Mark Creech, Business Student of the Year

It’s Not How You Start In Life, But How You Finish

Mark Creech

Linda Friedel

Mark Creech

Tatiana Keeling, Cactus Advisor

CAC business student, Mark Creech, will be receiving Outstanding Business Education Student award, and for the second time, no less.  This award is presented by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), an organization dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers.  The award recognizes exceptional business students who have excellent leadership skills.

What is so special about Mark to make him a two-time winner of this award?  As Mark’s friend and former CAC Business Club president puts it, “Mark has the ability to see a person’s strength and give them the help and mentorship to challenge, reinforce and perfect it.”

Mark’s educational journey was not an easy one.  In 2011, an intensive care surgeon told him that his excruciating headaches were caused by Vasculitis, a condition that involves inflammation in the blood vessels.  Mark remembers that day, “My reply was, ‘Doc, is it fatal?’ It wasn’t, but my professional trucking career was over.” Marks continues, “It was devastating news for a 48-year-old high school dropout with no interpersonal skills.”  After a few failed attempts to get a job, Mark enrolled at CAC to pursue a business degree.

Since then, Mark earned Business and Hospitality Restaurant Management certificates along with General Studies degree from CAC, and he is getting ready to receive University Studies degree with minors in Business and Public Administration from Northern Arizona University.  He is currently taking a couple of classes at CAC to help him meet the NAU degree requirements.

Mark’s extracurricular activities include being a member of Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL).  He is a three-term state officer and this year’s state president.  He is also serving his second term as the National Western Region Vice President and is actively trying to recruit new PBL chapters in the region and increase PBL membership in each state.

How does Mark find the time while also having four adopted children (Bobbi Lee 38, Kris 17, Jordan 11, and Enok 6) with Chris, “his wife for life for 36 years”?   Mark explains, “My family understands that for us to achieve our goals, we must all sacrifice while I pursue my education. The sacrifice is worth the reward; all my children want to go to college now. My wife does an outstanding job of keeping me grounded, letting me know when I need to do more family time with the children.”

Mark’s motto is, “It’s not how you start in life, but how you finish.”  As a high school dropout, Mark wants to be an example for his family and all nontraditional students. It is his hope that his achievements will inspire others to get involved in Phi Beta Lambda.

What advice would Mark give current CAC students to help them succeed?  “Don’t be afraid to fail. We all know that fail is acronym for First Attempt In Learning.” He adds, “If a business professor asks you to join CAC Phi Beta Lambda, please take their suggestion. Then immerse yourself in the process. Several PBL advisers explained that the busiest students are also the most coveted by employers because of their ability to juggle multiple tasks and projects while meeting deadlines.”

Being involved in Phi Beta Lambda provided Mark with public speaking practice, networking, and project management opportunities, which are essential qualities for being a successful business leader.  He concludes, “I will be forever grateful to all my FBLA-PBL advisers and mentors for the incredible lessons about leadership, service, and commitment to my development as a future business leader.”

For more information about Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), contact Josephine Vidal at [email protected] or Katie Daley at [email protected]