Mark Walker is the oldest of four children. He is also the President and CEO of TransLand, the Springfield-based trucking business founded by his parents in 1982. Today TransLand has a fleet of 170 trucks and more than 200 employees. Prior to returning to Springfield, Mark used his leadership skills in a variety of ways. This includes five years of international leadership of corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, and employee engagement functions. He served as Managing Director of Global Community Affairs at Applied Materials and Executive Director of the Applied Materials Foundation, headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way Silicon Valley, San Jose, California for six years.
He credits most of what he knows and does as a leader and father to “amazing role models,” his parents. You might think people who own their own business would have time for little else, but Mark claims “whenever my parents saw leadership roles, they embraced them.” This included everything from Cub Scouts, their church and community life in general. Even today, when he has assumed the primary leadership role for TransLand, he credits them with being “super” or “uber” parents. From them, he says, he learned the importance of being a calm leader in the workplace. He also considers “calm leadership” to be indispensable at home.
Mark is married to Mary, his wife of 37 years. Together they have three adult children and one grandson. Andrew and Jessica are the parents of their one-year-old grandson. Andrew works with Mark in the family business. Patrick, their youngest son, is newly married and living in Phoenix, Arizona. Catherine, their daughter, resides in San Jose, California.
Mark maintains he is “one serious guy” and attributes the role of keeping laughter in the family to his wife. All the same, Mark believes it is important to laugh at one’s self and play as a family. Over the year, this is something he has tried to do by spending some quality time with each child individually.
When asked what he would suggest to other dads, Mark encouraged the following:
1. Leave your work at work. When you get home, do your best to be truly present for your family
2. Let go of the “electronic leash,” i.e., your phone, and be a good listener to what your loved ones say.
3. Carve out time to be with your wife and kids.
4. Do one-on-one things with your kids. Make sure they have opportunities to have your full attention.