Mark is a native of North Carolina, growing up in the small Piedmont town of Badin. He's a graduate of the North Carolina public school system, all the way from elementary school to the University of North Carolina. Since he was 18 years old, he's been a part of the Marine Corps, first as a midshipman, and then as a commissioned officer, serving around the globe. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he mobilized as a reservist and served as a company commander during the 2003 invasion. He retired from the Marine Reserves in 2016 as Colonel.
He's also a former CEO and business owner, founding and leading a technology company for 24 years that became one of the most successful private businesses in North Carolina. He's been married to his college sweetheart for 26 years and has 3 children. He's also an Eagle Scout and lifelong Scouting volunteer, currently serving as an assistant scoutmaster at Troop 202 in Cary.