Like most of us, Mark Scannell visited a few other houses during fraternity rush. He knew a couple of SAEs at San Diego State University, but wanted to keep an open mind.However, no other fraternity captured my interest,” Mark (CA-TH ’84) said about the fall 1979 rush. “I thought the SAEs were a more interesting, diverse group. So I just stopped going to the others.”
After becoming an active, Mark didn’t waste much time getting involved. He attended Leadership School (with Brothers Phil Belling, Gary Martin, and Frank Campbell) in the summer of 1980. While active Mark served the CA-TH Chapter as Eminent Archon, Pledge Trainer, Social Chairman, Little Sister Liaison, Sports Chairman, Publicity, and Alumni Relations, as well as serving on the SDSU Interfraternity Council’s Judicial Committee.
In addition, Mark was the consummate intramural athlete, participating in flag football, basketball, slow-pitch softball, over-the-line, swimming, track & field...and even bowling. For his contributions as an undergraduate, Mark received the True Gentleman award from the Cal Theta chapter and was also recognized by the Eminent Supreme Recorder (Ken Tracey) with the Order of the Phoenix for his outstanding “commitment and loyalty” to the fraternity.
“My proudest accomplishment was not missing an active chapter meeting or grip circle during my five years at Cal Theta,” he said. “The grip circle is one of the key things that distinguishes SAE from other fraternities.”
Upon graduation in 1984, Mark embarked on a successful career in information technology. “It seemed to be an exciting, growing field with a great deal of opportunity.”
His first job at Control Data in the Silicon Valley demonstrated the power of brotherly networking. “I learned that Control Data had been conducting interviews for a sales position and spoke to Brother Gary Martin (CA-TH ‘81) who was working there. He explained that the interviews were almost over but managed to get me a meeting. I flew there the next day, had the interview and was offered the job.” Mark added that he later was able to “return the favor” by helping Gary get a job at a different company. Mark has since worked for other leading information technology firms, including Seagate Technology, Sun Microsystems, and his current employer NetApp, where he is manager of the Western U.S. Public Sector business for the company.
“I’ve loved both the sales and management aspects of my work,” he said. "And I’ve had the opportunity to rub elbows with industry luminaries like Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy, Al Schugart, and Tom Mendoza.”
Mark attributes much of his success to the lessons he learned while in the fraternity.“ The biggest takeaway was learning to interact with more than 100 people and making the appropriate decisions as a leader.”
With retirement only a few years away, Mark has been looking at his next big move. He is finishing his Master's Degree in Sports Management from the American Military University and hopes to transition into a position within high school athletics. "I love being around the high school sports environment. I’d eventually like to be involved in some way—possibly teaching and coaching.”
Meanwhile, Mark has been volunteering with his Alma Mater, Coronado High School, where he is the Director of Alumni Relations for the Islander Sports Foundation. On Friday nights he spots for the announcer and runs the scoreboard at Coronado High School home football games. Mark has also been involved with swimming since his daughters started year-around in 1999. As a Level 5 Meet Director for USA Swimming, he was responsible for directing the largest and most prestigious age group championship meet in the country from 2009-2013.
He and his wife Sandy have enjoyed supporting their two daughters’ high school and college sports and other activities, and as “an Aztec for life,” attending football and basketball games whenever possible.
Of course, he also makes time for the San Diego Area SAE Alumni Association. “When I was an undergrad I was impressed by how alumni such as Dick Troncone and others gave back, including to the local chapters. I knew that I wanted to do something similar; first becoming a Century Club member and then in other ways.”
In addition to attending Alumni Association events, he recently assisted with the SAE Leadership Transition Forum for members of our three local chapters. “As I and many other Brothers have learned, by being involved in our fraternity and just giving back a little, you usually get a lot in return. You have a chance to see SAEs you already know, meet new Brothers, share experiences and help the undergrads. It’s certainly been personally rewarding for me.”
~ By David Robinson