Supply Chain Now Episode 478
“My parents, my grandparents came from Cuba as refugees. They didn’t have anything to their name and talk about the ultimate startup. I mean, that’s the ultimate startup. We all look and go, Oh, well, I’m here. I’m going to start a new business. I’m in the U S I’m going to go to a new industry and do this and that and the other, well, you know, go to a new country and start with nothing.”
-Jason Perez, CEO, YARDZ
Jason comes from a pedigree of construction and entrepreneurship. His previous venture was an international project management and consulting firm that had great success in the mission critical world. He’s been on several boards and has been a trusted advisor for a broad list of companies.
Jason brings a strong leadership, extensive industry experience, an obsessive work-ethic and a passion driven culture. And at the same time, he’s a focused, intentional father helping his wife create superkids of the future.
This week on tequila, sunrise, you’re going to find out how an escape from tyranny and intentional upbringing, construction and conga gave one founder the will and the skill to succeed in supply chain tech against all odds who listen up.
Greg White (00:32):
It’s time to wake up to tequila, sunrise, where without the aid of tequila, unfortunately, we open your eyes to how tech founders and venture investing ticks focused on supply chain tech every week at this unholy hour of the day. So if you want to know how tech startup growth and investment is done, join me every single week for another blinding tequila, sunrise, Greg white here from supply chain. Now always happy, never satisfied, willing to acknowledge reality, but refusing to be bound by it. My goal is to inform, enlighten and inspire you in your own supply chain tech journey, subscribe to tequila, sunrise on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. So you don’t miss a thing.
Greg White (01:37):
All right, without further ado, let’s bring in Jason Perez, CEO and founder of yards listen up. Okay. Let’s bring in our guests. Jason Perez. Jason is CEO and founder of yards. What I like to call a construction supply chain application. Jason comes from a pedigree of construction and entrepreneurship. His previous venture was an international project management and consulting firm that had been successful in the mission critical world. He’s been on several boards has been a trusted advisor for a broad list of companies. He has an, I can verify this strong leadership, extensive industry experience and obsessive work ethic and passion for driving culture. At the same time, he’s a focused and intentional father helping his wife creates super kids of the future. And you have got to check out Jason’s own explanation of how yards works. It is a dead on explainer video, and whether you’re a prospect or a founder, it is a great example of how to tell your story. I’ll put it in the show notes or go to the site yards, Y a R D z.com. Of course, after this episode, Jason, thanks for joining. It’s great to have you.
Jason Perez (03:00):
Yeah. Thank you, Greg. And thank you for one, the kind intro and two for pointing people to our explainer video, to be honest with you. I wish I was that smart. I wish I was that good, but the reality is I’ve just been blessed to have great people around me, right? So our, a tech founder, just Skylar went to film school. I think as the story goes and it’s been verified by his parents, that he had his first featured film in a multiplex theater while he was still in high school. And then he actually did a followup part, two of it, which we all know that part two is usually don’t work, but apparently it’s sold out and did better than the first film. So he knows what he’s doing. And, um, I’m blessed to have him as my tech co-founder with all the Ray of skills that he has and you know, all the advisors and all the people and people like you, Greg, that have helped us understand and steer and work towards our market goals and understanding the behavior there and really the industry dynamics, right? That a lot of people just forget about. But when you have good people around you, you know, makes you a lot better
Greg White (04:07):
First lesson of the day. That’s that is so true. Well, I gotta tell you, Josh must be a heck of a director because while the camera work is amazing and the background is astounding, you did a fantastic job. I mean, dead on looked like one take. I can’t tell you, but what it really spoke to me about was that this is something that you know, that you live and we’re going to get to that a little bit later, but before we get into the heavy duty work stuff, I’m fascinated by your family story. So tell us a little bit about your youth, about your parents, your hometown. So people get to know you.
Jason Perez (04:46):
Yeah. I’d love to think. They’re the big reason why I am who I am. I think people are born a certain way, but at the same time, you know, you start to look at what they’re exposed to and how they’re exposed to it. And it really starts to drive their personality. It drives the direction of their life and potentially, you know, in some cases the way they think and their destiny, right? And so, you know, my parents, my grandparents came from Cuba as refugees. They didn’t have anything to their name and talk about the ultimate startup. I mean, that’s the ultimate startup. We all look and go, Oh, well, I’m here. I’m going to start a new business. I’m in the U S I’m going to go to a new industry and do this and that and the other, well, you know, go to a new country and start with nothing, right.
Jason Perez (05:28):
And build a life. And so each one of us, I think that’s why it produced three entrepreneurs. My two brothers are both entrepreneurs as well. Uh, we looked at what they did and how they did it. And it was kind of this never quit, no option to fail life that we had. And we all came together and we all worked and we all figured it out. It didn’t matter whether it was the start of the finish of an activity. We were all there together and in it. And I think part of their leadership and what they showed was that you can get through anything. And as an entrepreneur, the highs are highs, right? The highs are very high and the lows are very low. And if you give up at any point, just because you had three lows in a row and you’re not going to last, you know, it’s always looking forward to that future.
Jason Perez (06:19):
And that’s what my parents did. It didn’t matter where they were in the present. They were always working towards that American dream. And they took their life in their own hands as entrepreneurs. And you know, that doesn’t mean they didn’t work for other people, but they always had just our eyes set on that goal, that vision. And, you know, that’s something that I talk about regularly. So when your grandparents came here, where did they land? Yeah. So both my grandparents, you know, you would think being Cuban, they were in Miami, but they weren’t, they landed. And we’re, uh, we’re part of a community called Kelly Cubans, you know, like select group of us, uh, hunts is in park Downy areas where a lot of them ended up South gate, kind of this South, uh, East of Los Angeles area. Our street alone had half of our family.
