PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Family owned businesses are a big part of American entrepreneurship, but only one in three pass down to a second generation. However, one Philadelphia based construction company is breaking racial barriers and defying the odds as a third generation steps up.
Angelo Perryman is CEO of Perryman Building and Construction Services, a company his father Jimmy started in Alabama in the 1950’s.
Perryman explains his father started the business his father returned home to racism after the Korean War.
“He was able to take a rejection and turn it into a business,” he said.
Perryman says and after years at larger firms he began working for his dad and reestablished the company in right here in Philadelphia, completing 1,000 projects.
Nearly 30 years later, Perryman Construction is one of a few black owned firms able to compete for large-scale projects in the region.
“We have built upon our reputation as a company to say we have earned our way here, he said.
In 2015, the company generated more than $21 million in revenue and the business and its list of accolades are growing, like working on the Pennsylvania Convention Center expansion, LOVE Park, and the Gallery.
But Angelo isn’t the only Perryman breaking barriers as his daughter, Angelina Perryman, is the company’s vice president of administration.
She says she grew up in the business and worked her way up.
“I’ve tried to be quiet and listen and learn,” she said.
Now, he says he is grooming Angelina to become the third generation Perryman CEO.
“It’s about being prepared before you need to be prepared,” she said.
Angelina’s father says he’s confident in her intelligence and vision, but made sure he gave her some advice.
“Don’t take no crap,” he said laughing.
He says she’ll be ready to not just continue the family legacy but also build its future.