Occupation: Global client director with Eaton Corporation
Family: Mother, Betty Perkins, and longtime girlfriend, Kim Love. Perkins also considers Kim’s grandson, Kamden, as part of his family. “He’s a real joy to both us, so we’re spending a ton of our time with him and really enjoying it a lot.”
Brian Perkins says his parents, Bill and Betty Perkins, taught him three cornerstones of how to live: Respect others and value education and work hard
Perkins, who grew up in Alcoa and played guard on Alcoa High School’s state championship teams in 1977 and 1978, says his parents were a big reason he was always taught to respect everyone. “Growing up in that household, I experienced such a calm, safe and loving place. I was raised in a strong Christian household,” he says. “They always taught me at early age to be very respectful. It was drilled into to me, so now it comes as second nature.”
Perkins says the football teams in 1977 and 1978 were successful all the way to the state championship because the players had been together since they were in fourth and fifth grade. “We played as such a team that made all the difference in the world,” he says. “I’m still close to a lot of the coaches I had then. I grew up in the Alcoa schools and at church. It is a special community to grow up in.”
Perkins received a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1983. “Education was always a priority. I was the first in my immediate family to get a bachelors degree, and my parents were so excited,” he says.
After working in Virginia Beach and in Baltimore, he moved back to Blount County in 1991. “Living away from here made me appreciate it more,” he says.
In 1996 he started Springbrook Controls and two years later, the Eaton Corporation, formerly known as Westinghouse, bought the company.
Perkins left Eaton in 2005 and worked with National Homebuyer’s Assistance, a rent-to-own business that helped people qualify to buy homes. It wasn’t long before the housing market began to deflate, and he returned to Eaton.
Perkins, who is the current chair of the Alcoa Kiwanis, enjoys being active in the community. “I’m a member of First United Methodist Church in Alcoa, and I’m very active in Alcoa Kiwanis,” he says. “I want to be part of a civic club that gives back to the community. It feels really good to be part of that group.”
Here is Brian Perkins:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“I hope that I’m like both of my parents in that they always gave sacrificially with their time and money. Overall, I’m probably more like my Dad. As I get older, people tell me I look more and more like him, and I inherited his dry sense of humor.”
What are you guilty of?
“Getting too emotionally high or low after Vols games. I assumed I would outgrow this until the fall of 1990. I was living in Baltimore at the time, and I would often call my grandfather Amos Tallent on Sunday afternoons. This one particular Sunday was the day after Tennessee and Auburn had tied 26-26 before college had overtime. UT had been up 19-0 early and up by 17 points in the fourth quarter. When I asked Papaw what he was doing, he said, “Aw nothing, I’m just PO’d about that game last night.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“A Gibson Chet Atkins Tennessean Electric Guitar.”
What are you reading currently?
“Thanks to Shelly Rang, I am reading ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“In the second grade, I was pulling two of my classmates’ ponytails when our teacher walks in the room. My punishment took place in front of the whole class, and it consisted of being paddled and apologizing to my victims. My face was so red hot that it felt like it would burst into flames.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Kayaking and camping along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and a Grand Canyon hiking, camping and whitewater trip.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Nice. Growing up, I hated the ‘nice guy’ label, but it has grown on me.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would drop these last 10 pounds I’ve been trying to lose for a while.”
What is your passion?
“Enjoying the great outdoors and appreciating God’s magnificent gift of nature.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Winston Churchill. During the darkest hours of the 20th century, he demonstrated remarkable wisdom and inspiration to the British people and the Allied Forces.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Mel Gibson. I’ve always been a big fan of his, and people often told me I looked like him when my hair was longer, thicker, and darker. Perhaps if they died his hair gray and cut it short and thin, he would look like me.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“Either 1976 or 1979. My freshman and senior years of high school were the greatest. I even realized how special they were at the time, because I didn’t want the school years to end.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“It was actually a fake present. In the sixth grade, the only thing my brother and I asked for were 10-speed bikes. We didn’t think we were getting bikes, because there were two large heavy boxes for us under the tree. The boxes were filled with weights as a diversion, and our bikes were hidden in our parents’ closet.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“I was blessed with many great teachers and coaches growing up at Alcoa First Baptist and Alcoa City Schools, but Dr. Doug Sager and coach Steve Fugate influenced me greatly throughout my youth in their roles as pastor, team chaplain, teacher and coach.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Invest lots of money in the 4-year-old company called Microsoft.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I truly believe that dog is man’s best friend.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Working on the clean-up crew at Springbrook Pool. After that, I became certified and got a job as a lifeguard at the pool. That was the best job ever.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
“Life is a Highway.”
What irritates you?
“Slow drivers in the fast lane, and drivers who don’t acknowledge you when you let them in.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“The Blount County side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We are so blessed to have the Smokies in our back yard.”