The Custom Companies
With more than three decades’ experience in the industry, Perry Mandera owns and operates the Northlake, Illinois-based transportation solutions firm The Custom Companies, Inc. In June 2016, Perry Mandera’s business participated in the Illinois Professional Truck Driving Championship, an annual family-friendly event that welcomes truck drivers, truck enthusiasts, and customers alike.
Designed to promote truck-driver safety, the competition recognizes the safest commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers throughout Illinois. The championship features nine equipment classes. Participation is restricted to CMV drivers with an accident-free record for 12 months prior and who meet medical qualifications. Additional qualifications included a minimum of 1,200 hours of annual driving, at least 12 months employment in the trucking industry, and employment with a company affiliated with the American Trucking Association (ATA).
The 2016 Illinois Professional Truck Driving Championship took place June 10-11 at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. For this event, a no-exceptions-or-waivers policy was added to the accident-free requirement. Previously, exceptions had been allowed for accidents wherein the driver was parked legally or stopped at a traffic light or signal.
The Custom Companies, Inc
Perry Mandera guides The Custom Companies, Inc., and provides a host of transportation solutions that meet the needs of clients across North America, including Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In early 2016, Perry Mandera was interviewed for The Custom Communicator newsletter on the occasion of the company’s 30th anniversary.
Recounting his reasons for wanting to establish a firm that has grown from five to 600 employees over the years, Mr. Mandera described wanting to create a “one-stop-shop” approach that would simplify the lives of shipping managers. This related to sales management experience taking calls that often indicated that clients would be interested in an expanded range of services under one roof.
These insights led to the idea of “One Call Does It All” being taken successfully to the transportation marketplace. As Mr. Mandera remembers it, there were numerous obstacles in the way of attaining specific goals during the first decade. Primary among them was simply convincing customers that their full range of transportation needs could be met by just one group of companies.
The Custom Companies
As the founder of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera provides coast-to-coast transportation solutions spanning air and land. Perry Mandera’s firm celebrated 30 years in the business in 2016, and the company newsletter featured an interview with him and the firm’s first employee Dianna Ryan.
Joining the company in 1986, Ms. Ryan was there as operations expanded from a small freelance basis to more than 600 employees. She recalls that there was on ethos of accomplishing everything necessary “to get the job done” in the early days, even if that entailed 14 hour workdays.
There was a tight-knit aspect of operations, where personal competencies were strongly valued, and she worked to create company norms and best practices from the outset. Ms. Ryan has witnessed firsthand the organization’s transformation into a departmentally structured company with checks and balances at multiple levels. She speaks about her position remaining extremely challenging and values how Mr. Mandera encourages thinking outside the box.