One of the largest private landowners in the US with 1.5M acres across the southeast, Hawaii, and Mexico, Brad Kelley made his fortune in discount cigarettes though he doesn’t smoke. Brad grew up on a tobacco farm in Franklin, KY and began investing at just 17 years old. He founded Commonwealth Brands—maker of Bull Durham and USA Gold cigarettes—in the early 1990s and sold in 2001 for $1B.
A conservation enthusiast, his numerous land holdings are seldom developed and he has converted more than one million acres of property back to wildlife habitat. Kelly owns NC2 media (the publisher of Lonely Planet, among others) and leases the historic Calumet Farm in Lexington, KY, home to no fewer than nine Derby winners.