Chief Executive & Chairman Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc.
MANUFACTURING & RETAIL | 2022 LA500
Smidt co-founded the Calabasas-based Harbor Freight, a discount tool retailer, in 1977. He was 17 years old when he turned his father’s phone-sales business into a mail-order tool business. In 1985, Smidt became Harbor Freight’s president. He took on the role of chief executive in 1999, when he bought out his father. Harbor Freight operates more than 1,200 stores and has 23,000 employees. The company, which generates about $5 billion in revenue, recently opened a distribution center in Joliet, Ill.