Ross Perot was born June 27, 1930, in Texarkana, Texas. His parents, Ross and Lulu May Perot, were major influences in the lives of Mr. Perot and his sister, Bette. Although the family was of modest circumstances, Mr. Perot has often said he was born rich, because of his parents’ love, support and encouragement.
Starting at age seven, and throughout his childhood, Mr. Perot held various jobs, including breaking horses; selling Christmas cards, magazines, and garden seeds; buying and selling bridles, saddles, horses and calves. He also delivered newspapers and collected for classified advertising sales.
Mr. Perot joined the Boy Scouts of America and became an Eagle Scout in fifteen months.
At age 19, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy where he served as Class President, Chairman of the Honor Committee and Battalion Commander. He was chosen as one of the outstanding leaders at the Naval Academy and received the National College Award for Leadership. After graduating in 1953, he served four years at sea on a Destroyer and on an Aircraft Carrier. His first cruise on the Destroyer took him around the world through 17 seas and oceans, and 23 foreign countries.
He met Margot Birmingham of Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 1952, while he was at the Naval Academy. They married in 1956 and, after Mr. Perot’s honorable discharge from the Navy in 1957, settled in Dallas. Mrs. Perot taught school, and he joined IBM as a salesman in the Data Processing Division.
In 1962, with a $1,000 loan from his wife, Mr. Perot started Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Over the next 22 years he built EDS into one of the world’s largest technology services firms. In 1984, he sold EDS to General Motors for $2.5 billion.
In 1988, he founded a new technology services company, Perot Systems Corporation. He served as Chief Executive Officer until 1992 and again from 1997until 2000, helping to take the company public in 1999. Mr. Perot served as Chairman of the Board until 2004, when he was elected Chairman Emeritus.
In addition to his successful business career, Mr. Perot has been involved in a number of public activities. In 1969, at the request of the U.S. government, he spearheaded a three and a half-year campaign to end the brutal treatment U.S. POW’s received from their Southeast Asian captors. In recognition of his efforts, Mr. Perot was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest civilian award presented by the Department of Defense.
The Perots, married for 48 years, have five children – Ross, Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn and Katherine. They also have 15 grandchildren.
The Perot family is actively involved in a variety of charitable and civic activities. Through the Perot Foundation, they have contributed over $200 million to many worthwhile causes.
Mr. Perot has received numerous awards and honors, including: The Winston Churchill Award; The Raoul Wallenberg Award; The Jefferson Award for Public Service; Distinguished Business Leader Award presented by Texas Association of Business – 2004; 2004 – Chosen as one of History’s Ten Greatest Entrepreneurs, going all the way back to the 5th Century.
Mr. Perot is the author of seven books on a variety of subjects: United We Stand; Not for Sale at Any Price; Save Your Job, Save Our Country (co-authored with Pat Choate); Intensive Care; Preparing Our Country For the 21st Century; The Dollar Crisis (co-authored with Senator Paul Simon); and Ross Perot, My Life & The Principles for Success.