This week Forbes released its annual list of billionaires.
There are 2,668 billionaires in the world, of which 63 live in Texas. And for the first time, a billionaire is living in Midland.
Let's take a look at the Midland billionaire.
The Midland billionaire
Oil tycoon Autry Stephens has a net worth of $5.2 billion, making him the 552nd richest person in the world.
Stephens grew up on a farm in DeLeon, Texas, and went to the University of Texas in Austin, where he earned a Bachelor of Science and then a Master of Science. After graduation, he worked for Humble Oil & Refining Company, starting his long career in the oil industry.
“I read there were jobs to be found in petroleum engineering, and these jobs involved working outside at exotic locations around the world. I thought I’d be headed to places like Indonesia; Saudi Arabia; or Lake Maracaibo (Venezuela). Nothing has worked out as I imagined in 1956.”
In 1979 he started a sole proprietor business in Texas and drilled his first well in 1979. That business has since grown into Endeavor Energy Resources, one of the largest private oil producers in the U.S., generating 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Most of the oil is drilled in Texas, and he has created thousands of jobs, mainly in the Midland-Odessa area.
Readers may also recall Stephens and some of his team from Big Dog Drilling when they became reality TV stars after appearing on the TRU-TV TV series “Black Gold."
Midland is the highest-earning city in the United States
While just one billionaire lives in Midland, the city comes out on top in terms of average earnings across all residents.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked 384 metropolitan areas in terms of per capita income, and Midland ranked No. 1.
Midland residents' average per capita personal income was $124,667, which was more than double the national average. It is the third year in a row that Midland has topped the national rankings.
Readers, have any of you met Autry or worked for his business? What was it like?
Please leave your comments below.