Larry Connor
Larry Connor Portrait.png
Larry Connor in 2015
Born (1950-01-07) 7 January 1950 (age 72)
Space career
Axiom Space
Time in space
17 days, 1 hour and 49 minutes
MissionsSpaceX Ax1

Larry Connor (January 7, 1950) is an American real estate, technology business person, and private astronaut[1] on Axiom Mission 1. Connor is the head of the Connor Group, a real estate investment firm located in Dayton, Ohio.

Education

Born in 1950 in Albany, New York, Connor graduated summa cum laude in 1972 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.[2] Connor was a member of Who’s Who of College Students and was one of 22 students out of a class of 4,500 undergraduates selected to the Ohio University J Club.[3][better source needed]

Career

From 1982 to 1990, Connor owned Orlando Computer Corp.[4] The company had operations in central Florida and Cincinnati, OH, providing hardware and software to businesses.

The Connor Group, a real estate investment firm, was founded as Connor, Murphy & Buhrman in 1992. Connor bought out his partners and established the Connor Group in 2003.[5] Over the next 18 years, the Connor Group grew from $100 million in assets to $3.5 billion.[6]

Connor co-founded Heartland Regional Power in 2004.[7] First Billing Services, an online payment and bill processing platform also co-founded by Connor, later acquired the firm.[8]

In 2007, Connor founded the Connor Group Kids & Community Partners,[9] serving disadvantaged youth in communities where the Connor Group operates.

Connor has been a member of the National Council of McLean Hospital since 2008.[10][11]

Connor and the Connor Group have received awards including the 2014 Glassdoor Top 50 Best Places to Work in the US, Small and Medium-Sized Companies,[12] a nomination to the Dayton Magazine 2017 Dayton Business Hall of Fame[13] and multiple Dayton Business Journal Top 100 Businesses in the Region.[14]

In 2017, Connor lead fundraising efforts for the redevelopment of The University of Dayton's indoor stadium, UD Arena. He was tasked with raising $33 million of the $72 million total. Connor made a substantial donation himself, before finding other donors to raise the amount required.[15] The stadium opened in 2019 following its renovation.

Connor co-founded First Billing Services in 2003, which provided payment solutions to utility and municipal government clients. In 2019, it was announced that it would be acquired by Atlanta-based, Paya Inc.[16]

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Connor made efforts to help alleviate effects of the pandemic for his employees. On April 23, 2020, he donated $1.6 Million as bonuses to his associates, which was given to those on salaries under $150,000 per year.[17] He also agreed to fund childcare expenses and expanded the company-sponsored loan program.[18]

In April 2021, Connor completed 3 dives in the Hadal zone, part of the Pacific Ocean with depths below 20,000 ft. The dives were completed alongside Patrick Lahey, with the aim of better understanding of the geologic and biologic makeup of the hadal zone. The three dives covered Challenger Deep, Sirena Deep and a seamount in the Mariana Trench.[19] Prior to April 2021, only two other people had explored the Sirena Deep, which were Victor Vescovo Alan Jamieson 2018.[20] Part of his aim was to go to space and also the deepest part of the ocean within the same year.[21]

On April 8, 2022, Connor was a space tourist on Axiom Mission 1, travelling to the International Space Station (ISS).[22] The mission was the first all-private space mission to the International Space Station, with Connor one of a four-member crew.[23] At 72 years of age, Connor was the second oldest man to visit space, after John Glenn who entered space aged 77.[24][25]

Racing

In 2000 and 2001, Connor was the winner of the SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship. He also raced in 2002 to defend his title.[26] Later that year, he competed in the 2002 24 Hours of Daytona.[27]

In 2003, Connor was part of the winning team at Petit Le Mans in the LMP675 class.[28] Connor also competed in the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans.[29]

Connor is the founder of Team C Racing. Competing in the Truck Spec class, Connor won the Baja 1000 in 2014.[15] In June 2016, the team won the Baja 500 Trophy Truck Spec series. Team C Racing recorded a winning time of 10 hours and 33 minutes, two hours in front of the second placed team.[30]

