I don't think we've seen or known as much as we do about billionaires since the days of the so-called "robber barons" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and JP Morgan leap to mind from that era.

The rise of big industries like oil, banking, steel, and railroads, among others from that time could be considered analogous to the quick rise in big technology of the last couple of decades. The big difference, of course, is the number of billionaires today--more than 2,700 globally--compared to a SCANT few in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, "scant few" is a generous designation; only Rockefeller, among the aforementioned, hit billionaire status. He was America's first.

But back then, names like "Rockefeller" and "Vanderbilt" were synonymous with money, and lots of it. Today, with so many all over the world--and over 700 in the United States alone--you might hear a billionaire's name that rings no bells, whatsoever. Little wonder, with so many.

So, let's put it to the test...Tamara Gustavson.

The Only Billionaire in Kentucky

Do you know who she is? Well, she is one of the 50 wealthiest women on the planet, according to Forbes, checking in at #44. She ranks 319th overall, and guess what? She lives in Kentucky. And this is the industry in which she has earned her fortune:

How Tamara Gustavson Makes Her Fortune

That's right, in an age when digital technology, finance, fashion, and entertainment regularly place folks on lists of the world's richest, Tamara Gustavson is a billionaire--and Kentucky's ONLY billionaire--from the self storage industry. She is the majority share holder in Public Storage, the company her father B. Wayne Hughes founded in 1972. If you think it's unusual to accumulate extraordinary down this avenue, think again:

Forbes currently has Gustavson's net worth listed at $7.5 billion. If you clicked the above link, you'll notice that's a "real time" figure; I've found a number of stories about Tamara Gustavson and the number is always different. That's because that number is always changing.

In case you were wondering, Public Storage was not the first traditional self-storage business. That industry kicked off in the states in Texas in 1964. But Public Storage IS the largest self-storage company in the world.

Other Kentucky Interests of the Gustavson Family

By the way, this is not the only big moneymaker for the Gustavson family; Tamara's husband Eric owns Lexington's Spendthrift Farm.

So if you ever wondered who the richest person in Kentucky is or if there are any billionaires who live in the Commonwealth, impress your friends with the one-name answer to both questions.

Tamara Gustavson.

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