The Official Mark Home Page

What does it all mean???

The Life and Times of Mark:

Me! It was a cold day in September of 1971 when I first entered the world... I was born in Upstate NY, where I would spend all of my formative years. Raised in the rural environment halfway between the village of Boonville and the city of Rome, I attended Adirondack Central School and Adirondack Senior High. Aside from my job at Pizza Hut, my high school years were filled with somewhat unsuccessful (yet fun) attempts at the track team and also the cross country ski team.

I went on to attend Cornell University, where great effort was made to weed me out of the Mechanical Engineering program. With a semester at Syracuse University thrown in for the heck of it, I managed to graduate in 1994. While at Cornell, I was a member of the Cornell Formula SAE team (1st place in 1993!) and was also in Phi Kappa Tau (a small, completely non-stereotypical fraternity) where I was House Manager and Chaplain.

In the fall of 1994, I plunged myself into the real world, and became a gainfully employed employee of General Motors, working on large front wheel drive automatic transmissions. If you have an automatic transmission question, my answer is: "9 times out of 10, it's in the valve body." Unless you have a Cadillac whose transmission goes clunk - I know why that happens!

The tedium of daily working class life continued to wear at me, until in the fall of 1998 I decided to return to Virginia Tech to pursue a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Focusing on Vehicle Dynamics and Controls, my thesis was titled "Active Vibration Isolation Using an Induced Strain Actuator with Application to Automotive Seat Suspensions." Many thanks to my advisor, Don Leo, for his support, guidance, technical expertise, and enthusiastic encouragement. My degree was awarded in July 2000, and it was with a heavy heart that I realized I would have to leave the good life of grad school (and the great mountain bike trails of Southwest Virginia) behind and once again join the ranks of the working.

After an exhaustive and lackluster job search, Generous Motors made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I considered refusing, but somehow I just couldn't. I returned to GM Powertrain at the Proving Grounds in Milford, MI to make a meaningful contribution to society calibrating automatic transmissions in all Buick Park Avenues and LeSabres, and Pontiac Bonnevilles (that's the L36 and L67 C and H cars, in GM lingo). If you bought one of these cars and checked the "Automatic Shifts Roughly" box on your JD Powers questionere, I'd like to talk to you.

Life at Milford was good, but a curious thing happened. I came to a stunning realization that I might be able to return to grad school -- to study beer. It started out as a complete dream (inspired by enologist Anna Katharine Mansfield) but it quickly became reality. Dr. Tom Shellhammer of Oregon State University made me an offer I couldn't even consider refusing, and so in August of 2002, I will once again return to grad school to pursue a Masters degree in Brewing. Anybody wanna open a brewpub with me?

With the remainder of my years on this planet, I plan to get a dog, eat lots of bacon pizza, win the lottery, buy a snowmobile, open a brewpub, gain worldwide fame and fortune, end famine, own a large mansion overlooking village commoners below, and watch plenty of TV.

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