Jason Perez (07:05):
Cause my grandma was one of 13. And so on my dad’s side. Yeah, it was, it was pretty serious. You know, my, my uncle came over first, went to California and then brought over my grandma. And then from there they just worked and they would save up money and bring the next sibling over until they got all 13 siblings. And so you can get to California from Cuba. I mean, well, yeah, good point. Good point. So at that point, a one, one family, my father’s family went through Spain and so they, they went there from the Canary islands. So from Island to Island and there’s an old, you know, some old pirate stories obviously cause Canary Island pirates and Cuba was known for pirates. And you know, we don’t know where my grandfather was and all that mix or great, great grandfather. But, um, they went through Spain and then my, my mom’s parents and her went through Mexico and that’s because my grandfather, my mom’s father owned a business in Havana and he actually had like a woman’s clothing shop there and would sell to a lot of the, you know, higher officials and people that would come into town and made a really strong name for himself.
Jason Perez (08:13):
And so it was actually the ambassador from Mexico that helped my grandfather get out and go through Mexico and, and get to the U S so all that said still, still had nothing. They actually, um, when my, my mom and her parents left, they were spitting on, on them and calling the names as they got on the plane and they took my grandmother’s wedding ring off as she got on the plane. Cause they said, you’re not allowed to lead this country with any valuables whatsoever. Wow. Yeah. Now what year was that? Uh, it was around 64, 63, 64. So that, I mean, that was the height or the depth, whatever of the comments
Greg White (08:56):
Takeover, right? Yeah. So you, you were raised in Huntington park
Jason Perez (09:03):
Or so early on, we live in Huntington park. Uh, we did a lot of moving. So, uh, early on Hudson park, then we moved out to Texas for about two years and then they moved back to California and to the Riverside area. And then we landed up in the high desert, which not too many people know, but Mojave desert, Palmdale, Lancaster area, my dad really wanted to raise us with old, very traditional values. And so get, get out of, of any of the external influences and gangs and things like that, that we had around us at the time. So he would commute an hour and a half just to get down to work and about two hours to get back from, from work. And it was a 25 years of doing that.
Greg White (09:48):
Wow. Where was he working then?
Jason Perez (09:50):
It was at children’s hospital. Los Angeles. Oh, okay, cool. So he worked there and um, and then also had his own electrical contracting company where he built small restaurants and, you know, smaller contracts and things like that. So every weekend or after work, you know, we we’d be plugging away on some of those things and he’d be grinding through the weekends, you know, trying to, trying to make the dreams.
Greg White (10:16):
So did you work with him, you and your brothers work with him?
Jason Perez (10:19):
Yes, we did. Where, where we were allowed to work. Right. So you can’t necessarily show up to a, to a restaurant with inspectors and everything else going on, but, but ceiling fans and, uh, can lights and you know, it’s 120 degrees and Palmdale Lancaster, or 110, I should say, but 120, 130 and addicts. And you’re crawling through with real insulation, not this, you know, insulation, that’s like cotton and fluffy today. It was true.
Greg White (10:50):
You’ve still got some of that in you, I’m sure. Right.
Jason Perez (10:52):
A hundred percent, a hundred percent. I mean, and you get out there and you’re just so itchy and nasty. Um, but you know, that was your job, right? That’s your contribution.
Greg White (11:03):
So what did you guys do as kids? I mean, what, what did you enjoy doing? I’m familiar with the high desert. It can be a hot desolate, but still it’s getting up there towards the mountains and Baldy and all of that. So what what’d you guys do for fun?
Jason Perez (11:21):
Yes. So, um, when we moved out there, you can ride a motorcycle or, you know, three Wheeler, which are not safe. Anybody listening don’t buy it.
Greg White (11:31):
That’s right. Don’t go out and buy your kid. A three Wheeler, terrible idea. We were lucky to survive those things. Weren’t we,
Jason Perez (11:39):
And with no suspension, you know, the suspension was like, take air out of your tires. Right.
Greg White (11:44):
Did you ever get run over by your three Wheeler?
Jason Perez (11:46):
I did. My older brother got, got, actually ran over flipped over and busted his knee, you know, so yeah, they’re definitely, if you’re not someone that’s cautious, you’re going to get hurt. And if you’re someone that is cautious, you’re probably still good.
Greg White (12:01):
You’re going to get hurt. I went over the handlebars on, on one when I was a kid and, and it rolled right over the top of me. I have to confess other than the heat of the engine, as it went over, it was like a beach ball rolling over you because those springy tires, right.
Jason Perez (12:19):
That’s right. It’s true. It’s the truth. So we used to back then our, our neighborhood was just so tight. I mean, you can get, like I said, on your ATC and ride straight out and it was, it was maybe 20 houses in our neighborhood. So everybody knew everybody, a lot of barbecues, a lot of hanging out there. And I was always into the military thing ever since I was a little kid, you know, there’s a lot of patriotism in my, in my family. So I remember building forts like every single week, you know, we’d find old pallets and we’d find old pieces of wood and we’d build forts and pretend like, you know, we’re out there forging. And uh, until mom called you and brought you back to reality, right. But you thought you were,
Greg White (12:58):
The street lights came on. Did you have to be home when the streetlights came on? Yeah.
