Perry Mandera: Changing the Face of Philanthropy

Perry Mandera Changes What Philanthropy Looks Like


Perry Mandera, CEO and founder of The Custom Companies, Inc., has had extensive experience in the logistics field as well as the transportation industry. Perry was employed in these fields for more than 42 years. Since 1976, he has been a blessing to residents in the Illinois area and in other parts of the United States. His success is based on his determination and willingness to give back to the community.

Perry Mandera served as a U.S. Marine during a special period in his life. The entrepreneur remembers his experience with fond memories. As the person responsible for transportation needs, including transporting both supplies and troops, Perry Mandera quickly began to understand the valuable services that are provided by a shipping company or operation. His training was an influential force in enabling him to discover his future career. Yet the favorable feelings he has toward his service in the United States Marine Corps more accurately reflect his spiritual relationship with the troops. He remembers that his connection with the troops resulted in a team spirit that left a deep impression on his young mind.


Personal Mission


Mandera continued to focus on accomplishing his personal and professional mission even after he was no longer a member of the United States Marines. After he became used to living live as a civilian, he made the decision to run for the office of the Republican Ward Committeeman for the 26th ward in Chicago. As the elected official, he served for four years. His success was even more impressive because he was the youngest person who had ever served as a Chicago committeeman. In light of Perry Mandera’s fine characteristics, his youth and willingness to serve the community did not present any surprises.

In fact, Perry Mandera has always been interested in charitable endeavors and continues his passion today. His personal life and business career both shine because of an interest in helping others and making a positive difference in the lives of other people. When Perry Mandera is interviewed, he consistently expresses his views related to assisting people residing in his residential area, in other parts of the United States and even in foreign countries. He goes out of his way to donate money and time to help adults and children who suffer as a result of poverty and poor living environments. Perry is particularly interested in assisting needy children and helps young people via monetary donations, free transportation, and warm winter clothing.

Perry Mandera is not satisfied with donating money to well-known charitable organizations. Instead, he is always looking for ways to help new charities. His natural proclivity toward philanthropic efforts was noted during a recent interview. During the chat, he discussed the fact that his employees were asked to contribute information about people they personally knew who were having financial difficulties. He always feels a tremendous amount of joy during Thanksgiving and Christmas because he has been able to provide assistance to people residing in his neighborhood.

In addition to his philanthropic mindset, Perry has been recognized as an outstanding entrepreneur by leaders in the business world. The Illinois Transportation Association (ITA) previously recognized his excellence in all facets of running a business. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious “Top 100 American Transportation Executives of the Millennium” award. The ITA award was based on the fact that he continued to strive for excellence within his transportation business.


Embracing Technology


His business colleagues in the transportation industry know that he readily embraces the most recent technological trends and advances. Even though logistic software offers advanced features, he wants to improve software until it enters a previously unexplored world filled with innovative ideas geared toward the transportation industry. Perry Mandera has personally hired programmers who are able to design unique software that meets the requirements of specific clients. He has a loyal following because people recognize his leadership abilities, philanthropic heart, dedication to the community and efforts to provide customers with the best possible services.

In his effort to excel, Perry Mandera uses different resources offering him the opportunity to feel inspired and motivated. During the interview, Perry spoke about various motivational authors and writers who provide him with ongoing inspiration. He enjoys listening to speakers who are able to help other entrepreneurs reach new levels of accomplishment. Additionally, he spoke highly of his religious upbringing as a Christian. He said that his church and the Bible are his roadmaps for solving life’s trying situations that occur in his private life and within his business.

According to Mandera, his main source of encouragement and inventiveness stem from experience. He easily admits his past errors and recognizes the fact that every entrepreneur learns via making mistakes, especially when the errors occur during a lengthy period. Although he admits he became involved in less than fruitful business deals as an impetuous young man, he does not feel sorry for himself. On the contrary, Perry believes that young people need to learn from their mistakes. He points out that some of his past blunders caused him to try harder in his unceasing efforts to achieve success.

