Born into a Midwestern family with loving parents who lived through the Great Depression, New Deal and the Marshall Plan, Mark was taught the importance of self-determination, integrity and hard work from an early age. By age 10, Mark was running a lawn mowing service, and recycling glass, newsprint and aluminum for cash before it was fashionable. He still found time for scouting, and competitive sports including swimming and hockey.
By age 13, he and his older brother were selling candy at school and running a 300+ home paper route. They were shrewd about choosing their paper route having turned down the first opportunity of a residential neighborhood route. Instead, they had heard about a new apartment complex opening up. They recognized higher density housing meant shorter walking distances, indoor work to escape Michigan’s cold weather season, less time lugging heavy bags, and faster growth as the apartments filled.
Three years later when all new phases of the apartment complex had been completed and after winning all of the local newspaper merchandising new customer contests (and reselling the awarded merchandise at school), the boys turned over the paper business, which the publisher promptly split into 3 routes. Mark used the proceeds to fund a new car purchase at age 16 and later support for his undergraduate education.