2022 Hall of Distinguished Alumni
Don Perry, ’86, ’95, has many reasons to look back fondly on his days as an EKU student.
It’s where he met and fell in love with his future wife, April (Russell) Perry, ’86, ’96. It’s where he earned two degrees – a bachelor’s in industrial technology and his MBA – that sustained him for 17 years as a computer analyst and senior financial analyst with Ashland Oil Inc. and then as a Kentucky Farmers Bank (KFB) executive. And his success made it possible to give much back to his alma mater and the northeastern Kentucky area he calls home.
As senior vice president and investments manager for KFB, Mr. Perry is responsible for investing the bank’s assets as well as pension plans and wealth management assets. He is also a member of KFB’s executive management team, which sets the bank’s strategic direction and addresses high-level issues.
In addition, he chairs the Tri-State Angel Investment Group (TSAIG), was instrumental in the startup of the BankOn financial literacy program in his home region, and teaches an investments class for the Kentucky Bankers Association’s Banking School.
“Eastern Kentucky has often participated at a low level or was left out of past economic development programs within the state,” Mr. Perry said. “TSAIG set out in 2014 to address the lack of high-risk capital in the Tri-State area. As a result, we are now seeing many worthwhile projects in our area launch and see success due to our ability to provide high-risk capital. Banks play a major role in this process by identifying projects that may need additional capital and often by providing the debt portion of the project’s capital stack.
“It’s important to April (CEO at KFB) and me to see our region prosper. We really measure our success by the number of win-wins we can put up on the board by helping all parties involved realize value.”
Mr. Perry is similarly devoted to his alma mater, where both Perry’s children also earned degrees. He has served on its Business Advisory Committee for approximately 20 years and was among the founding members of the Banking Advisory Committee. A generous gift from the Perrys funded a new financial research and investments computer lab.
“It’s very important for me to give back to EKU students,” Mr. Perry said. “I want all of them to have an edge from that education and a fire in their belly to go use it!
Originally published in EKU Alumni Awards.
Senior Vice President and Investments Manager
Kentucky Farmers Bank
Eastern Kentucky University, ’95 MBA