Southeast Alumnus Tailor-Made for Event Planning

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Mark Lee, right, is the director of sales for PSAV.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 12, 2015 — Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Mark Lee of Fort Worth, Texas, knows what it takes to pull off large-scale events. He is the director of sales for PSAV, the largest event technology company in the world.

“I am most excited about helping companies effectively communicate their message to their various audiences,” Mark stated. “I always try to drill down to the core purpose a company will hold a meeting or special event. What do they want the attendees to leave knowing? How can my company help with that goal?”

At Southeast, Mark earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in public relations and a minor in organizational communication, where he also began to grow his event management skills.

“Managing events is where my passion lies. It’s what I seem to do best. From my days as a student event coordinator at the Show Me Center, I have been learning to see event related challenges before they happen,” Mark says. “Southeast prepared me exceptionally well to work hard for the results I wanted. I am a long way from working the graveyard shift at the Show Me Center watching the items on a trade-show floor to make sure nothing went missing. Now, I lead hundreds of crew members and am instrumental in helping raise over $2.5 million for organizations that support the U.S. military, while also managing other corporate events. The decision processing I learned at Southeast acted as building blocks to bigger and bigger events. Managing events can be complex and require a keen attention to detail,” he says.

“Every detail must be scrutinized when planning an event or you will end up with egg on your face pretty easily,” Mark says. “Been there, done that!”

Mark says he chose Southeast due to family, friends, beauty and classroom size.

“Growing up in St. Louis, I think we were in Cape Girardeau every couple of months visiting family. My grandparents graduated from Central High School in Cape and still had friends and family in the area. We were a tight-knit family, and the beauty of the Southeast campus always impressed me, plus, I had a teacher at Parkway South that said I might not succeed in the typical larger college style classroom. So, when I learned Southeast classes were similar to my high school classes, I knew the choice was clear.”

While at Southeast, he was doing more than just going to school. He was making a difference.

“In 2012, I was inducted into the Southeast Lambda Chi Alpha Chapters Hall of Fame. I was one of the lucky few that helped begin the Lambda Chi chapter at Southeast,” Mark says. “Being a Founding Father and starting the tradition of always striving for excellence is a great feeling.”

That spirit of making a difference has continued into his career.

“I am most proud of the work my company does for the men and women of the U.S. military,” he says. “The staff I am able to work with seems to never tire of giving back to those that sacrificed so much more. I can’t believe somedays that I get paid to lead such a dedicated group of employees. I consider it such an honor!”

His favorite memories at Southeast show what kind of person Mark really is — a man made for his profession.

“I think it is the people I remember most. While I did love going to the basketball games and sometimes acting like a crazed nut, I mostly remember my fellow students and teachers fondly,” Mark says. “Dr. Tamara Baldwin was so caring and dedicated. I wish I could just tell her thank you. The other students in my classes and in my fraternity are still some of the best friends I have. I am very excited to be coming to the Southeast Homecoming events this year just to get a brief feeling of that old Cape Girardeau magic.”

In his free time, Mark can be found enjoying his two boys.

“Even though Texas is primarily known for football we are a baseball family. Studying and discussing the great game continually bonds us tighter and tighter. I also have a passion for helping people in the military and their families,” he says. “I hope to instill that sense of giving back to my boys and hopefully they too will learn more about themselves in the process. My oldest son works for my company so I am able to spend time with him here.”

To Southeast students he offers this advice: “To be successful, get involved. Be involved and give it your all. Don’t be afraid to try something new, and don’t be afraid to fail,” he says.