Come Home Profile: Jonathon Marks, Owner and President, RET Inc.
By Leslie Fitzwater
Jonathon Marks may have seen the world traveling with the United States Marine Corps, but when it came time to retire, he chose to come home to West Virginia. “This state has given my family many opportunities over the generations; its schools educated me and my children and its rivers and mountains entertained me in ways that outsiders could fail to realize. West Virginia is a way of life – not perfect – but always willing to provide opportunity for those who seek it.”
Marks has made the most of the opportunities the Mountain State has provided him. In 1992, he returned to West Virginia after a service-connected disability ended his military career. He began working for Ryan Environmental Inc. as a salesperson, learning the business. Two years later he had earned the title of general manager, and by 2002 saw the company grow from making less than $50,000 a year to an annual average of $3 million. In 2005, Marks formed a partnership with Al Anderson and Claude Ryan IV, purchased the assets of the business from the previous owner and created Reliable Environmental Transport Inc. (RET).
Within five years, RET has grown into a multimillion dollar company, and in August 2009 was named by Inc. Magazine as the 393rd fastest-growing company in the nation. RET provides a variety of services, including transporting hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials, drum management, storage tank rentals, potable water services and emergency response.
Born in Clarksburg in 1964, Marks says he was raised by a mother and father who “both worked very hard to make ends meet.” After graduating from Bridgeport High School in 1982, Marks entered the United States Naval Medical Service Corps. “I knew at a fairly young age that I wanted to serve my country. I attended Hospital Corps School in San Diego, CA, and after I graduated was assigned to the United States Marine Corps 2nd Battalion 6th Marines.” Marks traveled to various regions of the world providing health care to active-duty marines and their families. “It was there that I learned the true meaning of service, dedication and an unparalleled work ethic.”
Marks has simple advice for those planning to start a business in the Mountain State. “Do your homework, understand your market and work your rear end off. Never lose sight of your goals, be humble and always thank those who contribute to your success.”
He says that the Inc. Magazine 500 recognition helped bring his company’s success into perspective for him. “RET has come all the way from starting with little more than the willingness and desire to provide our clients with additional options to a multimillion dollar company providing services to clients in a multi-state region, and all in a little more than five years. Wow! It’s been quite a ride!”
Staying true to his advice of thanking those who contribute to your success Marks adds, “I must also say that this recognition is a direct reflection of our dedicated staff, and if any credit is to be bestowed it should be credited to their work ethic.”