Hamdi Ulukaya

business tycoons hamdi ulukaya 2
Hamdi Ulukaya: Founder and CEO of Chobani

When I arrived in New York City from Eastern Turkey, I didn't have plans to start a business. I came here to study.

I'm from a Kurdish dairy-farming family and when my father visited, he pushed me to import good feta cheese. It sounded crazy, but I took his advice and people loved it. So I focused on making cheese in Upstate New York, realizing that there weren't many delicious, affordable options for people.

One day, going through junk mail in my office, I saw an ad for a yogurt factory in the upstate village of New Berlin. I threw it out, but a few minutes later I was standing over the trashcan, digging for it. That was my "aha" moment.

I wanted to make the kind of yogurt my mother made for me growing up in Anatolia: yogurt with only natural ingredients that was delicious, nutritious, natural and affordable -- our "DNNA."

Our mission would be to make better food for more people. We would give 10% of profits to charity, give back to the community and stand for strong values. Chobani would be a different kind of food company.

First published June 18, 2015: 10:53 AM ET

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