In 2010, Mark set out to do something different in the world of accounting and finance recruiting and consulting. He wanted to create a business guided by principles more than profits, and hire the best people to grow that firm. Mark is the visionary dreamer of TGRP Solutions whose role has certainly evolved since the days that he was recruiting candidates and handling all business development (not to mention figuring out all aspects of the back-office side of things). Discover more about our fearless leader, including his background and his plans for TGRP Solutions’ future.
Tell us a little about the founding and early years of TGRP Solutions.
I began my recruiting career at Two Degrees, a talent resources firm that is now a division of Slalom, a Seattle-based consulting firm. I started out doing recruiting, ran the division that helped early-career professionals for a while, and then worked on both sides of the desk: recruiting and working with clients trying to fill their hiring needs. After that, I worked for a different recruiting agency. Through all this experience, I had been formulating my own ideas about how I would run these companies. A lot of soul searching led me to decide if I was going to continue in recruiting, I wanted to do it on my own, my way. I sold my car, rented out my downtown loft, moved in with a roommate, and started TGRP Solutions.
What does “TGRP” stand for and what’s the story there?
My goal from the beginning was to work with the best of the best—both candidates and companies. A friend suggested the name “Top Gun” to me for that reason, and I went with it. We’ve since rebranded, but we’re still very committed to working with the “top guns” in our industry. I’m very proud of that.
What did you do prior to founding TGRP Solutions?
I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2002 with a double emphasis in finance and computer information systems. I’d interned at Xcel Energy the summer before graduation and thought I wanted to be a commodities trader when I grew up, so I started my career there as a risk analyst. But I met my future boss playing basketball at the gym on my lunch breaks and was recruited to be a recruiter in 2004.
What do you think has made TGRP Solutions a successful company?
In the beginning, it was just pure hustle! But we’ve become very strategic in the last several years about where we are headed and our vision for the future. What has set us apart from the start are our relationships. Turnover can be significant in this industry, but we’ve built a great team of people who believe in what we’re doing.
OK, so what is that vision for TGRP’s future?
We want to expand into new markets over the next five years and continue making an impact on the people who we work with, both our employees and our clients.
Where are you from originally?
Littleton, Colorado, is my home town. I lived there until age 7, moved to California as a kid for a few years, and have been in Colorado since age 10.
What’s your silly-but-real job title?
Your father was an entrepreneur too—is that where the spark came from?
My dad bought a failing HVAC company in the 1980s and has grown it from essentially the ground up. I could have joined the family business that is now run by my brother, but I really wanted to be my own success. But yes, I had a lot of encouragement of my dad, who came from nothing and built a great business.
What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I was a wrestler all through high school. I went into high school weighing 98 pounds and graduated at 150—I was born 34 days premature and it took me a while to catch up, as my mom would say! And most people wouldn’t believe it, but I do love relaxing. In the mountains with my family is where I love to do that.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A star quarterback like John Elway! I have always been a business-minded guy too. I was always the kid selling the most candy bars door to door.
When you’re not at work, where might we find you?
At one of my kid’s events or sports games, golfing, skiing, enjoying a pro baseball or football game, or mentoring. I have been coaching Unified basketball at Chatfield High School for 22 years.
What are you passionate about?
Family first and foremost. They are the reason I do just about everything. But I find myself being more passionate every day about finding a way to have a positive impact on everything. Whether that’s through bible study or the men’s group I’m part of or by giving back to the community in some way, I want to make a difference.
Words to live by?
I used to always say work hard, play hard. But today, my life motto is to be a blessing. I’m blessed, and so I need to bless.