El Dorado Holdings CEO awarded ‘distinguished’ award

Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., recently announced K. Michael Ingram — founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based El Dorado Holdings, Inc. — was selected for membership in this prestigious organization.

Horation Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, according to a press release.

K. Michael Ingram (Submitted photo)

Mr. Ingram joins 12 other business, civic and cultural leaders from North America in receiving 2019 honors in Washington, D.C, April 4-6.

For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable endeavors throughout their lives, a release states.

A real estate developer, Mr. Ingram is a businessman, civic and community leader. With a strong work ethic and passion for business, Mr. Ingram turned around a challenging childhood to become a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The Horatio Alger Association supports Scholars who have faced adversities similar to those of Mr. Ingram.

“Growing up, I never would have imagined that the adversity I faced would one day be a catalyst for my achievements,” he said in a prepared statement.

“With the support of my family, friends and mentors, I’ve been able to chase my dreams without fear. It is a tremendous gift to receive this recognition, and I hope that my story will encourage the impressive Scholars that the Association supports to pursue their own goals.”

Mr. Ingram was born and raised in a small rural farming community in New Mexico as an only child.

From a young age, he worked at The Navajo, a motel his parents owned and operated. At age 11, his father passed away, forcing him to take on more responsibility to support his family.

To help his mother pay the mortgage, Mr. Ingram had several jobs at the motel, including serving as chambermaid, desk clerk, maintenance man and more. In addition to this, he bailed hay for a local farmer for one dollar an hour and lifeguarded at the public swimming pool.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree at New Mexico State University, he worked 40-60 hours a week, yet graduated on time and debt-free.

Following his graduation in 1966, Mr. Ingram worked at Merck and Company, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, where he was a veterinary pharmaceutical salesman for four years.

In 1972, he took on the role of president at Tufts and Sons of Oklahoma, Inc., a distributor of animal health and home and garden products, which he grew from one salesman to 100 with more than $100 million in annual sales.

But when the oil crisis struck, Mr. Ingram was forced to sell his company at a loss. Left with nothing, he and his family moved to Phoenix in 1987, ready to start over.

That same year, he founded El Dorado Holdings, Inc. with a staff of one and a single escrow property south of Phoenix — John Wayne’s El Dorado Ranch. Thirty years later, the company is one of the largest private landholders in the Southwest region, with assets exceeding $1 billion.

As the managing member of more than 110 successful real estate partnerships totaling over 83,000 acres, El Dorado Holdings has been responsible for the entitlement or development of more than 37,800 residential lots and 2,000 acres of commercial and industrial properties.

Of significant note, Mr. Ingram played a leading role in developing the City of Maricopa.

To lay the groundwork for growth, El Dorado Holdings spearheaded the drive to have Maricopa Road, then a two-lane country road, accepted into the state highway system.

The project included obtaining funding from federal, state and county entities as well as the passage of a $10 million district improvement bond. This undertaking also involved the cooperation of both the Gila River Indian Community and the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

El Dorado Holdings has developed Rancho El Dorado, Maricopa’s flagship master-planned community that embraces the area’s ranch and agricultural history and also the growing urbanization.

Maricopa has boosted its population by more than 4,000 percent since 2000, a release states.

His most recent property ripe for development is Douglas Ranch, a 33,810-acre community in Buckeye with a population expected to grow to 300,000.

“An Arizona City of the Future,” Douglas Ranch is one of the largest single-entity owned and entitled developments in the U.S. Interstate 11, a planned interstate from Reno, Nevada to Nogales, will run through Douglas Ranch, opening the west Valley to increased housing and commerce opportunities.

Mr. Ingram has been a proponent of Interstate 11.

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