264. James Leprino

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

$3 billion  % self-made score: source: Moz­zarella cheese age: 79 res­i­dence: in­dian Hills, colo. high school di­ploma Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from a Catholic high school, Leprino started help­ing his fa­ther at their fam­ily’s Ital­ian cor­ner store, shap­ing moz­zarella balls by hand and mak­ing fresh ri­cotta. He of­ten hung out in lo­cal pizze­rias and re­al­ized the in­dus­try was about to take off, so he per­suaded his dad to focus solely on pizza cheese. He hired a mas­ter cheese­maker and em­braced tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances to fit the needs of the fast-grow­ing take­out and de­liv­ery pizza in­dus­try. To­day his $3 billion (sales) Leprino Foods is the world’s largest moz­zarella maker and the ex­clu­sive cheese sup­plier to Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut.

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