Construction company lands 7 Springfield projects focused on future

CEO Alison Marker is the third generation to run the family business that she never planned to join.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A construction company with connections to Springfield’s past is busy with seven projects pointed toward building the city’s future.

Marker Inc., formerly Thomas & Marker Construction Co., is a 66-year-old company now run by a woman who never imagined getting into the family business but who wants to reduce barriers for other women who want to enter the field.

Marker Inc., which began in Bellefontaine and now is headquartered in Columbus, is handling:

— the city of Springfield’s four new fire stations,

— the Springfield Museum of Art’s $7 million renovation,

— the Global Impact STEM Academy’s planned upper academy at Clark State’s Leffel Lane campus, and

— the $9 million National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Airport.

Marker Inc. has worked on projects in Springfield for about 40 years, with past efforts including churches and Wittenberg’s Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center and Hollenbeck Hall.

“We love Springfield and are really excited to bring some light back in the area,” said Alison Marker, president and CEO of Marker Inc.

The company recently picked up steam on the $6.7 million South Limestone Street fire station site, which still is expected to be finished this year. The other three stations are in the design phase now.

Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck said the city received several competitive proposals/bids from “very reputable and highly-qualified firms,” and using scoring systems and interview of the construction teams, Marker Inc. “rose to the top for each of those projects.”

“We have been extremely satisfied with the workmanship and professionalism exhibited by the teams working to complete these projects for our community,” Heck said.

Marker Inc. crews also are building the more than $9 million National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Airport. It will have 30,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of hangar space.

The center will involve many private and public partners focused on advanced air mobility, including autonomous flight, electric vertical take-off and landing system vehicles (eVTols) and the electrification of flight.

The Air Mobility Center is nearing completion and will offer collaboration space for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Air Force Research Lab, NASA, the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), colleges and universities, research institutions and private industry.

The Springfield Museum of Art project underway now involved demolition of a portion of the facility and rebuilding and improving some of the existing space.

The Global Impact upper academy project is in the planning and design phase still but will become home to students in grades 10-12.

Marker Inc. works with public and private entities on buildings for civic, commercial, education, healthcare, industrial, multifamily residential, senior living, recreational and religious uses.

The company is now a woman-owned and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certified company.

Alison Marker is the third generation in her family to run the 66-year-old business, founded by her grandfather, Harold Marker, and his business-partner Bob Thomas.

Despite her grandfather, uncle and father having roles in the construction company, Alison Marker never had interest in joining her family’s business. After being encouraged by her parents to study what she was excited about and drawn to, Alison Marker majored in psychology and women’s studies, and received a master’s in social work. She then worked for 10 years as a private practice psychotherapist.

All changed in 2012, just after Marker Inc. opened its Columbus office and needed an HR manager. Randy Marker knew his daughter loved Columbus and loved working with people, and he wanted to give her the opportunity to join the family business.

Intrigued by the idea of helping to grow the company in Columbus and recruiting people to further build a positive culture, Alison Marker accepted the offer.

“I just completely fell in love with it and the impact we can have on the community,” she said. “I never looked back after that.”

As a woman CEO in a male-dominated field, Alison Marker focuses on creating a space where barriers and challenges for women are reduced.

“I want to ensure pay equity, advancements, women having a voice and spot at the table, visibility and awareness, and recruiting more women,” the CEO said. “Opportunities for me to be in a role where I can provide opportunities for people to work, to be supported, to grow, and to advance in their careers is what’s so exciting and motivating for me, it’s why I get up every morning and carry on the legacy of the family business.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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