This article is part of our series Builders at Heart, where we highlight the passions and backgrounds of the Clark team – the things that shape us – that allow us to tackle challenges head-on, solve complex problems, and build what matters.
Meet Tony Perez, a purchasing analyst for Clark Construction Group.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in El Salvador and came to Maryland when I was nine. I’ve lived in this area almost all my life. I’m really big on Latino culture and proud of my background and being Latino. I’m fluent in Spanish, which is a big part of my life – along with being family oriented.
Describe your role at Clark and your core responsibilities.
My role is to be prepared to start the purchasing phase of the project. I help each project team with project setup, help them with vendor setup, help trade contractors get prequalified, and help project teams track small business participation in our bids. I also help project teams input their first budget and sometimes follow a project from budgeting through purchasing.
I’m a liaison between projects teams and internal departments, including risk, legal, and the contracts management group. At the start, there’s a lot of questions to be asked about the RFP or the solicitation. I help project teams reach out to the right person in each department and get answers.
Who has been the strongest influence in your life?
My dad, and he has paved the way for me and my brother. When he came to the United States, he had nothing but the dream to give us a better life, and he worked two jobs in order to support our family. To this day he is still teaching me things about life.
What brought you to Clark, and what has kept you here?
My dad worked as a mason for a Clark subcontractor, and he’d always speak highly of Clark. When I was little and we’d go into DC, we’d see the company’s big cranes. I knew if I ever had the chance to work for Clark, I’d take it. You want to work with the best, and Clark is the best.
The constant challenge has kept me here. Each project is different, each division treats things differently, and every day is different – and that’s the best thing in the world. Being in preconstruction, I touch so many different projects across the country, including the Mid-Atlantic, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Across all this work, I love being part of a team where everyone is passionate about what they do.
Why are you a builder?
I love being part of the team that gets to construct a hospital or renovate a museum and then knowing the positive impact, even in communities far away. We have national reach.
How has your background or interests outside of work shaped you into the builder you are today?
Having so many friends and family that are tradespeople influences the way I think about jobs. It shapes the way I carry myself when we go to a site, and these relationships especially impact my approach to safety. I have friends working for trade contractors on Clark projects in the Mid-Atlantic, and I know they are safe working on our jobs. Clark puts safety first.
What are you most proud of accomplishing, personally or professionally?
I’m most proud of being Latino and being at a company that’s so inclusive of my background. Clark helps propel me to be successful each and every day.
At work, I’m really proud to be the professional development chair of the Hispanic/Latin Organization for Leadership & Advancement (HOLA). This employee resource group is one of several supporting inclusion and diversity, and it’s a real blessing to work on events that help our Hispanic community at Clark. I’ve also seen how Clark leadership is really showing support for HOLA.
Describe a time you overcame a complicated obstacle or challenge.
The amount of projects we have is always a challenge and really requires you to manage your time and know your priorities. I work to be prepared for whatever comes. In the construction industry, no days are the same – and that’s why I love it.
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a career in construction?
Take the first step by looking at an internship and getting yourself out there. Get your feet wet and your hands dirty. There are so many pathways you can take within the construction world! It’s not just being a laborer.