The Custom Companies, Inc.’s First Employee Recounts Early Years

The Custom Companies pic
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.

The Custom Companies, Inc. – Three Decades of Sustained Expansion


The Custom Companies pic
The Custom Companies

As president of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera leads a trusted provider of transportation services throughout North America, as well as Hawaii and Puerto Rico. A recent company newsletter focused on Perry Mandera’s success in growing the company over the past three decades.

Established in 1986, The Custom Companies began as a two-door Elk Grove Village operation and grew sustainably through its focus on quality service that fully delivered on client expectations. Organic growth has been supplemented with strategic acquisitions, beginning with CDN logistics, an over-the-road carrier, in the late 1990s. In 2001, the firm added Custom Global Logistics’ air freight services to its family and in 2012 it acquired ATS and Circle W, which added refrigerated and flatbed transportation capacities. In 2015, Tri Air Transportation was added to the corporate footprint.

Today The Custom Companies maintains a nearly 500,000-square-foot facility in Northlake, Illinois, that has 400 dock doors. In addition, it has a 250,000-square-foot facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, that ensures highly responsive service across the West Coast. Mr. Mandera describes his future vision for the company as strategic expansion that conforms to economic and industry trends.

The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation By Perry Mandera

Founded in 1985, the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (LSCRF) honors Lynn Sage, a Chicago-area woman who died from breast cancer after fighting the disease for six years. Today, LSCRF maintains affiliations with Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.

LSCRF provides donor-supplied funding to research projects that are designed to improve understanding of the causes and treatments, as well as potential cures, for breast cancer. In addition, LSCRF dedicates a significant number of resources to educating the public about breast cancer prevention.

Since it was launched by 17 of Lynn Sage’s friends, LSCRF has grown significantly with a board of more than 84 people. The organization has collected more than $27 million for breast cancer research. LSCRF raises much of its money through four annual events held throughout the calendar year and relies on corporate sponsorship to maintain its nonprofit status.

About the Author

Chicago-area businessman and philanthropist Perry Mandera launched his first business in 1980 when he was just 23 years old. Today, he uses the profits from his various business successes to support several charities, including the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation.

Tips for Freight Transportation Perry Mandera

While freight transportation can entail complications, you can streamline the process and make efficient use of your time by planning in advance.

Here are a few tips to help you during planning:

1. Because it may involve multiple geographies that span cities, states, and countries, freight transportation has a lot of paperwork. Make sure that you have collected and documented forms for all possible ports. Also, make sure that you train your staff on not only the forms but also on freight-related questions via mock interview sessions.

2. Fees are a function of the goods being shipped. Thus, custom fees increase with the value of the transported goods. In addition, certain countries also impose special fees known as tariffs on products. Make sure that you have educated your staff about all fees applicable to the goods being shipped.

3. The delivery time for your freight largely depends on final destination. For example, items shipped domestically generally arrive on time and do not involve cargo containers. On the other hand, products shipped to international destinations may be delayed as they involve multiple transit points and forms of transport. It is always helpful to communicate expected dates of shipment and delivery to the receiving party.

About the Author
Perry Mandera is the managing director and founder of The Custom Companies, a freight transportation company with headquarters in Northlake, Illinois.

Building Stable Learning Environments for At-Risk Children, By Perry Mandera

Believing that every child merits a productive and meaningful life in a safe environment, professionals have developed residential education programs to provide high-quality academics for at-risk children. Residential education in community settings provides one solution for at-risk children, who have faced abuse, neglect, homelessness, and other family challenges.

The benefits of residential education are many. Stable learning experiences with caring teachers and staff have resulted in 80 percent of participating students going on to attend college. In addition to academic skill building, enrichment activities in these family-like settings help teach values and social skills, and they create connections and a sense of belonging. Importantly, these programs place a high priority on family preservation, with continuous efforts to keep students in frequent contact with their families.

In my home state of Illinois, I proudly contribute to the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls, which serves 300 children from the Chicago metropolitan area in grades 2 through 12. Up to 75 percent of entering students require academic support to reach performance levels commensurate with their age and grade levels. At Glenwood, houseparents oversee the social skills training program, while the Resource Program delivers the academic programs. Once resident students reach high school age, they attend either a private prep school or a public school. For more information about Glenwood, and for giving opportunities, visit

About the Author:

As a philanthropist, Perry Mandera has concentrated his charitable giving in the areas of children’s services and cancer prevention. Mr. Mandera serves as the President of Custom Companies, and he played a major role in creating the company’s foundation, the Custom Cares Charities.

Perry Mandera: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

Chicago native Perry Mandera is the owner of The Custom Companies Inc., a full-service transportation business. As a successful entrepreneur, Perry Mandera believes in the importance of sharing his success with others via philanthropy. He supports many organizations through his company’s philanthropic arm, Custom Cares. One of the groups Mr. Mandera supports is Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).

Candace Lightner founded MADD in 1980 after a drunk driver killed her 13-year-old-daughter, Cari. Originally started as a grass roots organization to aid victims of crimes perpetrated by people driving under the influence, today’s MADD follows a greatly expanded mission to prevent underage drinking, support families victimized by drunk driving, and stop people from driving under the influence.

To that end, MADD has embarked on the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which supports tougher DUI and public health laws and regulations. Likewise, the non-profit organization provides educational information for youth and their parents about underage drinking.

A Brief Biography of “Irish” Andy Lee, by Perry Mandera

A middleweight boxer, “Irish” Andy Lee was born in Bow, London, England, in 1984. At the age of 14, he moved to his parents’ home country of Ireland, where he became part of St. Francis Amateur Boxing Club in Limerick City. After winning numerous amateur competitions, Lee received significant attention by earning a silver medal at the 2002 World Junior Championship. Subsequently, he garnered a bronze medal at the European Senior Championship and represented Ireland during the 2004 Olympic Games.

In 2006, “Irish” Andy Lee entered professional boxing and won his first match against Anthony Cannon at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Standing at 6’2”, Lee boasts a record of 28-2-0. On June 16, 2012, he competed for the World Boxing Council middleweight title.

About the Author:

A philanthropist who contributes to the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, the Jesse White Tumbling Team, and other charities, Perry Mandera serves as the founder of the shipping firm The Custom Companies, Inc. Additionally, Mandera enjoys boxing, and he assists in managing “Irish” Andy Lee.