The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Breaking barriers in business

PIONEER: Perpall is the first African American USGA president.

The first CEO of Beck without the family name.The first African American United States Golf Association president.

A pioneering leader.

Board of directors at Fedex, Starwood Property Trust, Dallas Medical Resource and Triumph Bancorp. Distinguished member of the Dallas citizens council.

An involved leader. 

A man of strong faith. A father and a husband. 

A loyal leader. 

Fred Perpall has made his mark as a leader. But, his leadership development didn’t begin at the helm of a billion dollar company or as the face of the United States Golf Association.  

“I worked in the kitchen of a cafeteria,” Perpall said. “By serving and looking after tourists, it becomes pretty ingrained that you have to be attentive to the needs of others.”

With his serve-first mindset, Perpall jumped into the world of architecture, joining the construction company Beck. Holding on to his childhood lessons, Perpall was able to work himself through the ranks and establish himself as a leader. While his perseverance and discipline took him far, his biggest break came from the guidance from a special mentor. 

“Peter Beck helped me see a life for myself that I couldn’t,” Perpall said. “After 14 years of competing hard, working hard, doing it with a high standard and a high level of integrity and being open to being mentored; I was appointed in my late 30s as CEO of Beck.”

As the CEO, Perpall has worked on and developed numerous projects. One relationship he holds close is with the school. Beck and Perpall have built numerous buildings on campus including the Winn Science Center, Centennial Hall and the upcoming athletic complex. 

“Because we have worked with St. Marks for so long, we feel very close,” Perpall said.  “Our chairman spent time there, and everyone at Beck highly values this relationship. Many of our team members reside in close proximity to the school, further solidifying our bond over the years of collaboration.” 

In his time as the CEO, Perpall continued to develop his leadership. Throughout the ups and downs, Perpall has discovered the key ingredient for success: Compassion.

“I think leadership is always about other people,” Perpall said. “My leadership style is about concern, carrying passion for other people’s outcome. If I help them get where they want to go, in return I always find that I end up going where I want to go.”

But, Perpall didn’t always go where he wanted to go, sometimes he went where he needed to go. For him, the next destination was a place where he noticed a lack of diversity: The United States Golf Association. Perpall decided to be the change. 

“The USGA journey was indeed a lengthy and challenging one,” Perpall said.  “It involves significant investment in the game, dedicated service as a board member and undertaking demanding committee assignments.”  

While Perpall was fully committed to the USGA and continuously put his best foot forward, the ultimate decision lay in the hands of his peers. 

“I believe they placed their trust in me due to my unwavering passion for the game, extensive efforts to grow its reach and finally my commitment to helping others thrive in the game,” Perpall said. 

Through his role as president of the USGA, Perpall aims to not only motivate participants within the golf community but also to reach out and inspire individuals who may not feel a strong connection to the sport.

“As the first Black president of the USGA, I hope that when young kids that look like me study the game of golf, they see someone who looks like their dad or their uncle,” Perpall said. “I want them to see themselves in a game that is so important in the United States.” 

Perpall continues to be a pioneer in the game of golf, tackling not just racial issues, but another vital aspect of inclusion as well.

“It’s pricey,” Perpall said. “I believe the cost of golf keeps a lot of regular Americans out of it. I would like all kids to have the opportunity to interact with golf regardless of their economic situation. Just because we come from different places doesn’t mean we cannot thrive and excel together.”

While the effort and time required to excel in the role of president may appear daunting at first glance, for Perpall, it is anything but that. 

“My dedication to golf stems from a genuine love for the sport, making the hard work feel natural and easy,” Perpall said. 

As Perpall has continued to achieve remarkable success and make a national impact, the mindset he had back in that kitchen cafeteria has never left. 

“Greatness really is your capacity to serve,” Perpall said. “If you can keep a good disposition, be grateful for the good fortune you vied and give some of that back to other people through service, then you’re going to have a great life.”

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About the Contributor
Lawrence Gardner, Sports Editor