Robert Perry had an incredibly exciting day this past Friday as he and his fellow equity partners with American Gaming Systems (AGS) joined the New York Stock Exchange President in ringing the opening bell. HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo caught up with Robert over the weekend to ask him about this most unique event.
HottyToddy.com: Robert, this is an exceptional invitation. How did it come about?
Robert: On Friday, AGS’s parent company, Apollo Global Management, took AGS public offering 10,250,000 shares of AGS. The IPO opened at $16 a share and closed Friday at $18.50, placing us among the top percentage gainers of the day.
HottyToddy.com: You’ve been very successful since departing the Ole Miss campus.
Robert: I got an accounting degree at Ole Miss, did a short stint at Ernst & Young LLP, came back to get my master’s in business administration and have been in the gaming industry my entire career. My mom instilled a massive amount of self-confidence in my brother and me, so we believed we could do anything. I tell people that I could do my job out of sixth grade but have some nice diplomas to display in my home office.
HottyToddy.com: This is certainly an inspiring story for other Ole Miss students.
Robert: My corporate career actually started in Oxford with my education, allowing me the opportunity to train with my previous employer in Sydney, Australia. Not unwilling to relocate and travel, I have lived in Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Charlotte, Memphis twice, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and now back to Oxford. I always had my hand up for the next opportunity and challenge.
HottyToddy.com: Wow! You have become your own travel agent. Your current position with AGS is both challenging and exciting.
Robert: It’s part of my hustle to move and travel where the opportunities are. I’m fortunate to have a supportive wife and children who have cheered me on every step of the way.
HottyToddy.com: Tell us exactly what AGS does.
Robert: We manufacture slot machines in Oklahoma City with R&D facilities in both Atlanta and Sydney. Our finished products are sold and leased to tribal and commercial casinos throughout Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
HottyToddy.com: Let’s shift gears for just a moment. You and Ashley (Robert’s wife) have had to deal with a human tragedy that very few could ever comprehend the magnitude.
Robert: Following the plane crash in August 2016, I knew we had to return to Oxford as quickly as possible. Because of my position with the company and support from our CEO, this was doable. We now are raising seven children, ranging in ages 7 to 15.
HottyToddy.com: You are to be commended for such a great responsibility.
Robert: It’s what having a strong faith and supportive family does. I still have to travel considerably throughout the U.S. and Canada; however, living in Oxford makes it so much easier for Ashley and me to manage the family.
HottyToddy.com: You earlier referred to your parent company, Apollo. Where are they headquartered?
Robert: Apollo is in Manhattan while AGS is based in Las Vegas.
HottyToddy.com: What have we failed to ask you?
Robert: For a small town Mississippi boy, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange is like finding the holy grail from a business perspective. With focus, grit and hard work, anything is achievable in this life.
Writer’s footnote: This interview was especially gratifying as Robert’s father, Phil, was one of my closest friends ever. We lived in the same neighborhood in Madison, Mississippi. Phil would be even prouder of Robert today as he was while he was alive. During our business travels together, Phil was always so thrilled to share with me Robert’s successes. Mr. Ole Miss has certainly gone a long way since receiving that title in 1997!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.