Mark Marques learned at an early age how the quality of service can make or
break a fledgling business. When he was 11, his family moved from New York to
St. Augustine and grew blueberries. “We had the best blueberries in St.
Augustine but I had to deal with competition for the business. The difference
was the relationship with farmers and the service we offered to customers,” he
That experience combined with his UNF training served him well when he
established his own fledgling company. He is president and CEO of Joytel
Communications in Jacksonville. The company provides wireless Internet access
and IT services to a variety of business, municipal and education customers. His
clients include Flagler College, Eola Capital and Itera Energy Corp.
Marques attended Florida Community College at Jacksonville (FCCJ) and St.
Johns River Community College before transferring to UNF. He graduated with a
bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 2004.
“Graduating from UNF was the most memorable experience in my life. There were
times I didn't think it was going to happen.” He credits UNF in general and Dr.
Jerry Merckel in particular with giving him the technical foundation and
motivation to start his own business. “Dr. Merckel taught me when you get up to
the plate you swing as hard as you can. You are either going to miss or hit a
homerun. I learned you've got to try or spend the rest of your life wondering
why you didn't give yourself the opportunity to do it.”
Specifically, Marques says faculty in the College of Computing, Engineering
and Construction forced him to focus on projects and do better research. He was
able to refine his presentation skills by anticipating questions
Marques arent alone in his family when it comes to the UNF experience. His
mother, Marilia, and his sister, Christine, are UNF alums having graduated from
the College of Health. His mother is a nurse manager at St. Luke's Hospital
while his sister is an assistant nurse manager of neonatal services in
Since graduation, Marques keeps in touch with UNF, donating redundant
wireless Internet service to the University and looking to UNF graduates as
future employees. “When it comes to hiring technical people or engineers, UNF is
the first place I start looking.”
Marques is aware many tech companies are established quickly only to go
bankrupt in a year or two. “We are fortunate to have found a niche in the
market. We are family-owned and are growing slowing on a solid foundation.” His
goals include growing Joytel into a multi-carrier, state-wide commercial
wireless Internet provider with “positive cash flow and no debts.”
His UNF degree will help achieve those goals, Marques says, because it gives
him and his business credibility. “The degree creates awareness in the
Jacksonville business community. People listen to you because they respect the
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