Jason Perez (13:02):
Yeah. I, we were supposed to be home and street lights came on. My mom’s, uh, mom’s pretty intimidating. You know, she’s a little bit taller than most moms, you know, she’s like five, 10, so, and Cuban. So you get that loud, boisterous voice, just yelling, you know, it can be a half mile away. And you’re going to hear when, when mama Perez calls for the boys to come home. Yeah.
Greg White (13:27):
That’s awesome. So any sports, do you play any sports or anything as a kid? Oh, wait, I tell us about your big activity.
Jason Perez (13:36):
My big, um, so I’m a S I’m assuming we’re talking about the, how I made my money kind of after high school or during high school and college. That’s what I’m assuming we’re gonna,
Greg White (13:51):
Well, we don’t have to go there yet. I mean, I am curious if you, I mean, if you were into sports or, or anything, I mean academics or whatever, whatever you did else you did for fun.
Jason Perez (14:02):
It’s so, so some of the psychology, yeah. I’ll get through some of that. So I’m Cuban, right. So there’s only a couple of things that, that you really get involved with. You’ve got boxing, you got baseball, you got dominoes. Right. So, yeah. So, um, I opted for baseball and I mean, I played year round. I was throwing if some of my friends listened to this though, they’ll vows for me, I was thrown in the nineties, you know, at like 15 years old. Wow. Um, yeah, I mean, it was, it was pretty good stuff that said back then, there was no pitch counts. There was nothing. So my arm was pretty much destroyed by the age of 14, 15, um, and, and moved into playing as, as a catcher. And I got to catch a couple of great, you know, pitchers that, you know, got drafted and forth.
Jason Perez (14:51):
Then, you know, baseball was really my life. There was, there was baseball, there was swimming. I played volleyball through junior high, things like that. But the reality is, you know, it was all about family. I loved just hanging out with family. I think it started at a young age, we’d go down and drive to, to the Los Angeles area. And it was a Keaton Yetta, or it was a barbecue. It was, you know, whatever it was hanging out. And with 13 siblings with my grandma, you can imagine there’s a, there’s a baptism wedding funeral or free weekend. Right, right. That’s right. Never free weekend. So we, we, we turned up a lot of cars, the high miles, but, you know, I think that that got me into maybe what you were talking about, the big one. And I, I danced at a ton. You know, my grandma really was the first one to bring me into that, that environment of salsa music and going on, you know, sown and all this Cuban flavor.
Jason Perez (15:51):
And man, I mean, we had, I would say that was probably one of my biggest hobbies aye. And ate and ate. And I loved it every everywhere we went, you know, my grandma cooked, both grandparents cooked. And so, yeah, I started dancing pretty, pretty early in my age. And I remember going to Kingston Yetta once and seeing this one guy dancing and go, man, I want to dance like that guy. Right. Like the dance with my grandma, which is fun and very traditional. So that passion kind of just evolved to next thing. You know, my little brother and I, who was five years younger, started on dance company and then started choreographing and then started teaching. And I went to the local studio and I was paying 18 bucks for the studio, but charging $10 a head to give salsa lessons. And I’m, you know, 16, 17 years old making 300 bucks for one hour of work.
Jason Perez (16:43):
Right. And so you start realizing, then you start making a name for yourself and the Cuban community. And yeah. I don’t know how, how many people out there know what that’s like, but Gates and yet it’s get expensive, you know? And, and the Cuban community is not Cy of spending money on things like that. So we only turned 15 once. Right. That’s right. You know, I mean, there’s two things 15 and getting married. So, uh, I ended up choreographing a lot of cases. Yeah. It is in some of them, I mean, I’d get paid 10 yeah. Thousand dollars it’s choreograph dances for, for 15th birthday, you know, and some of them are amazing. Some of them are at the biggest halls at Disneyland, you know, and there’s people that get dropped off and helicopters and people that come in on wild animals and you’re like, this is, this is nuts.
Jason Perez (17:33):
But, um, but it was a lot of fun. And so actually, you know, when I graduated college, I graduated debt free. You know, I paid for all my schooling, no help. And I worked all the way through, uh, I tripled majored in international developmental economics and political science, international relations and graduated high honors and did that, you know, all while dancing my way through college. Wow. Where did you go to school? Cal state. Bakersfield. Oh yeah, of course. Yeah. So I went from arid and in the middle of nowhere to arid in the middle of nowhere
Greg White (18:11):
To more arid and more in the middle of night. But at least you felt at home there, I’m sure
Jason Perez (18:18):
That’s that’s right. It actually turned out to be a great school academically there, the professors there were so accessible. You, you really got to spend time with them. I know it sound like a nerd probably right now, talking about hanging out with my professors and not partying, but that’s
Greg White (18:32):
Partying was your job. So you had to have some time off. Right.
Jason Perez (18:35):
That’s that’s the truth. No, seriously, that that’s true. You know, I mean, you’d go out and, and on the weekends go to these events so that you can hand out a couple of cards that people wanted to get taught by you. So you literally you’re partying as your job. Right. So, so it was nice.
Greg White (18:54):
I did not know that you had a political science degree and it’s amazing how many people in supply chain or, you know, in tech do, I mean, do you feel like that a liberal arts discipline, do you feel like that was a good compliment to what you’re doing or, or foundation to what you’re doing today?
