Noted Chicago Business Man & Philanthropist Perry Mandera Discusses Business in Wide-Ranging Interview

Founder & CEO of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera, engaged in a conversation with IdeaMensch covering a range of topics, including his dedication to philanthropy, the entrepreneurial principles that drive how he operates his business and what a typical day looks like for him.


In the interview, Mandera briefly described his daily schedule, one which includes composing up to three hundred business emails, lunching daily with clients and employees and attending nightly events or meetups up to four times a week, all in service of his ever-expanding business. He would go on to describe himself as a perfectionist when describing habits that make him productive, and highlighted this as a mindset he tries to instill in his employees. “My logic is that if you train people to do it right the first time, you avoid a domino effect of others having to fix your mistakes,” Mandera said.


Mandera also discussed his dedication to philanthropy, particularly as it relates to children, declaring, “I love helping people in need. I have a soft spot for children. I try to help them have better tomorrows, financially. Whether it’s helping with their family, tuition, clothing, food, you name it.”


Perry Mandera is the founder and CEO of The Custom Companies Inc., a freighting and transportation company founded in 1986. A Marine Corps veteran, Perry Mandera first became involved in transportation tour of duty where he aided logistically by trucking supplies and personnel. After earning an honorable discharge, he would work for a few years in the transportation industry before opening a business in 1980.


Mandera would run for office and win election in 1984 into Chicago’s 26th Ward. He would sell his business the next year, and launch The Custom Companies the year after that. Today, the Northlake-based company generates around $2 million annually in revenue and employs in the hundreds.


Perry Mandera, in addition to his business success, is well known for his charitable efforts. He operates the Custom Cares Charities, which distributes a portion of The Custom Companies’ profits to various organizations.

Stream Energy

Stream Energy was recognized in the Dallas Patch for being one of the first companies to contribute to hurricane relief for Hurricane Harvey. Stream Energy’s charity foundation, Stream Cares, had partnered with Hope Supply Co to help alleviate homelessness caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Stream Energy is a privately-owned company that was established in Texas with services now spanning across seven states. The company provides energy, wireless, protective, and home services. Their business model is direct energy selling in which the corporation pays individual associates to build a network and deliver each product for a fixed rate. All products and services are offered for residential and corporate services. Associates who are successful with this business model work as autonomous entrepreneurs and business owners who also get to choose a cause to support through Stream Cares.

The company has redirected money profited by sales towards funding for relief. Stream Cares had recently been launched and its charity efforts have become part of their brand. Beyond monetary contributions, the employees are given the opportunity to volunteer themselves as well as partner with other foundations including Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

The Dallas Patch points out the win-win situation that these philanthropy efforts provide. While being able to give back to the community, companies are able to raise awareness and earn respect of current, new, and potential clients in the area. This growing trend is backed by the statistics, reporting in 2016 corporations provided $19 billion in funding to charities not including sponsorships, marketing, and individual employee contributions.

Through partnering with Hope Supply Co, Stream was able to cover entrance and meal costs for 1,000 children in North Texas at an event called Splash of Hope. Stream Energy has also aided to the Texas tornado that had touched down in 2016. The company had also paid all expenses and co-hosted the American Girl Doll Experience for 10 daughters of military families to help support and give relief Dallas-based families.

Stream Energy has made a positive impact in the Texas area where they serve, making philanthropy an essential part of their brand and value.