She grew up on a farm and always dreamed of business: the success story of the richest woman in America - ForumDaily
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She grew up on a farm and always dreamed of business: the success story of America's richest woman

Diane Hendricks grew up on a dairy farm in Osseo, Wisconsin. She is now the richest self-made woman in America. Her net worth is $20,9 billion, reports CNBC.

Business woman standing in front of a blackboard with a financial chart

Photo: iStock.com/eternalcreative

Today, the 77-year-old woman's fortune is estimated at $20,9 billion. This amount is almost double her net worth, which was reported just two years ago. For the seventh year in a row, according to Forbes, she tops the list of America's richest women who have achieved success independently.

Hendricks' fortunes depend largely on her ABC Supply roofing products. She founded the company in Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1982 with her late husband. She currently owns 100% of the company.

ABC Supply had $20,4 billion in revenue last year, according to Forbes. The company has more than 900 branches.

Work ethic raised on a farm

“When I was 10 years old, I looked out the window and thought, I don’t want to be a farmer and I don’t want to marry a farmer,” Hendricks told Forbes last year. Instead, she imagined herself as "independent, wearing a blue suit and having a nice car."

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According to the billionaire, this epiphany, combined with watching her parents work on the farm, made the girl dream of having her own career. Then she got pregnant at 17, finished her last year of high school and got married.

Three years later, she filed for divorce from her high school sweetheart. The single mother did odd jobs. Even while working as a waitress at the Playboy Bunny, she was simultaneously building a career in real estate.

“That’s when I really started to think about the career I’d always dreamed of, which was business,” Hendricks said.

In the 1970s, she met and married roofing contractor Ken Hendricks, and the couple soon co-founded ABC Supply. Its annual sales first reached $1 billion in 1998, according to the company's website.

Disputes and contributions

Not everything was smooth sailing. In 2016, Hendrix topped the list of America's richest self-made women for the first time. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that she "did not pay a penny in state income taxes from 2012 to 2014." She owed money on state taxes in 2010, according to the news outlet.

Hendricks still lives near Beloit, which has a population of fewer than 37. She has purchased and transformed several of the city's historic buildings and old businesses, according to Forbes. The entrepreneur has spent millions of dollars on local projects to restore abandoned properties and open new businesses in the state.

In 2017, Hendricks opened a local center where she held workshops for middle and high school students on topics such as coding and construction. As she told Forbes at the time, her efforts were aimed at introducing teenagers to the “value of work.”

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“The kids were amazed at how the welder worked,” Hendricks noted. “They can go to a vocational school and become a welder making $50 a year. It's a good job."

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