The richest person in Oregon

Luay Rahil
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The rich are getting richer.

Earlier this year, Forbes published its annual list of Forbes400, which ranks the richest Americans by their net worths. The 400 richest Americans saw their combined wealth increase 40% over the last year, to $4.5 trillion. Almost all are richer than last year.

Today, I will uncover the richest person in Hillsboro, Oregon.

According to Forbes Magazine, Phil Knight is the only billionaire on the Forbes 400 who considers Oregon home. His net worth exceeds $41.5 billion, making him the 17th richest person in the country.

Who is Phil Knight?

Phil Knight is Nike's founder and largest shareholder, one of the world's largest athletic shoes and apparel suppliers.

He was born on February 24, 1938, in Portland, Oregon. His dad, Bill Knight, was a lawyer and a publisher. Phil Knight attended Cleveland High School in Portland and was an essential member of the school track team.

After high school, he attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a journalism degree in 1959. At the University of Oregon, he met coach Bill Bowerman under whom he trained as a middle-distance runner. This relationship proved valuable because they partnered to create one of the most successful companies in the world.

Knight had a journalism degree but did not know what he wanted to do next, so he enlisted in the army and completed a year of service. When he finished his service, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

While at business school, he devised the blueprint for a sports shoe company that later became Nike. He earned his MBA in 1962 and started to execute his business idea.

Knight had a simple strategy: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan and sell them at affordable prices.

To ensure that his business idea was successful, Knight visited Japan and secured a distribution contract with Tiger-brand running shoes, low-cost, high-quality shoes. Then, Knight partnered with his coach Bill Bowerman to help him distribute the product more efficiently and created Blue Ribbon.

According to his book Shoe Dog, Knight started selling shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963 and grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. A few years later, they stopped dealing with Tiger-Brand and developed their own Nike company.

Knight used influencers to market his products.

Knight understood the importance of marketing. As a result, in the 1972 Olympics, Knight asked Steve Prefontaine, the long-distance runner, to use Nike's first shoes, the Cortez, to inspire more runners to use the shoes.

By 1980, Nike had one-half of the athletic shoe market by endorsing athletes like John McEnroe, Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, Charles Barkley, and Tiger Woods.

Puma and Adidas couldn't compete with Nike.

When Harvard Business Review asked Knight how Nike competed with other companies, he answered that Nike's manufacturing strategy provided the company with a competitive edge.

We were also good at keeping our manufacturing costs down. The big, established players like Puma and Adidas were still manufacturing in high-wage European countries. But we knew wages were lower in Asia, and we knew how to get around in that environment, so we funneled all our most promising managers there to supervise production.

He stepped down in 2015.

Under Knight's leadership, the company continued to grow. Then, in June 2015, he stepped down as the company's chairman.

The company continued to grow after Knight stepped down, and according to Bloomberg, "Today, the Oregon-based company operates more than 1,100 stores and has a revenue of $44.5 billion as of May 2021."

He is giving his money away.

Phil Knight donated more than $900 million to the Knight Foundation. The Foundation's vision is to support democracy in America by fostering informed, engaged, and equitable communities.

Bloomberg reported that Phil Knight could buy 34.1 million troy ounces of gold and 814 million barrels of crude oil. So, he has a lot of money and will give most of it away before he dies.

If you had his money, what causes would you support?

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Writing on leadership, business, and culture.

Fort Worth, TX

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