Written by Christine Riccelli
Age when he got his first job, helping to bale hay on his family’s farm near Cooper.
How he describes his life with his wife, Kim, three grown children and three grandchildren, who all live in
Des Moines. “We’re living the American dream.”
The movie that has inspired him the most because it “gave me a greater understanding of diversity in a very complicated society.”
“Happiness happens on the way to success.”
Words he lives by.
The song by Earth, Wind & Fire that fuels his imagination and has “inspired many of my successful ideas.”
“It all started with a cup of coffee.”
The first line in his new book, “Dare to Dream, Dare to Act,” which was just published and is available through Amazon.com.
His brush with fame. In 1981, the then 29-year-old Rich appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk about the centennial of Cooper (population 50), Iowa, his hometown. Rich had sent out press releases about the event to 44 news organizations; one, United Press International, responded, and Carson’s invitation followed after the story hit the wire.
After starting Rich Heritage Inc. in 1991, he had a cinnamon roll, hash browns and a Diet Coke right before making his first big deal. Eating that breakfast before a major sales meeting became a tradition.
His favorite bandleader. A fan of big band jazz—and of being on stage—Rich played the bass trombone in high school and for Iowa State University’s jazz band.
A $100 bill:
What he carries around with him at all times, because “I never want to be broke, so I’ve always kept cash in my pocket.” His parents lived through the Depression, and growing up on a farm, he learned to understand economic volatility.
Number of companies he’s developed over the years as an entrepreneur.
Bill Riley, Jim Cownie and Robert Burnett: “They were all encouragers.” He worked for Cownie’s Heritage Communications for 17 years.
Losing an election for student body president when he was a senior at Iowa State University.
“Losing in politics was one of the hardest things for me to accept.”
Increase in attendance the first year he was CEO of Blank Park Zoo. During his tenure from 2003 to 2009, he introduced innovative events, such as Zoo Brew, and programs that turned the deficit-plagued organization profitable. After leaving the zoo, he joined the Iowa Lottery as president and CEO, a position he still holds.