Where The Money's At.
July 22, 2014 12:26 pm

Richest People in Alabama

1. Marguerite Harbert

Marguerite HarbertEstimated Net Worth: $1.6 billion.
Birmingham, AL
Age: 90

Source of Wealth: Inheritance / Husband.



Marguerite Harbert inherited her wealth from her husband, John Harbert.  Mr. Harbert owned the Harbert Corporation, one of the largest construction companies in the United States.  The Harbert’s son, Raymond J Harbert, manages the family’s money via a company called the Harbert Management Corporation (“HMC”).  HMC invests in real estate, private equity, and absolute return strategies (i.e., hedge funds).  Notably, HMC provided much of the seed capital for Harbinger Capital, one of the more successful hedge funds.  Marguerite is known for her kind spirit and her focus on philanthropy.

Random Fact: Marguerite often goes by the nickname “Wita.”

2. Jimmy (James W.) Rane

jimmyrane2Estimated Net Worth: $1.2 billion. 
Abbeville, AL
Age: 66

Source of Wealth: Self-Made; Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc.

Also known as the “Yella Fella” from the popular commercials promoting his company’s pressure treated wood, Jimmy Rane is the Founder and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc.  Rane ended up in the treated wood business somewhat by chance, though the resulting success of the firm is anything but.

While he was in law school, Rane’s father-in-law died in a car accident, leaving behind an estate to Jimmy’s wife and her brother.  The estate had extensive land holdings as well as a small non-functioning wood treatment plant.  For tax reasons and due to a family dispute, Jimmy Rane ended purchasing the wood treatment plant.

Rane borrowed money from his father to get the plant operational, but the early days of the business were challenging.  Rane would get up at 4 a.m. to work a shift at the plant, worked as a lawyer during the day, and then returned to the plant at night.  Eventually the company grew to a point where Rane was able to devote all his time to its success.

The company really took off after Rane started marketing and branding his company’s wood, first through sponsorship of college football programming and later through the ubiquitous yellow shirt and hat “Yella Fella” commercials.  Estimated revenue at Rane’s company is somewhere north of $700 million.

Rane has a foundation that gives significant amounts of money each year to support college tuition for underprivileged kids.

Random Fact: The “Yella Fella” commercials were shot on location in Utah and Arizona on the original set of many popular Westerns.



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