Alumni at Work
Mark Jenkinson ’74
Major at MMA: Marine Engineering
Employer: Self-employed, following Bethlehem Steel
Where has your career taken you since graduation?
Following graduation I joined Bethlehem Steel at the East Boston Yard with classmate Steve Walker. I left Bethlehem to join Atlantic Valve, a small startup company in Westfield MA. Atlantic did valve repair work in the marine, nuclear and fossil power industry and about every paper mill in NE. We took on anything. Later we opened another shop in the Portland area to be closer to the Maine market. In 1983 my partners and I sold the company, and I stayed on until 1986 in a marketing and sales capacity. In ‘86, I went on to a new challenge: a small company in New Hampshire, QA Technology. I traveled throughout the US in a sales capacity working with the reps in the field. In 2002 I cashed out of QA thinking I was going to retire. It didn’t last long. I then started a new company, Present Arms Inc. Today I make firearm platforms for servicing the AR rifle and all magazine fed handguns for the Military, Law Enforcement and civilian shooters.
What is your current title and what are your responsibilities?
President. But as the owner of your own company you wear many hats: development work, manufacturing, marketing, sales, purchasing. I also sweep the floors.
What piece of advice would you give to a student going into your field?
The field I’m in is the “Can Do” field. Have faith in yourself, never pass up a challenge, and never, ever quit.
How did the MMA experience prepare you for both your prior positions and your current career focus?
Maine Maritime was a defining experience in my life. I was thinking of going into the Navy following high school, but then some good advice from a guidance counselor sent me to MMA. It was at the Academy I learned about teamwork. As a Striker I learned about leadership and taking full responsibility for my people and the situation. The hands-on experiences gave me the confidence I needed. The academic workload taught me I can do it.
What are your goals for the future?
I thought I was going to slow down back in ’02, then the next challenge came along. Some my age talk about retirement, but I still have a few good years left.