He has been traveling on a path endowed with intelligence, creativity, integrity, sagacity, and generosity. His journey includes lessons anyone can understand. His gift for excelling in business ventures and serving other people serves as a shining role model for all individuals. The following interview addresses more detailed information about his philosophical viewpoints. The chat highlights his achievements while also enabling readers to see his humility. The following excerpts are from the interview with Perry Mandera:


Can you please describe an average day in your life?


I can tell you that I am the type of person who only sleeps approximately four hours every night. Some people might label my habit as a form of insomnia. However, I do not have insomnia. I simply do not want to waste any time because I have too many things to do and accomplish on any given day. I like to go to sleep with a sense that I have accomplished something valuable during the day. I read and answer all of my emails before retiring. Plus, I listen to my voicemail and return the latest phone calls. I repeat the same habits when I wake up. I like to fall asleep with a clean slate and start my workday on a fresh note. So, even though I only sleep for four hours, I do get a good night’s rest because I am not worrying about little details while I am asleep.

I also have to admit that I enjoy talking. I often have lengthy telephone conversations related to my business. I receive a pretty expensive bill every month because I generate approximately 9,000 cellular minutes in a 30-day period. In addition to all the phone calls, I actually write and send out approximately 300 business-related emails every day. You could accurately say that I really value communication. I believe that it is important to communicate with my clients, employees, vendors, and colleagues.

I eat lunch every afternoon with an employee or vendor. I enjoy going over various updates. I typically go to the theater or a sporting event about four nights a week. I spend the rest of my spare time with my wife and children.


Is there one specific trend in the transportation field that drives you in a forward direction? 


I am always excited about new technological advances. Everything ages fast in the transportation industry. So, I believe in staying one step ahead of the latest technological feats. Naturally, technological improvements rely on unique concepts executed by imaginative individuals. Technology does not normally work in a definite way without creative people at the helm. The constant fluctuation related to transportation technology and innovative concepts inspires me to seek out new avenues. I have been engaged in the field of transportation and logistics since 1976. During all these years, I have to say that I never saw two days or two concepts that were exactly the same. In all truth, I am never bored with my career or my life.


How do you transform new ideas into real products and services?


I really like your question. I appreciate the roundtable philosophy. I discuss new ideas with a few trusted business leaders I have known for a long time. I present my concepts to my special group who often give me new insight into how to turn my ideas into actuality. I also consult with a specialist who does not work for my company. Plus, I use the knowledge of an industrial psychologist who critiques my ideas.


Do you have one particular habit that helps you become a better leader?


I guess you could say that I am something of a perfectionist. My business creed is to do everything right the first time. According to a recent survey I conducted with several managers, my management team has experienced unnecessary stress because one or more employees failed to do their jobs correctly when they first received their instructions. With a staff consisting of more than 500 employees plus a management team, it turned out that approximately 25 percent of a workday was devoted to correcting mistakes that could have been prevented.

I barely have enough time to carry through everything I wish to accomplish in one workday. It is never a good idea to waste time. I feel that workers need proper training so that they know how to perform their tasks from the beginning. When people are confident about their knowledge and abilities, they do not rely on others to correct their errors. I admit that I spend too much time micromanaging things. Even though micromanaging my business takes more time than it should take, I want my employees to understand the concept of achieving perfection at the beginning of their tasks.


Do you have any views that conflict with popular opinions?


I do not need to sleep for eight hours every night. As previously mentioned, I only need about four hours of sleep to keep me in good mental and physical shape. My friends find it difficult to believe that I can function on only a few hours of sleep. In any case, sleeping fewer hours gives me more time to think about which charities deserve my immediate attention.


What advice would you offer to yourself as a young man if you had a time machine?


