Cerner, Garmin founders among America’s richest

09/16/2013 7:15 PM

09/16/2013 7:15 PM

Three Kansas City area corporate executives have landed on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans.

Neal Patterson, the chief executive of Cerner Corp., moved up to No. 352 after his debut last year at No. 391. His net worth, which the magazine estimated at $1.5 billion, had increased by a third over the past year.

The surge launched Patterson’s ranking ahead of Spring Hill resident Gary Burrell, co-founder of Garmin Ltd. His fortune edged only slightly higher to $1.4 billion. Burrell’s rank dipped to No. 371 from No. 347 a year ago.

Min Kao, Burrell’s partner in founding Garmin, still tops the Kansas City area residents on the list at No. 243 based on his $2.3 billion net worth. His standing dipped from No. 218 a year ago, despite a slight increase in personal wealth.

Forbes’ top rankings, released Monday, remained unchanged for a year in which the threshold to make the list rose to its highest ever. The majority of the elite club’s members saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.

“Basically, the mega rich are mega richer,” said Kerry Dolan, Forbes senior editor, noting that 61 American billionaires failed to make the cut at 400. “In some ways, it’s harder to get on the list than it ever has been.”

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates remains America’s richest man, taking the top spot on the list for the 20th straight year. His $72 billion net worth was up from $66 billion a year ago.

Omaha investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., posted another distant second place finish with $58.5 billion, but increased his net worth from $46 billion.

Charles and David Koch, who are brothers and co-owners of Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, remained tied for fourth with $36 billion each, up from $31 billion in 2012.

Others of note in Missouri and Kansas: St. Louis resident Jack Taylor and family of Enterprise Rent-A-Car fame at 36 with $11.4 billion; Columbia residents Ann Walton Kroenke, daughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton, at 95 with $4.7 billion, and her husband, sports and real estate mogul Stan Kroenke at 84 with $5.3 billion; Springfield resident John Morris, majority owner of Bass Pro Shops, at 110 with $4 billion; and St. Louis resident Pauline MacMillan Keinath at 122 with $3.8 billion from the Cargill Inc. fortune.

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