Occasionally someone comes along who can make a significant difference in the lives of people who need help, and Perry Mandera proves it every day with his sincere dedication to philanthropy. His kindness extends to people who face tough challenges but have no resources to confront them. The needs of children occupy a soft spot in his heart, and he searches for ways to help families achieve a better life by providing access to funds that can ease a burden. The support that he gives to families for food, tuition, clothes, sponsorships of athletic uniforms or travel to competitions shows his delight in helping children. He finds deep satisfaction by reaching out through his business, The Custom Companies, to discover a need and fill it. Anyone who shares his business or personal life may identify someone in the community who needs his help, a tip that sets a generous response in motion.
Preparing for a Career from a Young Age
Now the CEO of the company that he founded, Perry Mandera prepared for his role at The Custom Companies, a leader in logistics and transportation, while proudly doing his duty as a United States Marine. With an assignment to arrange transportation for troops and supplies, he used the opportunities that his position offered to observe the importance of logistics. As a critical component of an organization, shipping contributes to the achievement of a larger goal. Perry Mandera credits his experience in the military with making a significant contribution to his success in the transportation and logistics industry today. His association with fellow troops created a camaraderie that produced lasting respect and understanding that have endured over the years. The opportunity to live and work with his Marine brothers contributes to his feeling of accomplishment from his years of service that influence his career as a leader in the industry. The lasting impression of trust and mutual reliability that formed respectful associations then help set the respectful environment that he established at The Custom Companies.
Now with more than 42 years of experience in the industry, Perry Mandera leads an organization that serves Illinois and the country with distinction. His diligence in establishing a successful business provides an example of leadership, focus, motivation, and commitment to philanthropy. His view of his accomplishments in business and life includes a willingness to take strategic chances. Opportunities may bypass someone whose approach limits their acceptance to safe and conservative positions. With a preference to advance to the next level through growth and the acceptance of responsibility, he acknowledges that not every one of his endeavors proved successful. His experiences did, however, produce benefits in the long run that made it worthwhile to take a chance on something that a competitor did not. His willingness to accept risk enhanced his ability to build on his success. Always ready to invest in technology and state-of-the-art equipment, he continues to search for new resources that help his company grow and continue to maintain a competitive edge.
Emphasizing Focus as a Reliable Resource
In retrospect, Perry Mandera can see the need to have spent more time in contemplation and listening than he did as a young man. He finds beauty in the social graces of saying please and thank you, paying close attention when someone speaks and complimenting his employees. The art of listening can pay significant dividends, and he finds that some of his best ideas come from talking to the people closest to him who pique his interest and fuel his curiosity. His sense of gratitude requires him to express appreciation for the contributions that others make to his company and his outlook. With the distance that separates youthful days from his status as a successful executive in a competitive industry, Perry Mandera can put into perspective the difference that age makes. He can understand the tendency of boundlessly energetic young people to think that they know everything as he once did, but he knows that change and realization come to everyone eventually.
At this stage of his career, he wishes someone had advised him to take a more contemplative approach in his younger days instead of one that let him race into action. In his evaluation of his plan for life in his early career, he thinks that he may have chosen to act too impulsively. Now he places a premium on time and tries to use it wisely every day without wasting a moment. He sleeps only four hours or so a night, and he contends that no one needs eight. The pace helps him fit in everything that he wants to do during a day even though his staying power on limited sleep astonishes everyone who observes his activity level.
Choosing Communication as a Vital Component
Talking with others fills a need in Perry Mandera’s life, and he relies on his cell phone and emails to support it. With his use of about 9,000 cellular minutes every month and approximately 300 business messages daily, he stays up to date by maintaining the contacts that he values highly. Every day begins and ends by returning calls or email from vendors, customers, and employees who need his input on important matters. Mealtimes give him opportunities to meet with service providers or workers so that he can cover status updates regularly. With at least four business engagements after work each week, he may invite clients or employees to attend a theatrical performance, a sporting event or dinner at a favorite restaurant. He values the companionship at a roundtable with his core group of executives, some of whom have shared his passion for work for more than 30 years. He understands that he can count on them from the beginning of a concept through its completion. However, his company uses an outside consultant or an industrial psychologist when the need to exchange ideas with professional advisers outside of his circle occurs.
The fresh outlook that he maintains through his favorite communication channels receives reinforcement through his eager acceptance of the technology that drives business and society. He acknowledges that everything in the transportation and logistics industry can age quickly, and he acts promptly to stay abreast of the latest technological advances. Ever ready to appreciate the contributions of others, he values the innovative and creative ability of people to develop the technology that benefits business and all segments of society. Perry Mandera has worked in his industry since 1976, and he credits the changing landscape of technical development for creating engaging and exciting days. Even so, he acknowledges that his company uses some services that he thinks of as homegrown for their simplicity and user-friendliness. He imports software as well but customizes everything to satisfy the preferences of his customers. When clients express their views, Perry Mandera responds promptly by instructing his in-house programmers to give them what they want and need. His responsive approach ensures that his company never loses business because of an inability to provide a technology that a customer desires. His challenging career and busy lifestyle make each day unique, and he admits that he has never experienced two days that seemed alike.
