Meet Perry Mandera – Transportation Industry Executive, Active Philanthropist, and Community Leader

The founder and sole proprietor of global transportation firm The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera undertook his first entrepreneurial venture in 1980 when he was only 23 years old. At 27, Mr. Mandera was tapped to step in as the Republican Ward Committeeman for the 26th Ward in Chicago, an accomplishment that set him apart as the youngest person ever to hold the position. He launched The Custom Companies in 1986 with a “one stop shop concept” in mind. Leveraging his previous career experience to ensure the business’ immediate and long term success, Mr. Mandera gradually built his operation to include truckload and LTL (less than truckload) shipping options, domestic and international air freight transport, local and contract cartage, warehousing, and distribution.

Elected to the Board of Directors for the Illinois Transportation Association in 1996, a post he still holds today, Perry Mandera balances a heavy load of professional responsibilities with a host of charitable pursuits. Currently, he sits of the Board of Directors for the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, a commendable organization that provides care and guidance to neglected and abused children. Through The Custom Companies, Mr. Mandera additionally sponsors the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls in Glenwood, Illinois, a private boarding institution for at-risk youth. Other non-profits that benefit from Perry Mandera’s generosity include Catholic Charities USA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, Inc., among many others. Aside from his philanthropic activities, Mr. Mandera volunteers his time and energy to help young athletes achieve their dreams and coaches two well known pro boxers, heavyweight fighter Danell “Doc” Nicholson and middleweight “Irish” Andy Lee. Moreover, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Jesse White Tumblers, an acrobatic team that has entertained crowds at Major League Baseball and National Football League games.


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