While Mark was raised in Baltimore and Annapolis, he was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming and considers himself a “real cowboy.” His father taught him to sail a Sunfish sailboat on Rehoboth Bay and he’s been an avid sailor ever since, having sailed on the Chesapeake Bay, in the Caribbean, and across the English Channel. Mark is an active member of the Annapolis Yacht Club, serving on their Race Committee which organizes the Wednesday Night Races from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Mark has had a presence in Rehoboth Beach every summer since childhood, spending summers with parents, friends, and now his partner, Karl Zoric. He and Karl met in Rehoboth through one of his oldest friends, over dinner at Eden. That first dinner turned into a string of dinners as they were here for a week over the 4th of July. They’ve been together ever since.
Mark resides in Annapolis, full-time, but shares a second home with Karl here in Rehoboth. He is employed as a Program Manager for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Federal Reserve Board in Washington DC.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP and what events/activities have you been involved with since?
I started volunteering during the summer of 2013 processing payments for the Bachelor Auction. I then assisted with the Sundance beach ticket sales team and the convention center decor team. In May 2014, I was part of “Team Vanna” showcasing the artwork auctioned off at the Black and White Beach Ball. I’ve since become a Sundance captain with my partner, Karl, on the beach ticket sales and box office will-call team.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
The comraderie and fun of promoting Sundance on Poodle Beach with the other beach ticket sales team volunteers (Keith Petrack, Michael Fetchko, Sandra Skidmore, and Karl) participating in the beach games and organizing creative ways of selling Sundance sponsorships, memberships and tickets.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
Sundance. The energy and excitement of watching and participating as the Convention Center is transformed into a magical auction and dance venue. This year I also look forward to being a part of Team Vanna showcasing art and other items offered during the live auction.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
I love the fall. The vibe of town is a little quieter, the crowds on the beach have reduced, the ocean is at its warmest, and parking becomes available again. One of my favorite events of the second season is the Seawitch Festival and participating in the pet parade with our two miniature schnauzers, Penny and Chloe, who have already selected their costumes for this year’s event.
Name a childhood crush or idol?
Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz. The images of him recieving his gold medals will forever be in my memory.
Most inspiring moment?
Directing and overseeing the first re-design of United States currency in 62 years. I managed the design and engraving function for the “New Color of Money,” incorporating sophisticated background color and new security features on US currency making it safer, smarter, and more secure. The reissuance of the new design series was completed in 2013 with the issuance of the new $100 note. I’m very proud of the work we did on this iconic American symbol.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
My hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. I’m an avid sailor and have also restored and live in the historic district in a 200 year old house, adjacent to the houses of the Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence. As a history buff and anglophile, it’s the perfect place to live and explore American and British history.
Name three of your “bucket list” items.
1) Sailing around Denmark and Sweden with Karl; 2) Travelling to New Zealand and Tasmania to explore their wine region; 3) Driving through northern Italy in a convertible with Karl, travelling the route of the original Mille Miglia from Brescia to Milan and back. I enjoy cars almost as much as I enjoy boats.
Favorite holiday and why?
Christmas. Helping Karl transform our house into a Christmas wonderland, complete with four Christmas trees, an army of German nutcrackers, Karl’s endless supply of unique holiday music, and opening our house to share this festive atmosphere and the spirit of the holiday with all our family and friends.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
I’ve been coming to Rehoboth Beach since I was a little boy. The biggest change I’ve seen is the disappearance of farmland along Route 1, with the constant development of shopping complexes. One constant that hasn’t changed is the city’s continued charm.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Having the wonderful opportunity to work in Europe during the redesign of the US currency and getting a global perspective on how the US dollar is truly a world currency. My first job setting up an art program for underprivileged kids in southern Georgia while moonlighting at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Sailing taught me confidence and shaped my perspective that teamwork, dedication, and relying on a small group of close friends has helped me with the successes I’ve achieved thus far in life.
You’ve been asked to appear in a fundraiser for CAMP Rehoboth and need a drag name. What would it be? (If you’re having difficulty…pick a childhood pet’s name and the street you grew up on).
Bethany West. Named for my former English springer spaniel, Bethany, and the first street I lived on, Western Avenue.
Your best vacation ever was?
Sailing our boat across the English Channel to the islands of Aldernay, Guernsey, Sark, and Jersey. Then spending the next three weeks sailing along the Brittanny and Normandy coast, exploring the French ports of call St Malo, Granville, Carteret. Finishing the trip visiting the Normandy beaches where the D-day activities unfolded, truly one of the most moving places to visit in the world.
What are you most thankful for?
Meeting my partner, Karl, and living in Rehoboth Beach.
It’s been such a pleasure working with you, Mark, on various CAMP events the last few years. Both you and Karl (a past Volunteer Spotlight) can be seen at virtually every event and we are blessed by, and very thankful for, your loyal and dedicated support.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Spotlight? Email your suggestion.
Michael Fetchko, Mark Pipkin, and Keith Petrack at the 2014 Black and White Beachball.