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Front row with the President

Ian Perkins had a front-row seat for President Obama's recent speech at Honeywell in Golden Valley.

When Ian Perkins of Minneapolis heard that President Obama was going to speak at Honeywell in Golden Valley last week, little did he know it would be a day he'll likely never forget.

Perkins, a 1999 Morris Area High School graduate, works as a global buyer for Honeywell. He knew about the June 1 speech by the president, but hadn't even considered attending.

"I'm not the president's biggest fan," Perkins admitted.

But that didn't stop him from jumping at the chance at a front-row seat for the president's appearance.

"On Thursday, I got an e-mail from Congressman Collin Peterson's chief of staff, saying that I would be guest of the White House for the speech. I was stunned. I told some of my co-workers and they thought I was lying until I showed them the e-mail."

Perkins had met Rep. Peterson and his staff during a trip to Washington, D.C. in March.

Still, Perkins wasn't quite prepared for all that is included in seeing the president. When he got to the Golden Valley plant, dogs were used to search his vehicle.

"I took a picture just to show my friends it was really happening!" Perkins said.

A ticket from the White House was required to get in. When he got into the venue for the speech, he was 15 feet away from the podium.

"There were quite a few people there. I was standing next to the Golden Valley mayor and his family. Their kids were so excited to see the president, so I let them in front of me so they could see better."

Minnesota's two senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Frankin were also there. Perkins took over 100 photos on his cell phone.

"Honeywell employees could watch the speech on a closed circuit broadcast. I had several texts from co-workers saying they could see me and still couldn't believe it!"

Following the speech, Perkins was in a crowd of people who were able to shake the president's hand.

"After hearing Pres. Obama speak, I understand why he got elected. He is very charismatic and it was an amazing event to be part of."