Randy Perez walks into work every morning ready to serve the citizens of Mission.
Born, raised, and educated in the city, Perez is a true Missionite. Throughout his lifetime he worked diligently to make the transition from migrant student to Mission City Manager – a journey that did not happen overnight.
“I’m the youngest of seven in my family, and we grew up in a humble wood-frame home with no air conditioning,” Perez said. “Early in my life, I realized how important work and work ethics are.”
Perez grew up in a migrant family, travelling for months at a time to Lubbock to work on cotton fields. Starting at seven years old, Perez found the value in determination.
“I was ambitious on getting things done, I would get ahead of the work crew because I wanted to finish faster,” Perez recalled. “It really taught me a lot – the meaning of work and earning.”
His father was a crew leader, so Randy grew up in the fields. He worked in the Sharyland Plantation area as well, harvesting watermelon, cantelope, onion, parsley and carrots.
“My mom passed away when I was ten years old of cancer,” Perez said. “That taught me a lot about life, and I became very faithful in knowing that things would be okay going forward. It made me strong, made me a different person – the person who I am today.”
Perez said that having faith in God would allow him to continue with any goals and accomplishments he set for himself. An attendee of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (both in Mission), Perez cites his faith as motivating him to create a new life for himself and his family.
“I believe that having a faith base is very instrumental,” Perez said. “It started with having faith in God to be able to achieve what I have achieved.”
In high school, Perez began working at a local McDonald’s before graduating and attending the University of Texas Pan-American. Unable to afford college any other way, Randy worked part-time throughout the pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in accounting.
He began with the city of Mission in Nov. 2000 part-time in the finance department after a brief stint in the private sector. Through the years he served in several capacities in the department, advancing and learning in order to prepare for the next position.
“Every position I held, I wanted to work to promote to the next level,” Perez said, citing former Finance Director Steve Austin for hiring him and Janie Flores for supervising him. “It was very beneficial for me to be part of the department.”
In 2014 he pursued his master’s degree in public administration at UTPA, aiming to learn as much as he could so he could one day become city manager. He became a certified public manager through the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley not too long after that, and continues to be involved with UTRGV as an academic coach.
“I really focused on it [education],” Perez remembered, highlighting that he was thankful to make adjustments to achieve the next level of his education. “The decisions that we make make a big impact on our community.”
Going on his 18th year with the city, Perez has found plenty of opportunity for growth individually as well as throughout the residences in the area.
“When I started with the city of Mission, the public service (that’s part of the position) and being part of the community means we can impact how things can change,” Perez said. “I have always been part of the city and want to improve it, so I felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me.”
Perez focuses on the service of improving lives for Mission residents every day, and his top priority in the city is to ensure the safety of the citizens and community. He credits several people for his success, and said he is thankful to the mayor and city council for trusting him as city manager.
“I consider myself a public servant, and that’s something I take pride in – doing what’s best for our city and our community,” Perez said. “
His dedication to Mission is not limited to city work – Perez and his wife, Angie, have continued to contribute to the area with their three children. Angie is a speech language pathologist with the Mission Consolidated Independent School District, and Perez is active in several educational and fundraising boards for the district (including the Education Foundation of Mission CISD, VAMOS and the facilities committee for MCISD).
“Working hard at what you do will allow you to overcome any challenges that you may have. I’m all for education, and I want all our kids to have an education regardless of the challenges that they face,” Perez said. “We live and work and attend school here in Mission, Mission is our home and always will be, we love Mission.”
This article originally appeared in the Friday Sept. 6, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.