XENIA — He’s been to the International Space Station and to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
But for real estate and technology mogul Larry Connor, Greene County is the place to be.
“We were looking to be out in the country,” Connor said. “We looked in Warren County, looked in Greene County, looked in Butler County, and 35-plus years ago made the decision that Greene County and specifically Sugarcreek (Township) was where we wanted to live. I just think people don’t understand how great of an area it is.”
His love of everything Greene is a big reason why Connor received the prestigious E.J. Nutter Award during the county’s annual report to the community May 5. The award was created to honor and recognize persons who have distinguished themselves and who have brought recognition or benefit to Greene County in keeping with the E.J. Nutter tradition.
Nutter was a local businessman who always gave back to the area. Connor has continued that custom.
Since 1992, The Connor Group has amassed $3.7 billion in assets, landing its namesake on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine along with features on CNBC, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Since 2016, roughly $50 million has been invested in non-profit programs that help pull under-resourced kids out of generational poverty. And over the next decade, the Connor Group Kids & Community Partners plan to invest more than $500 million more in non-profit endeavors.
In 2018 Connor founded Colin’s Lodge in Bellbrook. The program provides a safe place for adults with cognitive differences to enrich their lives and foster independence through social, physical, and health-focused programs. In 2022, the organization launched The Greater Dayton School, currently under construction just north of downtown Dayton at Deeds Point. The private, non-religious school, is the first in Ohio exclusively for under-resourced students.
But Connor’s impact isn’t just limited to the area. Or the Earth.
In April 2022, he became the first professional, private astronaut to travel to the International Space Station as part of the historic Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1). One of four on the mission, Connor spent 17 days in space conducting groundbreaking scientific research spanning four key areas — heart, brain, spine, and aging.
Connor also made an impact in the water. In 2021 he completed three dives in five days in the Mariana Trench off the cost of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. At depths of nearly 36,000 feet, Connor helped provide researchers high-quality video footage and samples of the hadal zone — the deepest, most inhospitable parts of the ocean.
But Connor doesn’t dabble in myriad activities for the attention.
“I never think it’s about me or the individual,” he said. “I always think it’s either about a team or people or a community. Like Colin’s Lodge and what we’re doing there. There’s a need for adults with some special needs and we fulfilled that. We’ve tried to support other endeavors in Greene County. We were just recently supporters of the (successful township) police levy because you need a good, safe, secure community for everyone, especially our kids.”
Connor, however, was more than thrilled to receive such a prestigious award from his fellow residents.
“Its an honor because its the top award in the county and they only give one out a year,” he said. “So if you think about over (40) years, they only give (40) awards. There’s hundreds of thousands of people who live in Greene County, so certainly I feel special about that.”
That’s exactly how he feels about the county as well.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.