Jason Perez (19:12):
A hundred percent. And it’s so funny. Cause I even bring it up when we’re pitching and talking to either investors or even customers all, sometimes it’s appropriate. Sometimes it’s not. So I won’t bring it up. But you know, I talked about my behavioral science background and I think the behavioral sciences are really important when it comes to driving new products in markets or even, or even innovating within existing markets and going, you know what? I’ve got to look at the psychology of why people do things. And I have to look at the behavior of what they’re doing because a lot of people they’ll fall into their own hype. They’ll go, this is the way to do it. This is so exciting. I know a better way. Right. And, and they get so involved with them, them, them, and what they think is bad, but the best indicators of traction and how things are going to go and what the future looks like is by looking at the present, look at how people do things, right. And make it easier for them to do what they do. You don’t have to change what they do, make it easier for them to do what they do.
Greg White (20:20):
That’s a really good perspective. More people in more tech companies would be more successful if they took, if they took that perspective, that’s a really incredible insight. All right. So let’s shift gears a little bit. Tell me I happen to know that you are somewhat of a sports fan just a little bit. Yeah. So tell our community a little bit about your favorite fandom, your favorite sport or sports.
Jason Perez (20:45):
Well, I mean, my favorite sport is always going to be baseball. I think there just takes a certain cue and patience and discipline in baseball. And I know a lot of people, you know, look at it and they go, man, that’s boring. Kind of like, you know, you watch golf on TV and some people will say it’s boring. Um, but when you’re, you know, you’re sitting behind the plate and your catcher, you’re really involved in every single pitch and you’re making very strategic decisions. It’s kind of like a startup, you know, you’re literally changing your role throughout an entire play. Right. And you have to be very decisive and the decision you make can affect multiple things on the field. Right. So you’re juggling a lot. And you’re, you’re, I don’t want to say controlling, but maybe navigating, uh, the field very quickly that said, I like soccer. I think you, I think, you know, that
Speaker 4 (21:43):
Being a small attending United fan, right? Yeah. I’ve got, I’ve got tickets.
Jason Perez (21:48):
It’s uh, I was first end before the team was even set and every, anybody even knew anything about the team, I bought my tickets. And so we got a great deal on the field there, or I should say front row. So all we got is concrete in front of us and, and then grass or, or fake grass turf. So, and I’ve, I’ve been such a fan of what and how this, the city has adopted soccer and how it’s come together and what it’s become for this city. It’s so exciting because there’s a couple of things I love about soccer. One, I love the time investment and it might sound funny, but it’s like, Hey, we’re going to get this done. And we have this much time to get it done. So just get it done. We’ve got 90 minutes and you better work your tail off to make those 90 minutes count, you know?
Jason Perez (22:39):
And, and you’ve been to our advisory boards and you understand how we deal with, with our business. We take them in 90 day sprints, really. We go, we got 90 days and we got to make this happen in the time that we have. And if you don’t get it done, well, you can lose the game or at least lose the quarter. So you gotta be looking when I love that, that there’s just this, this finite amount of time that they go, you better get it done now or not. And that’s even coming from a baseball guy, right. That says,
Speaker 4 (23:10):
Time-wise right. Not over till it’s over and right.
Jason Perez (23:14):
You know, that’s a whole different, that’s all different stories. So I think, I think having just this total, total polar opposite view of it really kind of excited me, right. I, I love new things. The other thing is I’m mean it helps to have a great team and it helps to have great fans, you know, and, and going to a game and seeing everybody jump up and down and you know, I’ve been by your side, Greg jumping up and down. I mean, you look like a 10 year old when you get, when you get out there, like you got all the energy in the world. And, and I think, you know, you’re at least jumping six or 10 inches higher than I am. So, you know,
Greg White (23:47):
That’s the thing I’m starting about six inches higher than you are.
Jason Perez (23:54):
You got the good blood, you know, I didn’t get the, that, that height and, and build blood, you know, I’m on the run to the loo.
Greg White (24:02):
Well, you got the stocky powerful drive. I got the long reach. Right. There you go. So as a boxer, I might hit you more times, but it would only take one from you put me on the, on the canvas,
Jason Perez (24:17):
Maybe in my heyday. Now, now I’m an old man with two kids, Greg.
Greg White (24:21):
Well, let’s talk about that old man with two kids. Let’s talk a little bit about that. So you and I have had some opportunities to talk about your kids and about your family, and I’ve admired some of the stories that I’ve heard about how intentionally you and your wife, parents. So give us some insights on your philosophy and application to building healthy kids.
Jason Perez (24:45):
Yeah. It’s, it’s the most important job I have. And I think that’s where it starts. I think you and your wife have to agree that that is the most important jobs that you have in this world. And, you know, we’re really blessed. We, we, we kind of got to plan through it. You know, we decided to wait and we had children a little bit later than other people. I think, you know, we might not have been as fortunate to be as intentful if we had them earlier. Um, that said the first and foremost is we recognize that that’s the most foreign job that we can have. And, and then we decided, you know, what, whatever habits we’re going to create, we’re going to create them early. So I’m not going to wait for my child to be born, to start reading to him. I started reading to my child while he was still in the womb, you know, I’d read to the belly and, and he would hear my voice. Right. As you did that, we also listen, we had to get the earphone to put salsa music on her belly so that, you know, he was raised. Right. You know, you had a dancey coming out,
Greg White (25:45):
Born with rhythm. Yeah,
Jason Perez (25:47):
That’s right. So what’s funny is, um, even then I remember when, when he was maybe about three months old, there was a couple of times where he, uh, and we even had, my wife has Facebook. And so she even has a video on Facebook. He was like three months old and he wouldn’t settle down. And my wife just put some Cuban music on. She puts in some sailor cruise and he instantly just calmed down from being all in a fit. And you would think we put this high energy music and instead he just calmed down. So we started, you know, reading to them. We started, you know, putting them on schedules very early so that they understood what, what it was to be in a predictable environment. And, you know, it’s not that life’s going to be predictable, but at that age, man, it helps so much, you know, praying at night with him every night.
