Jean-Luc Perrois celebrates his birthday today and I wanted to get a little of his remarkable story on the record. Perrois, my French brother in law, is a successful husband, father and businessman who lives in a beautiful chalet, high in the Alps overlooking Geneva, Switzerland. The house is actually on the French side of the border but from its vantage point one can see Mount Blanc on one side and Lake Geneva with its Jet d’Eau on the other. At night the sight of Geneva, lit up along the black lake, snaking its way through the Swiss mountains, is truly spectacular. The Perrois also have apartments in Romania, where they visit the family of Jean-Luc’s wife, Delia.
As a youth, not many would have predicted such success for Jean-Luc. He opted out of high school, working as a carpenter’s apprentice, specializing in door frames, working with wood and then aluminum and glass which would end up being one of the small factors that would direct his later career. At some point, early in this process, Jean-Luc started classes with the Compagnons du Tour de France, an organization of craftsmen that dates back to the Middle Ages. Even this work didn’t last. The recession hit, Jean-Luc had no employment and so went back to school, this time finishing his high school education and getting a vocational degree in construction. It was here that his natural gift for mathematics and accounting came together and his work product caught the attention of professors and colleagues.
When the 1992 Olympics was announced for Albertville, France, Jean-Luc, and many others of his profession, were swept up into the process. Perrois’ quick calculations allowed builders to anticipate the costs of construction. He soon emerged as a top appraiser. Others bids came in low or high, Jean-Luc’s numbers, no matter how far off they seemed at the time, always turned out to be uncannily accurate. The proof was in the numbers.
In the post Olympic construction world of Geneva, Switzerland, Jean-Luc emerged as a nascent phenomenon in his profession. Architects brought him their dreams of glass, aluminum, steel and marble and Jean-Luc could spit back reliable numbers for what it would all cost. All around him men and women rose and fell in the corporate hierarchy. Companies opened and closed and merged. Boards of directors were elected and dismissed. Jean-Luc remained. He was too valuable. Art could be debated, style could change, but who could argue with the numbers?
In 1993, Jean-Luc married Delia Sechel, a Romanian artist whose tapestries, oils and crafts appear in books and exhibitions across Europe. They have one son, Luca Perrois. Jean-Luc is currently working as an Associate and as the director of constructions metalliques for Revaz SA.
In the end, Jean-Luc Perrois’ gift made a place for him. The artists could dream and create their visions on paper. They needed him to tell them what it would cost and how it could be done.