122. Diane Hen­dricks

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

The Wis­con­sin na­tive grew up on a dairy farm and longed to “go to the city, wear a suit,” she says, but her dream was in­ter­rupted when she got preg­nant in high school and gave birth a month be­fore her 18th birth­day. Hen­dricks had to study at home to grad­u­ate high school. The young mom met her fu­ture hus­band Ken, who dropped out of high school to work as a roofer, when she was 21. To­gether the cou­ple bought and re­mod­eled rental homes, ran roof­ing and truck­ing busi­nesses, and opened a car­pet store be­fore start­ing roof­ing dis­trib­u­tor ABC Sup­ply. (Ken died in 2007.) To­day the $7.2 billion (sales) com­pany has over 700 branches. Hen­dricks, who still chairs ABC, has be­come an ad­vo­cate for tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion and do­nates to lo­cal schools to start skilled-trade pro­grams for teenagers.

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