Jason Perez (26:35):
Same what we’re thankful for. Even if you don’t pray, it’s, Hey, let’s talk about the three things that you’re thankful for today. And, uh, and they take that to heart and they start to understand it and they start to grasp it. And we’ve always talked to them as adults. Not that we try to have logical conversations with them all the time. Cause that’s not, you know, they’re kids not possible, right. Not possible, but we speak to them very clearly and we’re not afraid to use big words. And when they don’t understand it, they ask questions. Um, I will say it’s easier with the first and the second, you know, people, people talk about that second child and you know, they feed off the energy of the first child, right? The first child, all he has is adults to hang out with. The second child comes in hot and he’s like, Hey, this looks fun, guys, riding around. And having, having toys, like that’s going to be my life.
Greg White (27:24):
Well, then they leap to that level or somewhere from where they should be to where they are that right. That older child is it’s, it’s inevitable. Yeah. Jokingly, a friend of mine. And I had, uh, our we’re having our, we weren’t doing anything. Our wives were having our second at about the same time. And they were born at almost exactly the same time and the other Greg, he, he said, you know, I have to tell you objective. If I look at this, if my second had been my first, there wouldn’t have been a second. I’ve, I’ve always, you know, I’ve always remembered that. And I thought, you know, there’s probably a lot of truth in that, but the reason that the second is so advanced and so challenging is because the first helps them leap to that next level or even beyond the next level that they ought to be at. Right. A hundred percent spot on. You know, it’s a really interesting dynamic. There is something to that. I can’t tell you what it is, but there is something to that birth order thing, undoubtedly
Jason Perez (28:31):
That’s right. And I, and I’m a middle child. So that gives you even a different perspective of what that is. Right. You got, you got the first born and then you’ve got the baby and then you’ve got the guy in the middle. Right. Um, that that’s going a, I’m going to, I’m going to make my own statement. And so, you know,
Greg White (28:49):
And also navigating between the other two, right. Oh, goodness.
Jason Perez (28:53):
Yeah. There’s no doubt about that. Yeah. It’s, it’s an interesting dynamic, you know, the great thing is we all, all three brothers, you know, love each other. We were all on speaking terms, you know, w we call each other and, and stay in communication. I wouldn’t say often, as often as all of us would want, but you know, we have good relationships and I, again, I think it comes back to my parents and it comes back to my grandparents and the way that they instilled the importance of family and that, you know, at the end of the day, you know, your blood, you’ve got to stick together and, and be there for each other. Maybe, maybe not just for frivolous things, but when it really counts, you know, we need to be there for each other.
Greg White (29:36):
Yeah. Yeah. Agreed that, that, I mean, that’s really important. I, I don’t, I mean, I can’t speak to other families, but I know that was always very important in ours as well. All right. So let’s, let’s leap forward just a little bit into your journey, and I’m always curious about these pivotal moments or epiphanal moments or influences. So give us some idea how you feel your journey through life at any point as a child in college, early workdays, you know, school, whatever, can you pinpoint a single or a few impactful experiences that you feel like influenced you to be who you are today?
Jason Perez (30:17):
Yes, I can. I can, I’ll go through several of them hopefully quickly. So I don’t bore people. I think, you know, I think it starts, uh, it starts early on with my grandfather calling me mr. President, you know, at like six years old. And, um, you know, some other people kind of always referring to me and these estate type, you know, names and, and, and language and, you know, having certain expectations. And I think those big expectations on me were good and bad. In some cases they were good because they made me want to achieve and feel like I could achieve anything. They were bad because at the same time, I was always measuring myself to this infinite line that you can’t necessarily reach. Right. How do you continue to get bigger and better and better and bigger and work to something that you go, well, heck am I supposed to be president one day? Am I supposed to be King of the universe? Right? What am I, what am I supposed to be? Right. How do I
Greg White (31:17):
A heavy burden, right. To think that that could really be, may be expected of you.
Jason Perez (31:21):
That’s right. And so you start getting these, you know, golden child type expectations. And I think, you know, the next I’ll leap really far forward. And when we got, you know, from six to maybe high school and even junior high, you’d have to play baseball. And I made all star teams, my dad used to say, Hey, I don’t volunteer for anything. Your mom doesn’t volunteer for anything. So when you make that team, it’s cause you play well, it’s not because we politicked your way in, you know? So you earn that spot now, whether you play or not, but that’s, you know, that’s something you’re going to have to earn too. But at the end of the day, understand that you’re going to earn everything that you have to get into this world. So now fast forward to last year of college or between junior year and senior year, this is probably the most pivotal thing that happened in my whole entire life.
