RICHEST BY STATE: VERMONT
Boston Scientifc’s John Abele stands atop the Green Mountains. Plus: Pat Hanrahan, data-viz billionaire.
Gross state Product:
(0.6% Growth year-on-year) GSP Per capita:
(ranks no. 32 nationwide) richest:
HEART SURGERY is no one’s idea of fun, but the fact that it’s much less invasive (and safer) than it used to be is due in large part to John Abele. In 1978, seeking investors for Medi-tech, a catheter company in which he held an equity stake, he met businessman Pete Nicholas. The two agreed to create a holding company that would buy Medi-tech, and in 1979 Boston Scientifc was born.
The company spearheaded the manufacture of artery-opening stents, catheters and angioplasty balloons. It went public in 1992, and within three years Abele had become a billionaire. (Raised in Connecticut, he now lives in Shelburne, Vt.)
He soon began giving money away. In 1997 he founded the Argosy Foundation, through which his family (he and his wife, Mary, have three children) has donated over $100 million to hundreds of non-profts, including the American Cancer Society, Vermont Foodbank and FIRST, which organizes robotics competitions for kids. Although he hasn’t signed the Giving Pledge, Abele, now 78, says his goal is to end up with a net worth of $0.