Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mark joined the Navy the day after his 18th birthday. He served in the JAG Corps (the legal branch of the Navy concerned with military justice and military law) for 10 years before seeking a radical career change. “I spent 10 years working with some of the most difficult people and circumstances out there. I wanted to do something completely different,” explains Mark.
That change began at a Bennigan’s in Little Rock, Arkansas. Interestingly, he spent his weekends moonlighting as a bartender at the Governor’s mansion, which was occupied at the time by Bill and Hillary Clinton. He has worked throughout the south, primarily in corporate hotels such as Hilton, Westin and Hyatt, however, his early years included everything from Krispy Kreme doughnut shops to truck stops. Mark’s background includes over 10 years as a banquet manager and he has the experience of doing over 500 weddings in his career.
Mark feels his military experience prepared him well for the food and beverage industry by providing him with the work ethic and corporate structure needed for success. He is excited to bring his knowledge to the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club. “My experience allows me the opportunity to take all the best practices I know to optimize the member’s experience. Everything we do in this business is detailed oriented,” he explains. “First impressions are everything. I want members to be proud to bring their guests to our club.”
Mark has been staying busy as he is working on “squaring away” the club – focusing on maintenance, cleanliness and operational effectiveness. He has spent about 80% of his time so far with club issues. Next on his agenda is the docks – working on getting them raised and repaired as needed.
“My ultimate goal is to make sure members will not have to worry about any operational issues,” said Mark. “It’s my job to make sure any problems are fixed before members ever know about them.” He also emphasizes that he is a working manager. “I don’t try to run the club from behind a desk. You will see me out working with the staff.”
Mark believes that his job is not to manage staff, but rather to facilitate them and give them the tools they need to do their jobs successfully. “I facilitate the staff to ensure member satisfaction,” explains Mark. In addition, Mark always has an open door for both member and staff concerns, questions or ideas.
As a new resident of Essexville, Mark enjoys the friendly and beautiful area, which he calls a city with a small town feel. He then explains, after coming from the mountains of Tennessee, this IS a big city!
One of the best things about Saginaw Bay Yacht Club? “I love the member-oriented environment – everyone is a regular!”