Jason Perez (32:10):
Ever since I was young, there were two things I wanted to do in my life. I want to play baseball professionally, which my arm blew out at 15 and they weren’t big on the surgery stuff back then. Right? They are today. I mean, it’s amazing how many kids get surgery now. Uh, and then the, the other thing was go to the Marines. You know, I wanted, I wanted to be a Marine period, played as a Marine as I was a child and all the way it wasn’t that I played as a soldier or sailor or an air man, I played as Marine as a child. And so she must’ve met her bad ass child.
Jason Perez (32:45):
Marie, I can tell you that my, um, we used to do some stupid stuff. Cause my, my older brother, you know, would always challenge the fact that I wanted to be a Marine and we’d watch these crazy movies and shows. And so we, we had like a bowling ball that we would drop on my stomach to make sure that it was strong enough and a way to count how many pull ups I can do. And we’d set up these obstacles. And I think crazy stuff hit me with a stick. You know, like I was, I was a weird, you know, like I just wanted to fulfill one thing. You’ll learn about me, Greg, which he already knows when it comes to it. I want to be the best at everything I do. I want to be the best father. I want to be the best entrepreneur.
Jason Perez (33:26):
And at that time I wanted to be the best Marine. And so even at 13, I wanted to be the best Marine and I got to my junior year, you know, I realized that, you know, obviously I wasn’t going to play baseball. So, um, I put in for OCS, which you go through platoon leadership, of course, which means to do half of your OCS, your junior year, you know, off break. And then you do the rest. You graduate in high school, uh, in college, in college. Okay. Got it, got it. So, um, I put it in and I go to maps and, you know, maps, maps is the medic medical evaluation, essentially that you go through. Got it. And it filled out my forms, all the type of stuff. And I have a going away party and I have like 150 people there the month before I’m supposed to leave dove CS.
Jason Perez (34:16):
And I get a week before I’m supposed to leave. And the guy calls me and goes, Hey, your applications that have the medical review board. I’m like, okay, well, why? And he’s like, well, cause the allergies to food and, uh, and motion sickness. And I said, well, I’ve never been treated for either. It just had a question on there. Have you ever, do you have any allergies? Right. And have you ever experienced motion sickness? I said, well ever, yes, I have an allergies. Yeah. I have allergies, lentil beans, right. And peace. And he goes, yeah, well they have to review that. And I was like, okay. So I’m just kind of hanging out and I get a call like three days later, mind you bags are packed next to the door. I’m supposed to leave, have my dream out. Right. And right. You can’t wait for them to call you a maggot.
Jason Perez (35:04):
Right. That’s right. I was pumped, you know, I, I missed the perfect PFT, which is physical fitness tests. Right. I missed it by just two points. Cause I couldn’t run my 18 minute, three miles. I ran an 18 minute and 13 seconds or something for three miles, but a max set, everything else. I mean, I was, I was squared away and um, and they called me and they said, no, you’re not going. And it was a huge blow. I tried to appeal that didn’t go through. So I just kind of took a massive shot. And in life I finished school and I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. I went out to Washington, D C met with some people in the state department. Some people in the alphabet crew as they call it BI CIA. I had some in, at the highest level of NASA security over there through some of my contacts and I spent two weeks out there and I realized, I didn’t like DC much. It just didn’t feel the same. Right. So my dad said, guess what? You got to make it money son you’re in the construction business. Right.
Jason Perez (36:11):
But it was, it was, uh, it was difficult. I’ll say I bounced around for about three years, three years going from 23 to about, uh, or 22 to about 25. I bounced around going, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life. I don’t know what I’m doing. I was working construction and I was doing great. You know, again, I want to be the best at whatever. If you put me sweep and floors, I’m going to be the best floor sweeper. There is, it doesn’t matter. Right. I’m going to be the best or at least I’m gonna focus my efforts to be the best. So yeah, my dad got me in, I feel fulfilled by that. I’m guessing or no, no, it was, it was, it was a rough go for, for three years. And I actually tried to get into the tech industry back then.
Jason Perez (36:54):
So what year would that have been? Jason five is when, when I was kind of at the end of my wits and construction, I just decided I was going to try to get into a debt, a tech company. Then I started kind of doing customer discovery in theory. I didn’t know what customer discovery was back then. Um, but my business partner was an artist, as we might say, it was in the, in the dance industry, uh, had a successful choreography and all that stuff. But you know, what I realized very quickly is, you know, you’ve got talent and you’ve got maybe a business guy, you know, you can’t win. Can’t win when there’s ego. So that relationship lasted about three months. And as I sat there, I said, you know what, God, whatever, whatever your plan is from an IFE, I’m just gonna move with it.
Jason Perez (37:42):
And so I went all in on construction. I said, I’m just doing it. I’m going all in. And within two years I went from running the largest construction project for this international engineering construction firm to holding a position at 27 years old, to run the Southeast for, uh, the company, you know? And, um, I’m 27 running meetings with guys that have been in the industry for 30 years running their divisions. And I learned a tremendous amount. I think that the day I decided I’m all in is when things just started really coming together in the construction industry. And so I did that for awhile and I got an offer from my mentor advisor, Dan Hughes. He said, Hey, why don’t you come run the East for me? I said, okay, that’d be great. Well, I had ran companies that essentially had a big name and I was a manager or a director.
