Min Kao

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Min H. Kao
Born1949 (age 69–70)
ResidenceLeawood, Kansas, U.S.
15 Central Park West, Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Alma materNational Taiwan University (BS)
University of Tennessee (MS; PhD)
OccupationCo-founder of Garmin
Known forco-founder of the Garmin GPS company
Net worthUS$ 3 billion (August 2017)[1]
Children2, including Jen Kao

Min H. Kao (traditional Chinese: 高民環; simplified Chinese: 高民环; pinyin: Gāo Mínhuán) is a Taiwanese-born American electrical engineer, businessman and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of Garmin Corporation with Gary Burrell. As of August 2017, his personal wealth was estimated at $3 billion.

Early life[edit]

Min H. Kao was born in 1949 in a small town in Taiwan called Zhushan in Nantou.[citation needed] He graduated from the National Taiwan University in Taiwan and earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1977.[1][2][3]


Kao undertook research for NASA and the United States Army.[3] He was subsequently a systems analyst for Teledyne Systems, an algorithm designer for Magnavox Advanced Products, and an engineering group leader for King Radio Corporation.[3] He also worked for AlliedSignal.[1]

In 1989, with Gary Burrell, Kao co-founded Garmin, a company best known for manufacturing devices that use the Global Positioning System.[1][4]


In 2005, Kao gave $17.5 million to the College of Engineering of the University of Tennessee, $12.5 million of which was designated for the construction of a new facility.[5] In May 2007, groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted for the new Min Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building. The building was dedicated in March 2012.[6]

In 2015, Kao donated $1 million to the Kansas State University College of Engineering for building four labs.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Kao is married to Fan Kao.[4] They have a son, Ken Kao, who is a film producer, and a daughter, Jen Kao, who is a fashion designer.[4] They reside in Leawood, Kansas.[1] In 2011, he purchased an apartment in 15 Central Park West, Manhattan, New York City.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Min Kao". Forbes. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  2. ^ Karmin, Craig (January 6, 2010). "CEO of GPS Maker Locates a New Home". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Leadership: Dr. Min Kao". Garmin. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Stafford, Diane (December 20, 2012). "Garmin success starts with co-founder". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Min Kao Home page at Univ of Tennessee Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "UT and Min Kao Dedicate New Engineering Building", University of Tennessee news, March 14, 2012
  7. ^ Garmin executive gives $1 million to Kansas State University engineering expansion
  8. ^ Karmin, Craig (January 6, 2011). "CEO of GPS Maker Locates a New Home". The Wall Street Journal.