Perez grew up in Columbia, South America, completing his MBA at Central University and before that earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University Cooperative of Colombia. After several years working in Columbia’s business world he became a police officer and spent 11 years in intelligence and special operations. Or as the normally loquacious Perez says, “I really can’t talk about it.”
He moved his family (he and his wife have three children) to the States in 1999 and virtually rebuilt his career from scratch.
“I was like every other immigrant who came over here, trying to survive, trying to look for better opportunities,” Perez said. “It’s not easy getting a job when you come from another country. You have to go through a process, learn as much as you can and figure out what you’re good at.”
He spent most of the 2000s in building and construction before switching over to maintenance. For six years he was director of facilities and maintenance at the United Methodist Children’s Home, responsible for 33 buildings, a number of them, like several Decatur schools, built in the early 20th century.
His job was eliminated after the 2017 sale of the UMCH property to the city of Decatur, but Maloof hired him almost immediately. With his promotion last month Perez is now overseeing 12 buildings, two administrative and 10 schools.
“It’s always a cycle,” he said. “There’s always something new to buy, or something that has to be replaced, or an inspection that needs to be done. We have 2400 air conditioning units to take care of. Right now we’re changing every light in the schools from fluorescent to LED.
“It never ends,” he added, “and I really enjoy every minute.”