Mark Perrault’s interest in finance predates his high school diploma. He bought stock in the multinational technology corporation Intel in 2001 — his senior year.

“I remember the whole excitement of following a company,” Perrault said. “I always had an appreciation for the stock market and investing.”

Perrault’s early business savvy has translated into enormous personal and professional success in a relatively short time, nominator Carolyn Gust said.

He has raked in accolades since joining Northwestern Mutual in 2009 as a wealth management advisor in 2009, including achieving Northwestern Mutual’s Forum Level designation within his first three years — a milestone most do not reach until after 10 years in the business, Gust said.

“He truly is fueling the future of the financial industry locally and nationally,” Gust wrote of Perrault. “His active involvement in the community — from his volunteerism, board participation and creative fundraising, to his ability to engage and get people to participate and act — is exceptional.”

Perrault moved to Boulder in 2001 to study operations management at the University of Colorado, where he met his wife, Lauren, a Colorado Springs native. He joined the Air Force after graduation and moved to Spokane, Wash., where he earned his master’s degree in finance from Gonzaga University while serving four years as a captain.

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“It was great to have a guaranteed job right after college and serve our country,” Perrault said. “It was a win-win — a win for them, a win for me.”

In addition to wealth management for clientele in and out of Colorado, Perrault also helps guide other junior advisors who join the business as growth development director for Northwestern Mutual Colorado Springs. He and partner Charlie Dunn launched Dunn, Perrault and Associates — now one of the most successful wealth management firms in Colorado Springs — in 2016, Gust said.

Being a voice of reason for clients at their worst moment is the most rewarding part of his job, Perrault said.

“Trying to reduce the emotionality of handling one’s finances is very helpful for people,” he said.

Perrault also has a gift for connecting people and ideas, Gust said.

Three years ago, he and Dunn organized the Dunn, Perrault and Associates Philanthroparty, inviting community leaders and influencers to come together for one night and raise funds for a common cause.

The Philanthroparty has raised more than $250,000 in its three years for the Children’s Hospital of Colorado Springs, Atlas Preparatory Academy and Early Connections Learning Center.

Perrault enjoys being a catalyst for change in both his professional and personal lives, he said.

“I think a lot of us have good intentions. Acting on them is one thing,” Perrault said. “It’s good to be able to bring people together behind a common cause.”

— Erinn Callahan

What did you want to be when you grew up?

“Believe it or not, throughout high school and in the Air Force, I enjoyed the basics of financial planning… I would like to think I knew I was going to do this for a long time.”