao was born in 1949 in Taiwan and graduated from the National Taiwan University before coming to the United States to further his studies. He earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1977. While he was earning his Ph.D., he was also undertaking research for the United States Army and for NASA.

In 1989 Kao cofounded Garmin with Garry Burrell. Garmin, a combination of their first names (Gary and Min), developed GPS navigation systems. Kao was responsible for the "breakthrough design and engineering of the GPS software technology that formed the foundation of the original Garmin product line."

"I've always been an engineer devoted to the potential of advanced technologies. Like most engineers, I have a keen sense of curiosity and a deep desire to learn. Garmin was my first entrepreneurial endeavour, and it has been an incredible journey." Min Kao

Together they grew the business and have brought GPS navigation and wearable technology into many markets, including fitness, automotive, and aviation.

Garmin has $4.2 billion in sales and over 17,000 associates in 80 offices around the world. Its United States headquarters is in Olathe, Kansas.

Kao stepped down as CEO in 2012 but is still executive chairman. Burrell passed away in 2019.


Kao is very keen on education and has donated some of his wealth to this sector.

In 2005, Kao donated $17.5 million to the College of Engineering at his alma mater -the University of Tennessee.

In 2014, Kao donated $1 million to the University of Kansas College of Engineering for the building of electrical and computer engineering design labs. He donated a further $1 million in 2015 to the Kansas State University College of Engineering for the construction of four labs.

In addition, Kao funds a range of engineering scholarships at nine schools across seven states- each ranging up to $8,000 a year.

My top priority is engineering education. The objective is to get more kids involved in engineering.” Min Kao

Readers, what do you think of Min Kao's journey to success? Have any of you met him or worked for Garmin in its Kansas office? What was your experience like?

As always, please leave your comments in the section below.


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