The Elwood File Featured

7:00pm EDT January 26, 2010

Born: Columbus, Ind.

Education: Bachelor of science degree, public administration, Indiana University

What was your first job?

When I was in seventh grade and eighth grade, I mowed about 10 yards a week to earn money. Then when I was in 10th grade, I worked for three years at an A&W drive-in root beer stand as a cook and as a counterperson who took orders and served food. As I think back about those two jobs, I don’t know if I was even aware at the time that they were teaching me lessons.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My two parents are still alive. My father, he believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself as a young businessman. My father has always been extremely encouraging. He has said, ‘Mark, you can do anything you want to do. There is no reason why you can’t do it.’ Then there is my mother. I don’t think I’ve known a person who loved any more passionately and cared any more passionately and was any more committed to giving her sons the very best training and upbringing they possibly could.

If you could have dinner with any three people from history, whom would you pick and why?

Cornelius Vanderbilt, John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. They inspire me today. They make me better today because they did things that were so big and so far-reaching and they were such big thinkers and got so much done even in a time when we didn’t have e-mails and fax machines and laptop computers. It’s just mind-boggling what those guys did.