He’s been called Dallas’ Most Evil Genius by amassing a fortune even without anyone knowing. He is known to live his life in obscurity but even at age 78, he wouldn’t stop thinking of how he’d earn his next billion dollar fortune. He’s an entrepreneur, a success story for a generation to follow. He’s authoritative and bold, even to the point of calling President Obama a dangerous man. But that’s the kind of man he was – soft spoken for a man of his talent and rich but not affluent in lifestyle.
We could all learn from his life story. His name was Harold Clark Simmons - a businessman and investor in Dallas, Texas. For someone whose net worth was $10 Billion by the time he died in 2013, he lived a rather reclusive life. He rarely grants interviews by media especially when he was beginning to age. But that didn’t mean he stopped working a day in his life. He just did it quietly, without need of flashing his own success story. History did all the talking for him.
How Simmons Grew Up
The story of Harold Simmons is known around the Dallas rich and famous circuit. That’s because of his humble beginnings as an entrepreneur. He may have amassed a wealth of billions but his birth was far from the life of affluence people knew he lived. He grew up in a small rural town of Golden, Texas where his home had no electricity or running water.
He wasn’t born rich and so he didn’t grow up thinking he could be. His family was focused on surviving the harsh life of labor. In all of his life, what was most important was hard work. But he was driven by it. He knew it might pay off in the end. He earned his educational merits because his parents were teachers and eventually graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a master’s degree in economics.
He then went on to work as a bank examiner for the U.S. government before his talents and genius in banking was acquired by a Dallas-based Republic National Bank. Later in his life, he would use his expertise to develop a business acquisition technique called leveraged buyout where he earned a fortune on its practice.
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How He Became a Millionaire
In 1961, he put his money where his brain was. He thought that he could make something high-rolling out of a small investment. So he used up a $5,000 of lifesavings and a loan of $95,000 to buy a drugstore. It was not real estate, but a drugstore chain with a very promising future. After 12 years and 100 stores into his name, he sold his initial investment and turned it into a $50 million payout.
This payday was the start of a lucrative career in investment. Later on, he acquired more companies including Amalgamated Sugar, Lockheed Corporation, McDermott International and Muse Air by acquiring and selling investment. He believed he was a corporate “builder” because his record is one that develops a company before he sells them.
Today, he is survived by companies called Contran Corporation and Valhi, Inc. which has a combined worth of $7 Billion in assets. Simmons has also controlled 5 companies traded in the New York Stock Exchange. He’s a Texan by heart and although he was mostly a recluse, he donated several of his fortunes to charities, schools and other worthy non-profits in Dallas. The billionaire reportedly donated $175 Million to the Simmons Cancer Center in Dallas Texas. You’ll see his memorial at the Winspear Opera House where a facade of windows under the name Annette and Harold Simmons would remind you of the kind of man he was.
Lessons from the life of Harold Simmons