If you had known Steve Perez before he entered the accounting
program at UNF you might not have considered him a prime candidate for
a major national accounting firm. Perez was a professional pianist who
performed around Jacksonville and in Nashville. His long hair caught
the attention of faculty member Dr. Bettie Adams who recalls Steve was
an outstanding student who needed a haircut to improve his professional
appearance so future employers could see his full potential.
Perez followed Adams' advice. After graduating in 1983 he joined
KPMG in Jacksonville where he became an audit partner in 1993. In his
17 years with KPMG he specialized in working with a variety of
companies such as St. Joe, Landstar and Florida East Coast Railway. In
2000, Perez joined Nextran Corp. which operates 12 heavy–duty truck
centers located in three states, including Florida.
As Nextran's executive vice president and chief financial officer,
Perez is proud of the intense customer orientation of the company. The
company's motto—“In constant pursuit of perfection…One customer at a
time”—explains why this organization has prospered and captured an
increasing share of its market in recent years. Perez says Nextran has
created a caring business culture where they strive to balance the
needs of customers, employees, business partners and shareholders alike.
“I have always appreciated the drive for quality at UNF and the
Coggin College of Business. The faculty strives to encourage and
motivate students to perform at their highest possible level. They
clearly did that for me.”
After graduating, Steve maintained his involvement in UNF helping to
create the Accounting Advisory Council, an organization instrumental in
the college's road to accreditation. He recalls the importance that
former dean Dr. Earle Traynham placed on serving the business
community. It proved to be a two–way street. Traynham recalls how Perez
served as an outstanding role model for accounting students.
Perez still maintains his love of music. His other passion is his
family, which includes his wife, Cynthia, and their three children, one
of whom (Rachel) is attending UNF. The family is involved in various
equestrian activities, and they love to travel.
Perez has served the community as the past treasurer for United Way
and the Children's Home Society along with various other civic
“Several things have significantly influenced my life, including:
the Beatles, my wife, UNF, KPMG, and now Nextran. Thanks to UNF for the
great work it does for our community and the wonderful experience it
provided to me.”
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