Perera Construction and Design, established in 1980 by Hank Perera, is a general contracting firm based out of California with licenses in four states – California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Specialized in healthcare, education, energy, telecommunications and most recently, entertainment industry projects, Perera Construction and Design prides itself on meeting all its clients’ specialized needs.
The company was established in 1980, when Hank Perera was a residential contractor in the State of Alaska. “I left that state in 1987 and came down to California where I started my business all over again with a completely different emphasis of getting out of the residential market and moving into more commercial institutions,” says Hank Perera, President of Perera Construction and Design.
When asked: “why California?” Perera, born and raised in New York, credits the fact that he had family in that state. “They just happened to be here and according to them, things were really happening in California. They said, ‘Come on down and check it out!’ and so I did,” says Perera. “The company was incorporated in southern California in 1989 and since then, it’s grown into a very unique company.”
One of the aspects that make the company unique is the amount of repeat business it performs. “If you were to look at our résumé, you would notice that most of the clients we have are very long-term,” says Perera. “We’ve been able to create an environment of repeat work with these particular clients. Another aspect that helps us is specialization. By going into specialized work and niche areas that not all contractors do, we narrow the competition.”
Perera Construction and Design is also, and has always been, very tech-savvy. “I picked up tech when computers were just kind of getting off the ground and I have a knack for it,” says Perera. “When the company was small, I would set up all of my own servers and that sort of thing. I’ve always seen it as being the wave of the future, so the company progressed along the lines of the tech world and we always try to stay on the front end of things,” he shares.
“We really look at all the new stuff that’s out there, at what’s going to make our work in progress simpler,” says Perera. “All our employees have laptops and iPads and [the latest technology] that they can use on the job site. We want to be on the cutting edge of it all.”
“That’s where the construction industry is going,” agrees Bryan Glass, Business Development, Perera Construction and Design. “And clients are falling in love with this new software capability to help construction projects get better results and keep better communication during the construction projects… everyone adapts very well to whatever new software platform we put in front of them. When it comes to learning new software, the learning curve is pretty quick.”
Some of the software Perera Construction and Design uses includes Procore, Bluebeam, AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, Primavera p6, On-screen Takeoff, SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, Planner, OneNote, Jostle, Stream, Prezi, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, ACT Premium, and Pipedrive.
Like all businesses, Perera Construction & Design has faced its share of challenges. “The construction industry is a highly competitive marketplace,” says Perera. “So a company has got to have that edge; it has to have that ability to penetrate a market and then sustain itself through that market.”
Perera Construction and Design has certainly been able to sustain itself, and with very high standards. “Our guiding principle is integrity,” says Perera. “We’re honest with folks and fair in our business practices. Without integrity, honesty and fairness in business practices, we wouldn’t have succeeded.” The company also values long-term relationships. “Our mission statement is ‘building relationships one project at a time,’” says Glass.
Since Hank Perera is a first-generation American with Cuban parents and a minority status, the company was considered 100 percent minority owned up until it became an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company. “In 2010, I made the decision to sell 49 percent of the company to my employees,” says Perera and, to be sure, Perera Construction and Design is dedicated to its employees. The company puts a great deal of effort into finding, hiring and retaining the right person for each job.
“The heart of success is the staffing of your team,” says Perera. “I believe that to be a successful company, we need to put and hire people in the right positions in order to meet the demands of our clients. I would say that it’s almost an art form.
“We look for staffers that are good communicators and who have good basic principles, someone with a good education behind them and a history of accomplishments themselves,” he continues. “And once we have a staff that is competent and very good at what they do, we don’t want to lose any of that staff. So, we really work hard to make sure that we maintain a long-term relationship with all of our staff members,” Perera says.
“I’m very proud of the team that we have,” he shares. “I have fun coming to work every day. That’s the environment that I look to push in our company; we have to have fun doing this. And I’m very proud of who we are as a team.”
Perera Construction and Design has worked on a rich portfolio of projects over the past couple of decades, including medical centers and even Universal Studios. “We’re working on our fifth project at Disney,” says Perera. “We are primarily a private general contractor; we don’t do public works. And we focus on best-in-class clients that can help us build a best-in-class company.”
The company has also worked on the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. “There are only 13 presidential libraries in the U.S.,” says Glass. “We built an exact replica of the White House Oval Office. Not many general contractors can say that they’ve done that sort of thing on a project.”
Perera Construction and Design has also been honored by the industry, receiving multiple awards, some of which include the ‘Top Diversity Contractor of the Year’ award from the President of the Southern California Edison, and ‘Above and Beyond Teaming Helpers’ award from Veterans In Business. “Being a veteran myself, we support veterans,” says Perera.
When asked where he sees the company in the next five to ten years, Hank Perera references author Jim Collins’ book and the 20 mile march. “We’re not going to burn up the hills in the next five years and bring the company to giant heights,” says Perera. “We will take a 20 mile march, slowly building a company and making sure that it keeps all of its basic values and principles together as we grow it.
“I think it’s important to note that many contractors fail in business because they over-extend themselves,” he says. “So we make sure that we do not over-extend ourselves. Right now, the market is pretty hot and there are a lot of clients hitting us up for work, and we have to turn some of those clients down because we don’t have the capacity to really produce a remarkable product for them.”
And make no mistake, Perera Construction and Design’s goal is to be remarkable. “This is a very competitive business to stand out in,” says Perera. “In the construction industry, you’ve got to be remarkable. So that’s what we push; we try to be a remarkable company to our clients.”
“As an ESOP company, we feel that when Perera is filled with leaders and team members who think and act like owners, work is more meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable,” says Glass.
As Perera Construction and Design keeps growing, it prides itself on being an ESOP company and aims to continue selling its shares to eventually, and hopefully within the next five years, have 100 percent employee ownership. “That will be the biggest highlight,” says Perera. “That is our goal.”