After his wife Andrea Conte is recruited to Nashville by HCA, future Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen starts a job selling management contracts with Hospital Associates International.

Five years later, he approaches HAI’s founders about investing in a new business and launches HealthPlans (later HealthAmerica) in his basement with $50,000. The insurance company will eventually grow to be the second-largest for-profit HMO in the country with more than 6,000 employees. HealthPlans is acquired by Maxicare in 1986. Bredesen uses money from that deal to invest in another startup HMO called Coventry Corporation — which today sports an annual revenue of $14 billion.

After selling his company, Bredesen goes on to serve as Nashville’s mayor before being elected the 48th Governor of Tennessee in 2003. He serves two terms and reforms the state’s Medicaid program to restore financial viability and become a model for the rest of the country.