Jason Perez (38:37):
What I had never done was start. Right. He’s like, we’re going to start. And then like when I started the Southeast for that big engineering firm, it was really just an expansion of having an office there. They had a bunch of projects going on. They needed somebody to really start to build the team under all these projects that were going through Dan called. He said, I need you to create business in the East. And I was like, okay. Yeah, I can do that. I man, I already did this. No big deal. Right? I mean, I’m doing this already for a big company. No big deal. Yeah. It’s a big deal for everybody out there that thanks as they sit in a director’s position that it’s going to be like, Hey, I did this for this big company. I can go sell for someone. That’s not it’s, it’s a big deal. And so
Greg White (39:25):
It’s impossible to overstate right? Of the backstop of a big company of the baseline foundation, the momentum, the credibility of a big company. It is impossible to overstate that because you go from having all of that, which you don’t appreciate. Of course you may not even recognize to nothing. You are. No one, one of the things I learned, Jason and I, I reflect on this frequently. And whenever I talk to a company like yours or anyone, I recall this, I was lowly lowly lowly printing salesman. And I walked into a fellow’s office and he had a big sign on his desk. And it said, I don’t know you, and I’ve never heard of your company now, what is it you wanted to sell me? And that’s what going from that corporate shield, that corporate foundation to a startup is it is nobody knows who you are. They’ve never heard of your company. You have zero credibility. And you’re trying to convince them that you are the best thing since sliced bread,
Jason Perez (40:38):
A a hundred percent. It is. And like you said, it’s impossible to bring that relevance and perspective to anybody that hasn’t had to do it. And, and, you know, I was very fortunate that he took a risk on me. And, you know, I wouldn’t say that we succeeded, but we also didn’t fail. And he paired me with a guy Harry Morehouse that had been a sales guy for 45 years. Maybe. I mean, the guy was a beast. He’s the guy that parks in the loading dock where you’re not supposed to park and walk in and hand in the card and tell the guy, Hey, this is who I am. And you know, and then you walks out and you’re like, well, that was quick. And the guy has about a page of notes of the horse that he saw in the photo and the type of fish that was on, you know, in, in the other photo that, you know, and he, he now can tell you the story of the, the, the guy’s entire life, just by walking in, looking at some photos, looking at some things, and then of course learning the gate gatekeeper’s name, right?
Jason Perez (41:39):
Like, yeah. And he was a beast. And, and I took, I was so lucky to spend the time that I did with him and learned so much about the things that people just take for granted. And, and so now in a year of doing that really prep me for starting my own company. So we did that for about a year and a half, and we did create revenue. We were in, I think, uh, seven different, uh, healthcare facilities on the East coast by the end of the year and a half. But we just weren’t at that, that profit threshold that we really needed to be, we saw that it was going to be a grind and as we grew is gonna, you know, so we decided, um, maybe it was time to kind of move on. And so at that point, Dan kind of looked at me and said, Hey, I’ll be your first company.
Jason Perez (42:28):
You’re really good at ops. You know, you’ve put together some great documentation things. Why don’t you consult and provide some of these project management skills back to our company and run some ops and project executive type stuff. And I said, cool, did that. And about a month later, somebody else found out that I was on my own and he called and he’s like, Hey, I need somebody to take care of this. And, and it just started just moving one after another, after another and two years in, we won our first a $1.5 million contract that kind of is what set us to trajectory to keep on growing and keep on, you know, moving all over the place and doing work in places like Saudi Arabia and one ton of obey Cuba and you know, all over the us.
Greg White (43:12):
And this was consulting for construction
Jason Perez (43:15):
That’s right, right. Yeah. It was, it was weary the hired by construction companies that were hired by owners like Blackstone, Verizon wireless companies. Yeah. Yeah. We didn’t like
Greg White (43:27):
Companies like private equity and that’s right. Major, major, uh, data carriers. Yeah.
Jason Perez (43:34):
You know, the thing that we loved was high risk projects that we would, that’s what we told people. We said, look, if it’s a project one, it has to be a facility that runs 24 seven. Right. It has to be something that can never shut down ever. It has to run. And if anything is out of tolerance, whether it’s environmental, such as pressurization, temperature, humidity, filtration, whatever it is, or whether it’s getting clean power to whatever your, whatever data center you’re powering, or maybe it’s an Orr that you’re powering whatever it might be. And it has to run and it can’t, it cannot be down. Then we’re the ones you want to hire. And so we stuck in that niche and it was super, you know, people would say it was super high risk, but if you know what you’re doing and you surround yourself again with great people, then you know, you’re going to be successful at it.
Jason Perez (44:21):
And so we were lucky to make a really strong name and we’re lucky to keep a lot of patients, uh, healthy and safe during construction. Um, we’re able to keep people’s bank accounts open right during construction. And, uh, and I think that’s the piece, you know, there’s a human piece of it. Uh, when you walk into a hospital and they’re remediating mold next to it, uh, NICU where people have premature babies that were, that were born, right? You take it to heart. When you show up that day, your team takes it to heart and you build a culture that’s beyond just making money. You know, our goal is to keep people alive and keep them healthy and to give them the best experience to heal as a family. And so, you know, I think the reason I bring that up is it’s, it’s the culture that continues even into yards. You know, our goal is not to create a product and just scale it and disrupt the market. Our goal is to make people’s lives easier.
Greg White (45:22):
Let’s talk about that a little bit. I want to take you back just a little bit. Do you recognize any propensities or attributes that you have as a person that externally or objectively, somebody might consider a dysfunction that you leverage to make yourself successful?
