Perry Owen is a Buckeye through and through, top to bottom. Not simply a graduate and enduring fan of The Ohio State University, but as a citizen of the state as a whole. When it’s suggested to him that a buckeye is a useless nut, his response is that, no, it’s a “killer” nut – therefore dangerous and worthy of respect.
So much of a Buckeye is he that he prefers to vacation each year in Ohio. “We mostly go to Geneva-on-the-Lake,’’ he says. “It’s a loyalty thing. I want my dollars to be spent in my state.”
This from a guy who grew up in Wolfeboro, N.H., “The Oldest Summer Resort in America,” dating back to the 17-somethings. The town has a heritage of politicians and town hall meetings. He remembers his dad driving the family in to town to see Ronald Reagan when he was California’s governor, Vice President George H.W. Bush, Senators Howard Baker and Paul Simon, along with plenty of others.
“It was an opportunity to grill these guys, and Dad would really spar with them. Once when the first Bush was vice president, Dad was pressing him on some foreign policy issue. It got to where the guys with the earpieces were looking at him real hard. Mom was getting nervous. Dad wouldn’t let go. He wouldn’t accept the rehearsed response. He grew up on the south side of Youngstown, the tough part.”
That’s where Ohio comes into it. In junior high, when Perry was beginning to think ahead, he was watching a football game on TV with his dad. For reasons he can’t explain, he was drawn to the team in scarlet and gray. Not long after that, he says, he went to the library and did some research on colleges, particularly Ohio State.
“The more I learned, the more I realized I wanted to be in a state that produced great people – like Harvey Firestone, John Glenn, Woody Hayes, Neil Armstrong. All Ohioans. Then you think about the steel mills in Youngstown, the glass industry in Toledo, the ironworks in Cleveland, the fact Cincinnati was at one point the fourth largest city in the U.S. Then you have all the presidents who came from Ohio … ”
The day his dad dropped him off at OSU, Perry didn’t look back. The moment he stepped into his dorm room on the 10th floor of Smith Hall, he considered himself a Buckeye. “There was no teary good-bye or scary feeling about being someplace new. In my mind, I wondered why. And I heard these words: ‘Because you’re home.’”
He will tell you he works for a prestigious firm, one that helps him be more than just a resident in his community. As evidence of that, he’s treasurer of the Anderson High School Football Alumni Association and the Greater Cincinnati Tall Stacks Festival.
Though the years, Ohio has not lost its allure. His son Chandler is a CNC Programmer in Cincinnati, and his daughter Johanna is a registered dental hygienist in Columbus. He’s a home brewer – by all accounts, quite an accomplished one. His favorite recipe is a pale ale he calls JMO Ale. It’s named after his great-great-grandfather, John Meredith Owen, who came to America in 1851 and settled in Youngstown, of all places.
Perry serves as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administration, which consists of oversight of the firm’s finances, including ancillary businesses, and responsibility for all office facilities. Perry started his professional career in public accounting over 20 years ago with the Columbus office of the accounting firm Ernst & Young. He then left public accounting to work for First Community Village, the nation’s first continuing care retirement community, as its controller and then its CFO. Prior to joining Graydon, Perry moved to Cincinnati with his family and re-entered public accounting as an Audit Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers and then transitioned to the administrative side of the firm becoming a Portfolio Manager.
Over the years Perry has served on various boards including Gladden Community House, Ohio State Men’s Ice Hockey Booster Association, Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Anderson High School Athletic Booster Association, Anderson High School Football Alumni Association, and the Greater Cincinnati Tall Stacks Festival. His son Chandler is a CNC Programmer in Cincinnati, and his daughter Johanna is a registered dental hygienist in Columbus. Perry enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys being a foodie, making barbecue, visiting breweries and wineries, and traveling.