Mark grew up working on the family’s 4th generation wheat and cattle operation in northwest Oklahoma. Those early experiences stimulated his interest in livestock and agriculture and led him to undergraduate degrees from Tabor College, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Colorado State University. After completing his education, he worked two years in New Zealand as a visiting scientist for Landcorp Farming Ltd, the largest ranching company in that country. At Landcorp, he developed genetic improvement programs for beef cattle, deer, sheep, and goats. After his time in New Zealand, he spent 4 years at the University of Arizona and then joined the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University in 2001. At CSU he teaches graduate and undergraduate students and has an active research program focused on genetic evaluation and improvement of livestock using pedigree, performance and DNA marker information. The goal of his research program is to develop and improve genetic tools that enable breeders to make more accurate selection decisions. With that focus Mark and the team at what was then ARI, worked to develop expected progeny differences (EPD) for Huacaya and Suri animals in that registry. Mark continues to calculate the EPDs and accuracies for the annual AOA analysis and talk to breeders about proper use of this technology.
Mark serves as co-leader of the CSU Center for Genetic Evaluation of Livestock—a center that calculates EPD for breed associations and producers groups both nationally and internationally. He is also the Western Region Secretary for the Beef Improvement Federation.
He is married to Kellie who teaches Agricultural Education at Colorado State University. They have a son, Wyatt, and a daughter, Avery.