Ross Perot Jr. appeared at EY's Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. (Photo courtesy of EY)

Business

Perot Urges Businesspeople to Blend New and Old Ideas

At EY's Strategic Growth Forum, Perot Group Chairman Ross Perot Jr. describes his companies' work with Uber, Facebook, Amazon.

Ross Perot Jr. says The Perot Group, which has financial, oil-and-gas, and real estate divisions, is doing basic but indispensable work for today’s most disruptive, cutting-edge companies.

“We built a $1 billion data center for Facebook. We’ve done a lot of work for Amazon globally, and we’re real estate partners with Uber,” the Dallas-based Perot Group chairman told a national business forum in Palm Springs Thursday. “We’re here to serve all these fabulous companies and technologies. We’re the ones who help bring them down to earth.”

Appearing on a panel discussion titled “Market Leaders Define What’s Next” at EY’s 2017 Strategic Growth Forum, the Dallas businessman disclosed that he was initially skeptical about Uber’s Elevate network, which is aiming to build “flying taxis” in cities including Dallas. “I’m a pilot, so I’m very skeptical,” Perot said. “But I’m open-minded, and I’ve been very impressed.”

As a result, Perot said his company is “well on the way to developing a platform” for Uber Elevate, which intends to open a “vertiport” at Frisco Station for its vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

Such disruptive ideas and new insights give him “complete optimism,” Perot added. “It keeps you young and fresh and very optimistic about the future. The world we’re going into is going to be incredible.”

Perot said his father, EDS founder H. Ross Perot, also was open to new ways of thinking. “He’d say, ‘Back in the old days, I would do this, but you make your own decision.’ He loved young people. He told me, ‘Hang out with young people and hear new ideas.'”

Ross Jr. cautioned, however, that some things will and should remain constant.

For example, he said that The Perot Group’s Hillwood arm is building a master-planned community on former farmland—”people want to get back to the earth, back to the basics”—and that the parent company’s new headquarters office “went backward,” with private offices rather than an open scheme, because that’s what the employees wanted.

“Don’t throw out the old, but look to the new,” Perot said. “Take old and new ideas and bring them together, because we’re still human beings.”

Others on the EY panel with Perot were DJ Paoni, president, North America Sales, SAP; Rajendra Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, Ford; and Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO, Current, powered by GE.

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