Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 474 Red Emmerson $4.49B

Random fact: Nicknamed "Red" as a child for his red hair.


Emmerson is founder and chairman emeritus of Sierra Pacific Industries, and the second-largest landowner in the U.S. His Redding, California-based company also manufactures millwork, fencing, utility poles and house logs. The company owns and manages over 2 million acres of timberland in Washington and California.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change +$264M ( +6.2%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset Sierra Pacific Industries
Citizenship United States
Age 91
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Red Emmerson's net worth of $4.49B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Emmerson's fortune derives from Sierra Pacific Industries, a forest products company he founded with his father in 1949. As sole surviving founder, Emmerson is credited with full ownership of the company. 

The Redding, California-based business produces lumber and other wood products and owns and manages over 2 million acres of timberland in Washington and California, according to its website. Through his Sierra Pacific land, Emmerson is the second-biggest private landholder in America, according to the Land Report.

The company doesn't disclose revenue or any other financial information and the value of its land holdings is calculated based on guidance from analysts, including economist Jack Lutz with the Forest Research Group, and average timberland values in the Pacific Northwest in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the NCREIF Timberland Index. Two other timberland appraisers, who declined to be identified because of their relationship with Sierra Pacific Industries, gave guidance on the land values.

The valuation also reflects a 2012 legal settlement in which Sierra Pacific Industries agreed to transfer 22,500 acres of timberland valued at $67.5 million, or $3,000 an acre, to the U.S. government. A 10% liquidity discount has been applied to the total valuation to account for the complexity of selling the entirety of the holdings in a single transaction, and leverage has been calculated at 20% based on the total debt-to-total assets ratio of three publicly traded peer companies: Weyerhaeuser, Canfor Corporation and West Fraser Timber Co., and the long duration of Sierra Pacific Industries' ownership.

Mark Pawlicki, a spokesman for Sierra Pacific Industries, declined to comment on the calculation.


Birthdate: 1/1/1929
Family: Widowed, 3 children

Archie Aldis "Red" Emmerson was born in Oregon in 1929 to Emily and Raleigh Humes "Curly" Emmerson, a sawmill worker. When his parents divorced he was sent to a boarding school in Washington state. Upon leaving school, he moved to Northern California to help his father start a lumber company.

Together, they borrowed $10,000 to lease their first sawmill in 1949 and repaid it sawing trees themselves with their crew. Red Emmerson took the company public in 1969, though he later told the Wall Street Journal it was a "bad experience." The family bought back most of the shares five years later.

Sierra Pacific Industries increased its timberland holdings fivefold in 1987 when it borrowed $460 million to buy 520,000 acres of Sierra timberland from Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation. When the federal government declared the Northern spotted owl a threatened species three years later, it caused many sawmills on federally owned timberland to shutter. Logging on private land, such as that owned by Sierra Pacific, thrived and Emmerson went on to acquire hundreds of thousands more acres.

The company owns and manages more than 1.9 million acres of timberland in Washington and northern California. Emmerson's son George is president of Sierra Pacific Industries and his son Mark is chairman and chief financial officer. His daughter, Carolyn, is the president of the Sierra Pacific Foundation.

  • 1929 Archie "Red" Emmerson in born in Oregon.
  • 1949 Leases first mill with father Curly.
  • 1951 With his father, builds his owns sawmill in Samoa, California.
  • 1969 Takes Sierra Pacific Industries public.
  • 1974 Family buys back most of the shares.
  • 1979 With father, establishes the Sierra Pacific Foundation.
  • 1987 Borrows $460 million to buy 520,000 acres of Sierra timberland.
  • 1996 Wife of 40 years, Ida, dies of breast cancer.