Have you ever wondered who the wealthiest person is in our state? Who is the top earner in North Dakota?

Forbes put out its list of "Wealthiest People in America" and found the richest billionaire in each state for this year (2024).

Looking across the country, you see some of the top earners owning construction and mining companies, or clothing brands, casinos, real estate, healthcare organizations, life insurance companies, and even chain restaurants.


North Dakota

In North Dakota, the richest billionaire for 2024 is none other than Gary Tharaldson. He has a residence in Fargo, North Dakota and is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion.

According to Forbes, the 78 year-old's source of wealth is from the hotel business. The source estimates at 40% of his wealth is still tied to hotels such as Staybridge Suites.

Tharaldson Companies

When Tharaldson bought the Super 8 Motel in Valley City, North Dakota in 1982 it made him the first and only billionaire North Dakota. This purchase helped to establish the company. 

Since then, the organization has grown to be one of America's largest developers in new hotels. According to the source, Tharaldson has owned/operated approximately 480 hotels, and has opened a new one every month (on average) over the past 40 years.

Fun fact: Gary Tharaldson was once a gym teacher in a small North Dakota town. He certainly has come a long way since then.

Another fun fact: In 2003 and was inducted to the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.

According to the source, in 2006 Tharaldson sold 130 hotels to Goldman Sachs for $1.2 billion, and in 2008 he launched an ethanol facility near Fargo, North Dakota. It is said to produce 175 million gallons per year.

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