Meet authors Perk Perkins and Will Parish
After the trip, Perk veered from his leanings toward environmental law to work for The Orvis Company, his family’s business. His father had planted the idea that he could influence conservation as much as a business leader as he could through an environmental career. His first job was writing catalog copy, ads, and newsletters — a natural progression from his journal writing on the trip. Soon he took on export sales where he reconnected with some of the people he had met on the world trip, such as Masami Kanai in Japan. On the side, he became active in conservation, accepting board positions with Southern Vermont Conservation Council, Trout Unlimited, and later The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In 1980 he married Randall Rives of Washington, Connecticut. In that same year they moved to San Francisco where Will was studying for the bar exam, though the stated purpose of the move was to open Orvis’s first remote retail store. After 2 years, Perk and Randall moved to England where they opened Orvis UK, then back to Vermont for a year, then to Seattle for 2 years where Perk tried (unsuccessfully) to resurrect a failing mail order company Orvis had acquired (Early Winters). Following its demise, he was committed to Harvard’s Program for Management Development. Since 1993 he has led The Orvis Company as its CEO. Tim Belk, who ran the bulls of Pamplona with Perk in 1976, serves on the Orvis board.
Will has made known his availability as a male model to Orvis’s fashion photographers. By the time the trip ended, Will had become intrigued with how much people the world over revered the United States. Everyone seemed to think it was the land of their dreams. His curiosity led him to law school to study the U.S. legal system, in particular the Constitution. He filled out law school applications while driving across Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and India, and went where he was accepted: to the University of Detroit School of Law. Graduating with honors, he accepted a position with a national firm in San Francisco, where he learned about real estate financing partnerships. During his first two years, he began dreaming about using those skills to advance another idea that had percolated since he traveled through India: using waste material to generate energy. He and Perk visited a family that used fermenting cattle manure to produce all the methane needed by the entire farm. In 1983, encouraged by the oil embargo of 1978 and the favorable tax climate of the early 1980s, Will established an alternative-energy development company and for the next 12 years financed and developed alternative energy and environmental businesses worth over $100 million, including the world’s first commercial power plant fueled solely by cattle manure. In 1989, Entrepreneur magazine featured Will as one of 40 prominent entrepreneurs nationwide who were under 40 years of age.
When he turned 49, Will was offered the chance to realize a dream he had held since he was 17 years old: to become a high school teacher. For the past six years, he has taught environmental science and civics to seniors and juniors at Gateway High School, a nationally recognized charter public school in San Francisco.
Will’s wife of 25 years is an avid hiker, competitive tennis player, and community volunteer. They have two boys, one in high school and one in college.
Will holds several pilot ratings, including flight instructor, and flew his plane on environmental missions for LightHawk, the Environmental Air Force. He enjoys many activities—including fly fishing, skiing, backpacking, kite-boarding, dancing, and performing environmental raps. Will and Perk maintain their friendship while 3,000 miles apart with monthly conference calls and annual retreats.
Jeepy has been restored and lives in Northern California, inspiring the next generation to dream.