Craft in the City

Perry Mandera: Philanthropist, Transportation Company Founder, and Family Man

As a young man, Perry Mandera enlisted in the Marine Corps. In addition to firming up the values he grew up with, the Marine Corps was where he learned to drive large tractor-trailer trucks. Perry found he enjoyed trucking. After fulfilling his commitment to the Marines and being honorably discharged, he went to work in the transportation industry.


At 23 years of age, having worked for several trucking companies, and girded with the confidence of youth, he started his own trucking company in 1980. Five years later he sold the company, and a new interest captured his attention — politics.


Perry served as a party committeeman in Chicago, Il. for four years, but his fascination with the transportation industry endured, and in 1986 he founded The Custom Companies, Inc. Today, 32-years later, the company flourishes. Headquartered in Illinois, Custom Companies employs hundreds and recently passed the $200-million in revenue mark. Perry Mandera’s Custom Companies serves a broad array of customers, from local cartage for private parties to long-distance shipping for international companies, including services such as air-freight forwarding.


Perry Mandera’s performance in the shipping sector hasn’t escaped notice, and in 2000, the Illinois Transportation Association honored him as one of the “Top 100 American Transportation Executives of the Millennium”. Perry has gone on to serve on the board of the ITA.


One thing remains a constant for Perry Mandera — his values. Terry takes his values seriously and consequently has practiced charity throughout his life. While Perry tends to focus most on charities involving youth and the organizations serving them, he has contributed liberally to cancer research and treatment.


As a man who seems to have a hard time saying no to the less fortunate, Custom Companies, Inc., has donated to victims of the 2013 hurricane disasters in Washington, Il. Perry also distributed 40 truckloads of goods to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Some of those goods Perry bought himself, some were donated by good-hearted citizens. Perry and other like-minded folks created Custom Cares Charities, a registered 501c corporation. Custom Cares Charities particularly favor charities serving neglected or abused children and gives away thousands of dollars every holiday season to families in need.


Perry and Custom Companies enthusiastically support veterans and donate to veteran’s charities. Custom Companies, Inc., also actively seeks to hire vets.


Married since 1989, Perry enjoys all the time he can get with his wife and two kids. He’s an active supporter of their sports and school activities.


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