Mark’s passion and talent for connecting with young people began in 2005 when he was asked to talk to an entire High School faculty about substance misuse/abuse, when employed with the Waterloo Region District School Board. With only an hour or so to prepare Mark devised his now renowned “Drug Awareness” presentation, which when delivered obtained rave reviews from the assembled audience. Almost immediately requests began to pour in asking Mark to deliver his message to students from Grade 6 to 12 inclusive, in both the public and private sectors, as well as to school staff/administrators, board members and to interested parents, right across southwestern Ontario.
To date Mark has given more than 1,000 presentations, delivering his ‘hard-hitting’ message beyond the scope of just schools to include alternative education programs, youth & community associations, to detainees at an open youth custody facility, as well as to ‘at risk’ youth enrolled on the Waterloo Regional Police Service youth mentoring program – “C.O.P.S”. In addition, Mark has been able to adapt his presentation in a number of ways, including ‘career focused’ seminars to students attending the Conestoga College Police Foundations (PF) & Protection, Security and Investigation (PSI) program, as well.
Mark was a decorated police detective in the United Kingdom with almost 20 years’ experience – a career that has been described as ‘second to none’. Mark was deployed almost exclusively in covert policing arenas, including working on the front line as a detective on both Robbery & Break-and-Enter Squads, a seconded period as a detective on the National Crime Agency (the UK’s F.B.I), as well as a spell with Special Branch. Mark worked on many major criminal investigations, including homicides, as well as playing a significant role in the international investigations that followed the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Mark’s ability to speak so directly and passionately about the perils of substance abuse/misuse came from his first hand experiences when deployed as an undercover detective, tackling the illegal manufacture and distribution of narcotics by organized crime syndicates in the UK, including Ecstasy, Heroin and Crack Cocaine.
Mark’s determination to educate young people about drugs bought him to the attention of Daiene Vernile – the host of CTV’s award-winning documentary show, ‘Provincewide’. The episode aired in 2007 and was entitled ‘Mark the Narc’ – in recognition of the endearing nickname students at one Cambridge High School had given him!
Mark has completed a ‘Vulnerable Sector Police Check’ through both the Waterloo Regional Police & RCMP, and can provide a copy if requested.