Junior's achievement Featured

9:54am EDT July 22, 2002

Louis Perry, 29, has special reason to be proud of his nomination for the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Last year, his father, Louis Perry Sr., won the award for the region.

Louis Perry Jr. broke off the construction management side of his father’s architecture and engineering firm — Louis Perry & Associates — in 1997, and has run it as an independent business since. While he fights to maintain a separate identity for himself and his company, he can’t deny his father’s influence on his success.

“Some of his success has rubbed off on me,” Perry says. “It’s a tribute to him, to his mentoring.”

By the end of its first year, The Perry Group brought in revenues of $4 million. That doubled last year, and Perry expects it to double again in 1999.

While The Perry Group does use Louis Perry & Associates’ architectural services for many of its projects, Perry didn’t spend long riding on his father’s coattails. He says that by his second year in business, less than 5 percent of his sales overlapped with his father’s firm.

The Perry Group has completed projects for Matrix Essentials, St. Judes Catholic Church, Precision Metalforming Association and Children’s Hospital, and the company is now building three new schools for the city of Wadsworth.

In 1997, The Perry Group acquired the systems division of Mettler-Toledo. The acquisition gave The Perry Group rights to the designs of four types of scales used in rubber and plastics manufacturing. The innovative purchase allows the company to provide equipment needs at the same time it handles new facility construction.

Perry has built his business in a short period of time by offering one-stop shopping for planning, design, construction and equipment installation, and by maintaining quality-control measures, such as the ISO-9001 certification his company received this year.

“Anything that has to do with our business is monitored and audited,” Perry says of the certification, which he believes will soon become a standard in the industry.

Perry has been able to build a work force to keep up with the company’s growth by recruiting local college graduates and maintaining a co-op program for students, who work at the company for course credit.

“I try to supplement key people with younger people, so in the end I have a good, strong organization,” he says.

Perry’s management strategy revolves around staying flexible and ahead of the curve. “I’m constantly trying to keep a pulse on what’s out there,” he says. “The bottom line is that you’ve got to be competitive.”

Connie Swenson