James H. Goodnight Net WorthReal Name: James H. Goodnight
Date of Birth: 01/06/1943
Place of Birth: Salisbury, North Carolina
2017 Net Worth: $7.7 Billion
Profession: Entrepreneur, software engineer, inventor, CEO, statistician
James Goodnight Biography
James Goodnight was born in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1943. He grew up in the Greensboro, North Carolina area until he was 12, at which time his family moved to Wilmington. He spent many hours working at his father’s hardware store as a youngster. He loved math and chemistry and was fond of his high school chemistry teacher.
Goodnight began to fall in love with computers while attending college at North Carolina State University. He started spending summers writing software programs for the agricultural economics department. He received a Master’s degree in statistics in 1968. He was intrigued by the idea that man would be able to walk on the moon, and his vast programming skills enabled him to find a position where he could build electronic equipment for communicating with the Apollo space capsules. He returned to North Carolina State University and earned a PhD in statistics.
While working for North Carolina State, Goodnight created a general purpose statistical analysis system (SAS) for the analysis of agricultural data. When this software program had 100 customers in 1976, four persons, including Goodnight, left the college to form the SAS Institute.
Goodnight has been the CEO of SAS for more than 35 years. Under his management, the company has grown from $138,000 in sales to almost $2.5 billion in 2010. He has rejected acquisition offers and refused to go public to protect the company’s work environment. Goodnight dislikes corporate structure, and has managed to keep a 5,000 employee business that has only 3 organizational layers. Many who work for SAS describe the working environment as utopian.
Goodnight has a current net worth of $7.7 billion and is the 43rd richest person in the U.S. Goodnight also owns the Prestonwood Country Club, the Umstead Hotel and Spa, and an Asian fusion restaurant in Cary, North Carolina.