I would advise my younger self to contemplate everything and to avoid making rash decisions. I would suggest that listening is an art worth pursuing. A younger person tends to think that he or she is a know-it-all. I have gradually come to accept the fact that I should have spent more time researching concepts before I attempted to put them into action. My primary advice is to slow down, take some deep breaths and ponder every strategy with care.


Is there one technique that has made you a success?


I believe in taking chances. The “no risk, no reward” philosophy resonates with my inner self. Although I advocate conservative values, a business approach devoid of bravery may prevent a young entrepreneur from growing a company. Entrepreneurs need to study the proven tactics used by their competitors and then try to do daring things that break the conventional mold. I also firmly believe in spending money on new equipment, software and any other type of technological improvement. Investing in modern applications creates a powerful business persona.


Is there any one thing you repeatedly recommend?


Yes, I often say courteous words to my employees, managers and business colleagues. Words such as “please” and “thank you” are never outdated. Treating people with respect yields more favorable results than throwing unwanted insults or unnecessary criticisms. I let people know that I value their ideas and accomplishments.


Can you talk about your most recent prized possession with a $100 price tag?


While dining in a favorite restaurant, I recently handed the waiter money to cover the checks for two veterans seated at another table. I did not know the men but wanted to serve them in some way. I told the waiter not to reveal my identity to the two strangers. I felt elated when I saw the astonished looks on their faces. Another recent purchase involved a pair of antique cufflinks for approximately $100. I love the old-fashioned, yet contemporary, look of my cufflinks.


Did you ever fail at anything during your career?


Yes, I once made an unwise investment causing me to lose a substantial amount of money. My team spent a considerable amount of time trying to make the most of a terrible investment. I lost clients and workers because of my mistake. My error made me realize that it is better to refrain from signing a contract rather than agree to something that causes failure. Luckily, I was able to correct my past mistake later on and recoup some former workers and clients.


Are you a philanthropist?


Yes, I am an ardent supporter of philanthropy. I love to help people who are experiencing financial problems. I especially enjoy helping children. I want youngsters to become successful, productive and happy adults. In addition to sponsoring sports teams for children and teenagers, I enjoy donating funds to families during the holidays. From clothing to transportation needs, my goal is to do whatever I am capable of doing to improve impoverished conditions in the world.


Mercy Home for Boys & Girls


The Custom Companies, Inc., founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur Perry Mandera, supports the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls located in Chicago, Illinois. Providing dormitory-style housing for both boys and girls, Mercy Home has a rich history. Founded in 1887 by Chicago Archbishop Patrick Feehan, the first home was purchased in 1889 and continued to expand over the years. The charity’s mission is to help abused boys and girls and offer them opportunities to overcome their dismal situations. The Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has helped more than 30,000 boys and girls via its residential program. Plus, the home provides mentoring for children who need spiritual guidance.

The Custom Companies, Inc., founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur Perry Mandera, has been a strong supporter of Mercy Home. He has helped children via teaching them how to grow vegetables and flowers in the home’s Hay Campus garden. Residents learned about gardening techniques and how to grow plants. Entitled Green Thumbs for a Greener World, the sustainable gardening project taught the children how to have more accountability.

In addition to helping the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Mandera’s Custom Cares Charities, Inc. provides funds needed to assist military veterans. In association with the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, he delivered approximately 6,500 winter coats to poverty-stricken children in the Chicago area. He has also been involved in providing free transportation to people who lost their homes because of various natural disasters.

As the charitable arm of The Custom Companies, Inc., Custom Cares Charities, Inc. helped victims of the 2013 tornado in Washington, Illinois. Perry Mandera’s vehicles provided free transportation services that transported residents, employees, and employers. Perry was also responsible for donating needed supplies to people who were unable to obtain the items they required. His philanthropic efforts for helping people affected by disasters extended beyond the state of Illinois. Volunteers for The Custom Companies, Inc. delivered approximately 40 truckloads of food and other necessities to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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