John R. Simplot
Investing in businesses that ranged from cattle to potatoes to fertilizer, Simplot used his talent at achieving efficiency and at spotting a growing market to garner enormous profits. Simplot capitalized on the Army’s World War II demands for food to build his potato business, and also effectively utilized government funding to build a fertilizer empire, gaining 15% of the market in 1968. Simplot’s other achievements included the creation of processes to de-hydrate potatoes and freeze dry french fries, the latter of which earned him a lucrative contract with McDonald's in the late 1960s.