Personal interests

Connor is a private pilot involved in multiple aerobatic competitions,[31] participates in off-road racing,[32] and circuit racing.[33] He carried out dives in the Mariana Trench in 2021.[34]

Connor works closely with Mayo Clinic, focusing on aging and combatting problems associated with it. As part of his space mission with Axiom Space in April 2021, Connor took heart cells to the International Space Station to conduct aging research in the ISS' microgravity laboratory.[35]

References

  1. ^ Margetta, Robert (February 2, 2022). "NASA, Space Station Partners Approve First Axiom Mission Astronauts". NASA. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  2. ^ Beth, Anspach (August 26, 2015). "Labels don't define local owner of billion dollar company". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Larry Connor". The Connor Group. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Detail by Officer/Registered Agent Name". search.sunbiz.org. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  5. ^ "About Us". The Connor Group. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "Our Communities". The Connor Group. Retrieved June 15, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "First Billing Services Acquires Heartland Regional Power" (PDF) (Press release). January 4, 2012.
  8. ^ "First Billing Services: Billing and Payment Solutions for Your Business". www.firstbillingservices.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Connor Group Kids and Community Partners | Transforming Good Causes into Great Programs". www.kidsandcommunitypartners.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "About Us | McLean Hospital". www.mcleanhospital.org. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "Mayo Clinic Trustees Recognize New Named Professors". newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org. August 8, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "2014 Top Workplace". The Connor Group. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  13. ^ "Dayton Business Hall of Fame". Dayton Magazine. December 1, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "DBJ names Business of the Year winners for 2014". Dayton Business Journal. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Archdeacon, Tom (October 8, 2017). "Tom Archdeacon: Local adventurist spearheads UD Arena project". Dayton Daily News.
  16. ^ "Connor Group sells First Billing Services for $57.5M". Dayton Daily News. January 9, 2019.
  17. ^ Setty, Ganesh. "A real estate CEO made $1.6 million in the stock market. Then he gave the money to his employees". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  18. ^ Allen, Terina (May 5, 2020). "Employees Speechless After Getting Up To $9,000 Bonus Checks". Forbes.
  19. ^ Sheetz, Michael (April 7, 2021). "Real estate entrepreneur aims to be first to reach space and the bottom of the ocean within a year". CNBC.
  20. ^ Baker, Wayne. "Larry Connor preps for dive to depths of Mariana Trench". USA Today.
  21. ^ Espindle, Mike (July 30, 2021). "Famed Explorer Taps Triton Subs For Latest Challenge...But That's Only Half The Story". Forbes.
  22. ^ Howell, Elizabeth. "Ax-1's first all-private crew to space station would love a trip to the moon. 'The sights here are amazing.'". Space.com.
  23. ^ Thorbecke, Catherine (April 8, 2022). "What to know about Axiom Space, the company behind the first all-private mission to the ISS". CNN.
  24. ^ Robert Z. Pearlman (January 26, 2021). "Axiom Space Names First Private Crew to Visit Space Station". Scientific American. SPACE.com.
  25. ^ Margetta, Robert (February 2, 2022). "NASA, Space Station Partners Approve First Axiom Mission Astronauts". NASA. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  26. ^ "SCCA Runoffs grids set". Autoweek. September 19, 2002.
  27. ^ "SCC: Daytona 24: Race results". Motorsport.com.
  28. ^ "Champion wins at Petit, but Team Joest is champion". Motorsport.com. October 20, 2003.
  29. ^ "24 Heures du Mans 2004" (PDF). Le Mans. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 18, 2022.
  30. ^ Pendleton, Marc F. (June 7, 2016). "Team C Racing wins Baja 500". The Journal News.
  31. ^ "Pilot Larry Connor | International Aerobatic Club". www.iac.org. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  32. ^ "Connor and Team C Racing Dominate Baja 500". www.teamcdesertracing.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  33. ^ "IPS: Larry Connor Indy and The Glen double duty". Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  34. ^ "Halfway to History: Connor completes 3 dives to ocean depths". April 30, 2021.
  35. ^ Frolik, Cornelius (April 12, 2022). "Live from space: Larry Connor checks in". Dayton Daily News.