Missoula, MT

The two billionaires who live in Missoula

Ash Jurberg

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

The annual Forbes billionaires list was released this week.

The list comprises all the billionaires in the world- and in 2022, there are 2,688 of them. Four of these people live in Montana, and there are two billionaires living in Missoula.

So let's take a look at the world of billionaires, focusing on the three residing in Missoula.

The richest person in Missoula

With a net worth of $6.7 billion, the richest person in Missoula is Dennis Washington. His wealth places him at 350th richest in the world.

Washington came from a modest background; his parents divorced when he was young, and Washington rarely saw his father.

The day after he graduated high school, he went to Alaska to work becoming a heavy-crane operator.

At the age of 30, in 1964, he borrowed $30,000 to start his company- Washington Industries- which consisted of just one bulldozer. He primarily worked on highway contracts, and by 1969 Washington Industries was the largest contractor in Montana.

Washington soon moved on to mining and dam construction, and in 1986 he purchased a copper mine in Butte, Montana. The mine was a huge success allowing Washington to expand and diversify into railroads, shipping, and real estate.

In 2007, Washington Industries was purchased for $3.1 billion.

His son Kyle co-founded Seaspan Corp, and Washington invested in that business which now owns 110 container ships.

Washington and his wife Phyllis founded The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, which "supports a broad spectrum of worthy organizations benefiting at-risk youth, economically and socially disadvantaged individuals and families, and those with special needs."

They have given $960 million to the Missoula-based foundation.

The second Missoula billionaire

The other billionaire in Missoula leads a very different lifestyle from most others on the Forbes list.

Linda Pritzker is part of the successful Pritzker family and has a net worth of $2 billion.

Linda's brother Jay, and her father, Robert, founded Marmon Holdings, which they sold to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in 2008. In addition, her family built the global Hyatt hotel business, and her cousin Tom is still the chairman of Hyatt hotels.

Linda has never worked in her family's businesses; instead, devoting herself to Tibetan Buddhism and was ordained a lama. She often goes by the name of Lama Tsomo and has written several books on her faith and practice. Linda is also a philanthropist, donating a lot of her wealth.

Hopefully, Missoula can add another billionaire (or two) to the 2023 list.

Readers, have you met either of these billionaires? What was the experience like?

Please leave your comments below.

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