Egbert L. J Perry was born on the tiny island of Antigua where he grew up on a chicken farm with ten siblings. He attended school in Antigua until he won a scholarship to a private school in New York for his last two years of high school. He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, acquired a bachelors and masters in Civil Engineering and graduated with honors. He also earned an MBA at Wharton School of Business with majors in both Finance and Accounting.
He began his career as a construction and real estate professional in 1979 and, over a thirteen year period helped to build an Atlanta-based construction and real estate company, Integral, into the nation's 3rd largest African-American owned business. When he launched Integral in 1993, there was very little urban development. After exhaustive study of urban centers throughout the US, he created a new model based on the goal of "creating value in cities and rebuilding the fabric of communities".
His first project, Centennial Place, was an overhaul of the Atlanta Techwood/ Clark Howell Homes, a model for horrible public housing, and blight on Atlanta, which was preparing to host the 1996 Olympic Games. Perry, at the head of Integral, built a mixed-use, mixed income community to replace the Howell Homes. Its anchor is a state-of-the-art elementary school that can reach out to other communities. In 1996, Centennial Place was named by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as the "National Model" for like projects, and has been used as a template for similar developments.
In 1990, Egbert was inducted into the Hall of Distinction for Real Estate by Georgia State University and Real Estate Investment Advisory Council for his real estate development role in shaping the Atlanta community. He was also, in 1990, inducted into University of Pennsylvania's "Gallery of Distinguished Alumni", the 11th member in 250 years and has been on the Board of Trustees since 1996.
Perry sits on the board of directors of Fannie Mae and Atlanta Life Financial Group, the Advisory Board of the Penn Institute for Urban Research and the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center, among others. Perry recently completed a seven-year term on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and an 11-year term on the Board of Trustees of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. He has been a Director at Fannie Mae since 2008 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in March, 2014.