Mark Conklin's first exposure to the service industry was probably doing shifts as a dishwasher when he was a 14-year-old kid growing up in Washington, DC. Judging from his built, it's safe to guess he was a college jock, which explains the college football scholarship. Although there was no family role model, Conklin ended up with a degree in hotel-restaurant management from the University of Denver. Eventually, he would add an MBA from the Washington State University, and an Executive Programme from the University of Virginia.
Conklin started his career as a hotelier at the flagship Hyatt Regency Atlanta in the 1970s, a 40-year career that would take him all over the world, initially in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, as an executive with Marriott International. It was during one of these postings in E