Alumnus Charles F. Perrell, investor and principal in Perrell Ventures, received a Distinguished Achievement Award, recognizing high accomplishment in a given field or profession and notable contributions to society, when 5,500 graduating seniors gathered at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on May 10 for Undergraduate Commencement. Now retired, Perrell has been a prominent engineer, businessman, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and recipient of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Alumni Award. After stepping down as a fulltime technology executive, Perrell remains energetically active as an angel investor and vineyard operator.
Historically, Perrell has more than 35 years of experience launching and managing technology companies to his credit. After earning his undergraduate degree in 1971 in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and his MBA in 1972 in Business Administration, Perrell’s career took off.
Following a meteoric rise through the management of such companies as Texas Instruments, the Digital Equipment Corporation, Sun Microsystems, and MIPS Computer Systems, Perrell changed his emphasis from managing other people’s businesses to launching his own. In the 1990s, he became the co-founder and vice-president of Network Appliances and founded Environmental Software, serving as its CEO. Beginning in 2000, he became president and principal of Perrell Ventures.
At UMass Amherst Perrell has contributed generously for more than 30 years to the College of Engineering, the Isenberg School of Management, and the Athletics Program. His gifts to the campus total well over $1 million. At the College of Engineering, for example, he has created the Perrell Scholarship Fund, the Perrell Research and Teaching Fund, and the Perrell Current Fund in Environmental Engineering. He also received the 2000 Alumnus of the Year Award at the college, and the Perrell Computing Lab in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was named in his honor.
Perrell is married to Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Ann Guillaumin, M.D., a Board Certified Radiologist. Beyond UMass, Perrell and Beth are generous philanthropists, supporting prominent institutions and organizations across the country. They are also wine enthusiasts and have been active supporters of the Napa Valley Wine Auction that assists local wineries. Along with golf and skiing, Perrell enjoys his Silent Hills Vineyard, a boutique winemaking operation in Los Altos Hills, California. (May 2013)