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Executive Profile: Harold Hamm

Rated 105 on the list of the world’s richest people, Harold Hamm’s net worth is over $13.2 billion. Although Hamm’s wealth is impressive, his real story is even more amazing. The son of an Oklahoma sharecropper, Hamm was the youngest of 13 living in a one bedroom house with no electricity or running water. At the age of 17, he left home, finished high school and went to work.

From Pumping Gas to Drilling Oil

His first job at a gas station in Enid, OK exposed the hard-working teen to the oil industry. With no funds for school, Hamm’s desire to learn about the business kept him motivated. His knowledge of the industry grew as he cleaned tanks, pumped gas and asked questions. He studied maps and talked to geologists. He soaked up conversations with contractors, field workers and engineers.

After two years Hamm purchased a fluid-hauler and started his first business, Harold Hamm Tank Truck Service. Within a short time Hamm’s speculation on a promising map site took him to northern Oklahoma and his first wildcat well. He kept drilling and sinking money into the oil patch experiencing some success. Three years later his drilling company earned over $1.5 million.

From Millionaire to Billionaire

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Success did not stop Harold Hamm’s quest for more knowledge. He went to college, studied geology and gained interest in the production of crude oil. His site shifted to western North Dakota and the Bakken Shale. New drilling techniques, cutting-edge technology and his positive philosophy helped uncover one of the country’s most promising oil discoveries.

Over 2 decades later the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc, Harold Hamm, spreads his good fortune with the citizens of North Dakota. Locals talk about the unassuming billionaire flying in on his corporate jet, checking the fields in his pickup truck and eating at a local diner. Employees share stories about the CEO hosting company picnics at his home.

Character and Class

Hamm’s story of self-made fortune is unusual in many ways. He remained true to himself. No obstacles were too big, no excuses got in his way”he didn’t give up. He used whatever resources he could to reach his goals. Plus, he was willing to get his hands dirty and work as hard as any of his employees.
Hamm is not interested in glory and fame. He is interested in his money making a difference in the world. Along with his wife Sue Ann, Hamm donated over $10 million funding the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center. They also committed to sharing more of their personal fortune by joining other wealthy Americans in signing the Giving Pledge.

Oil tycoon and self-made billionaire Harold Hamm has never forgotten where he came from. He’s modeled his expectations through his work ethic and positive attitude. Hamm’s generosity and humility have earned a prize greater than money. He’s earned respect and admiration.

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Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs
Brian is the chief editor of Finance Write and is a personal finance expert who has spent the last few years writing about how Millennials can make smarter money moves. He has been quoted in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN Money, AOL, Discover Bank, GOBankingRates, Student Loan Hero, Fit Small Business, Cheapism, SmartAsset, Bankrate, RISE Credit, AllBusiness, Cheddar, Commonbond, Niche, Rewire, Credit Donkey,, and more. He uses the free Personal Capital app to manage his cash flow and net worth.

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