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Telling Fortunes

No. 3: Richard Kinder

Age: 68Home: HoustonNet Worth: $10.2 billion

Out of the ashes of Enron came Rich Kinder, a.k.a. Houston’s Mr. Big. When he stepped down as president of the so-called world’s greatest company in 1996 to found a simple pipeline business with his friend William Morgan, only a few understood the colossus to come: a corporation now worth $110 billion, the biggest midstream company of its kind and the third-largest energy company in North America. What brilliance accounts for his success? Well, Kinder is frugal and disciplined, checking on money going out and money coming in—there are no corporate jets, no flashy offices, and he pays himself $1 a year in salary. With his wife, Nancy, he has become a major giver in Houston, focusing on parks, education, and quality of life. Kinder Foundation projects such as the downtown park Discovery Green and a Buffalo Bayou reclamation effort have both given the lie to the city’s reputation as a concrete wasteland. Kinder is now also the chair of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

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