Jason Perez (45:42):
Greg White (45:44):
You want me to give you an example? So I’ve had people say, yeah, I’m a workaholic. You know, whatever, I’m a perfectionist or I’m sloppy, or one of them actually said, I’m lazy, which is what made them a great sales person. I can totally see. Right. Because like your buddy, right. They might think that’s lazy. That’s incredibly insightful what that guy did, but it’s not what worked for him. Right. It’s something he does to cut corners, to get to the deal more quickly in his opinion. Right. So things like that are kind of what I’m after.
Jason Perez (46:18):
Boy. So I think there’s two things and they’re not going to even sound like they’re in the same realm they met, they might sound contradictory, but one is, I’m really intentful with relationships and I’m really intentful with people. And I think that where some people would go, gosh, why’d you spend two hours with them.
Greg White (46:43):
They’re going to do after this interview, by the way I, you spend two hours with that guy.
Jason Perez (46:49):
No, I’m saying the other way. They’re probably going to tell you that. Um, but you know, I, I love talking. I love talking to people. I love hearing their stories. I love digging into them and I genuinely and sincerely want to get to know them. And as an entrepreneur, you only, you’re limited in your time. You you’re limiting your time as an entrepreneur, you’re limited in time to be a father and to be a husband and to be a son and, you know, and to be a friend and all these things. But, you know, I find when there’s the connection with people, I end up spending that time and I know it might seem like, well, you know, that I’m not being, I’m not digging to the worst trait possible, but you know, there are other ones, um, that I’ll bring up as well. But I think, you know, that is also why we landed Brasfield and Gorrie.
Jason Perez (47:43):
You know, I sat down and I just listened. And I said, what, what is it that you guys are trying to accomplish? Like what, when you wake up in the morning, what does it do you go, man, I hate doing this. Like, that’s what I want to hear. What is it that you hate doing? What, what, and then when you don’t get it done, you know, how does that feel? How does it, and I, I, I really want to hear about the personal side of it. Cause I think, you know, if you can disrupt those emotions, if you can create something that disrupts those emotions, that takes those things and put them away so that they don’t have to feel them again. And they feel heard they’re gonna work with you to, you know, we have just phenomenal customers that, that have really, they’re the ones that have created our company, not us, they’re the ones, their words drove it, their ideas drove it.
Jason Perez (48:36):
And it was just us listening to them that allowed it to happen. And the cool thing is when you listen to them and you’re honest in them, and you’re genuine with them and you say, look, I’m going to try to make this happen. And I’m going to put this in place, but I just want your honest feedback if we do it well, tell us if we don’t do it well, tell us, but work with us. And they start to look and they go, well, wow, this, this guy is different. This company operates differently than, and, and look, we’ve had customers where in the first two weeks we screwed up, like, you know, we’ve done things like accidentally charged them twice in the first two weeks. And they’re like, Whoa, Hey, why’d you charge your Tyson? I’m like, Oh man, you know, I screwed up. We screwed up, by the way, I’m going to give you another month for free. And you know, let’s work through this. And so it’s how you respond. But if you build that genuine relationship from the start, they’re going to journey with you. You know? So, you know, I do, I spend way too much time with people when I should be probably working. Um,
Greg White (49:41):
You’re the first person that has turned that question completely on its head, but I totally get where you’re going. You invest very deeply in people. You invest very deeply with where you are as I can, as I can acknowledge from the number of times you, and I’ve meant to have a one hour meeting that turned into four hours. And every, every moment of it enjoyable and productive. And we, I think we both walked away, not just better for the situation or the, the discussion we were trying to have, but better as people because of it. So you’re right. It’s not, I wouldn’t call that a dysfunction, but it is, it might be perceived by some people as unproductive, right? To invest that much time into, into an, a single interaction. But you know what I think if that’s your modus operandi, if that’s your method, if, if that’s the real true, you, then you have to make that work for you.
Greg White (50:38):
And that’s the point of that question. You don’t have to be somebody else. You don’t have to be what somebody else’s perception of productive or perception of normal or perception of X even exceptional or whatever it is. You have to leverage the person that you are to its most noble conclusion. That, and that’s what I’m trying to elicit. And you did it in a totally different way. You really kind of crossed me up there, but, um, I love that. That’s exactly what you do. Okay. All right. So you shared some, you shared some, and then I want to get back to yards and kind of how you got there, but you shared some poignant moments for you. There did any of those ever feel so crushing or so overwhelming that you were tempted to abandon your goals or, and if they did, how did you handle or overcome that?
Greg White (51:36):
What a great start to this story of Jason Perez tune in next week to learn what almost crushed him, but clearly didn’t and learn how he overcame it and what else you can take away from his story. All right. That is all you need to know about supply chain tech for this week. Don’t forget to get to supply chain now.com for more supply chain now, series interviews and events. And now we have two live streams per week. The most popular live show in supply chain. Supply chain buzz is every single Monday at noon, Eastern time with Scott Luton and me, or maybe even somebody else. Plus our Thursday live stream to be named later where we will bring you whatever the hell we want. Hey, thanks for spending your valuable time with me and remember acknowledge reality, but never be bound by it.
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Jason Perez, entrepreneur, advisor, and Cofounder of YARDZ, comes from a pedigree of construction and entrepreneurship. YARDZ is third company after 2 other successful ventures. He has sat on several boards and has been a trusted advisor for a widespread of companies. As CEO of YARDZ, he brings a high business aptitude mixed with a passion driven culture. Learn more about YARDZ here: https://yardz.com/
Greg White serves as Principal & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com
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