Thriving with Motivation and Accomplishment
Achievement in business motivates Perry Mandera, and the recognition that honors his accomplishments spur him to use his fame and respected position to benefit the community. The Illinois Transportation Association (ITA) awarded him one of its most prestigious honors when they designated him as a Top 100 American Transportation Executives of the Millennium in 2000. The recognition marked his commitment to excellence in every field of endeavor that has interested him since his days as a U.S. Marine. He pursued politics for a short period when he completed his military service, and he won election as the Republican Ward Committeeman for Chicago’s 26th ward. After serving for four years as the youngest person ever to hold the position, he moved on to other callings that gave him more opportunities to serve his community. The award from the ITA confirms his commitment to seek excellence in all aspects of his professional and philanthropic life. His adoption of the latest logistics software to support his business allows him to identify the systems that meet his expectations. A staff of professional programmers follows his lead in determining the best tools to serve his customer base by developing packages that meet unique requirements. The software market offers many options that make selection a simple matter of paying for it, but the ordinary is never enough for Perry Mandera. The efficient operation of The Custom Companies’ fleet of vehicles and the facilities that maintain them consistently ensures clients of the highest level of service.
Honoring a Devotion to Philanthropy
Never far from thinking about the needs of others, Perry Mandera used the occasion of a dinner with friends to ask how they may spend the money if they happened to win the lottery. The concept that he presented was to create a unique version of the famous Shark Tank show. His proposal included a competition for a winning business idea, but it involved a requirement to commit 10 percent of profits to charity. Even in relaxing moments with friends, he searches for opportunities to help others. The concept inspires those who come under his influence to share their good fortune with those whose outlook for the future offers limited options. By committing to set aside funds to help disadvantaged people, companies can help someone else find a way to succeed in business.
His dedication to philanthropy and his desire to lead his company in that direction seem to follow the pattern of events that established him as a recognized philanthropic leader in Chicago. With every chance that he finds to do so, he donates his vast resources to the betterment of life for the less fortunate members of the community. His generosity meets many needs of children, and his massive trucks can deliver clothing and other goods to any location where disadvantaged youngsters need them. The Mercy Home for Boys and Girls offers a perfect way for Perry Mandera to express his genuine interest in the city’s youth. As a refuge for at-risk children, the organization interrupts the cycle of abuse, neglect, hunger and loneliness that afflicts many young people in busy, contemporary society. While others may not notice that someone cannot keep up, he cannot ignore it. Mercy Home has a long history in Chicago from its founding in 1887, and it has assisted more than 30,000 children without fail for 131 years. As a religious man and the father of two boys who went to Catholic schools, he appreciates the work that the church performs through Mercy Home. The charity provides the structure and support that abused children need, and Perry Mandera brings enormous resources to help accomplish its essential goals. Children who may never have seen a garden got to participate in a creating one at the Hay Campus of the Mercy Home. He involved The Custom Companies in promoting a sustainability initiative that let the residents work alongside volunteers to rejuvenate a garden with fresh flowers and vegetables. Perry Mandera supported the project that reduces the community’s carbon footprint while educating the young people on the value of social responsibility.
In his search for perfection, he established Custom Cares Charities as a branch of his corporation to meet the substantial needs of Mercy Home and other worthy organizations. A charity that operates 14 therapeutic residential facilities, Mercy Home offers safety, security, and freedom from fear and hunger to youth from age 11 to 21. Each child has a comfortable bed to sleep in at night and nutritiously delicious home-cooked meals, many as a first-time occurrence in their lives. The comforts that they receive help enable them to focus on the activities of a day without worrying about things that need not concern children. Perry Mandera’s support of the outreach charity coincides with his desire for perfection. An organization that focuses on setting up the best procedures and adheres to them avoids the need to make corrections. His management team respects his desire to do things right the first time to prevent the domino effect that requires a fix for someone’s mistakes. He acknowledges a tendency to micromanage, but he accepts the practice as worthwhile for its value in establishing adherence to quality and perfection as the first steps in a path the leads to success.
The Custom Cares Charities, a giving organization, provides generous gifts to families who have a great need for funds. Thousands of dollars made it possible for poor and disadvantaged families in the Chicago area to enjoy a holiday season perhaps for the first time. The organizations that his company supports received thousands of winter coats for children who faced the brutal weather without them. Through his persistent efforts to locate people who need financial assistance by asking almost everyone he meets for information, Perry Mandera succeeds in meeting physical needs as well as educational aid for many. He finds well-earned rewards in sharing his company’s resources with recipients that his employees locate and bring to his attention. His generosity seems almost boundless, and everyone who needs help can share in it.
An avid observer of human behavior, Perry Mandera notices the contributions that others make to the welfare and well-being of society. He credits motivational speakers for their ability to inspire people to unlock their potential. By observing the differences that a new thought or an innovative approach to a problem can make, he finds the contribution that speakers offer of significant value. As a man with a religious background, he has found strength in letting his faith serve as a compass that directs his path through the complex issues that face him daily. The experiences that have shaped his life have provided a source of inspiration for him as well. While he strives for excellence and perfection in every way, he acknowledges that inevitable mistakes over a long career must occur. He draws inspiration from them as he views the impulsiveness of his youth as it transitioned into the seasoned and successful businessman that he is today. Business deals that appealed to him then have no place in his approach to contemporary commerce, but they taught him lessons that guide him and provide insights into human behavior.
Learning experiences bring value and perspective into a person’s life, and Perry Mandera appreciates the aspects of understanding that they have brought into his. With anticipation for each new day and the ability to enjoy the challenges that come, Perry Mandera embraces the opportunity to serve others and to improve the lives of the underserved and disadvantaged people of his Chicago community and surrounding areas. The wisdom that he has acquired in military service, as a politician, in business, and through his philanthropic efforts benefits those around him and enriches his life with his family. His extraordinary career of excellence in many areas reflects his ability to prioritize his responsibilities to his company and his community. A career that has brought Perry Mandera to a pinnacle of success rests on the remarkable humility that underscores the significance of his balanced approach to life.