Mark Jacobs is a successful businessman running as a Republican for the United States Senate in 2014.
A life-long Republican, Mark was previously CEO of electric energy company Reliant Energy. Originally joining Reliant as CFO in 2002 when it was near bankruptcy, Mark was an integral part of a team that managed a turnaround that saved the company. In 2007, at the age of 45, he was named CEO, one of the youngest at the helm of a Fortune 500 company. Mark successfully navigated Reliant through an unprecedented series of extreme challenges, including the financial meltdown of 2008 and the devastation caused when Hurricane Ike ripped through the heart of the company’s service territory. Earlier in his career, Mark spent thirteen years in New York and Houston advising companies and business owners on high level strategic and financial matters.
This background has given Mark valuable experience in solving complex problems. His success came from building coalitions to achieve conservative principles, by bringing together people with divergent interests and creating alignment around common objectives.
After a successful career in business, Mark returned home to Iowa to give back to the state that gave him his start. Mark founded the non-profit organization, Reaching Higher Iowa, to raise awareness of the need for improvement in Iowa public education. Some of Reaching Higher Iowa’s priorities include promoting accountability in public education; attracting the best teachers and broadening the pathway into teaching; and, ensuring that families have options for the best environment for their children.
Mark also taught a capstone business strategy class to graduating seniors at Iowa State University in the spring of 2013. Prior to that, Mark’s fervent belief that every child deserves a quality education led him to serve as a board member for six years, including most recently as board chair, of KIPP Houston Public Schools, a high performing charter school network serving over 9,400 economically disadvantaged students and one of the great success stories in education reform.
Mark graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines in 1980 and holds a B.B.A., cum laude, from Southern Methodist University (1984) and a Master of Management, with distinction, from Northwestern University (1989).
Mark and his wife, Janet, reside in West Des Moines where they are active members of the Lutheran Church of Hope. They have three children: Clark, Christy, and Sam.
Mark’s parents moved his family to Iowa in 1958 when his father founded a small business, A.B. Dick Products Company of Des Moines. Now called Infomax Office Systems, the company is in its 55th year of business and employs 65 Iowans. It is still family-owned and operated by Mark’s brother Steve.
Born and raised in Iowa, Mark credits his Iowa roots for giving him the best possible start. Iowa values shaped his upbringing: the premise that faith and family are keystones in our lives and hard work and a good job are at the center of strong families. Mark’s parents Frank and Carolyn Jacobs instilled the importance of hard work into Mark and his siblings. And these lessons resonated – as a boy Mark ran a 3:30 a.m. paper route, delivering newspapers to Des Moines customers. Later, he worked behind the Hy-Vee deli counter.
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