Class of 2021
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” This quote has driven Mark Schlott’s 35-year candy career. He says three-quarters of the battle is showing up for work every day, being ready to conquer any issue and learning from the results.
Mark was born on January 26, 1967, in Reading, PA. Growing up, he says his family did not have much, but his parents, Elmer and Marie, always made sure there were home-cooked meals on the table and clean clothes for Mark and his siblings, Sue and Dennis, to wear to school.
With aspirations of being an electrical or mechanical engineer, Mark graduated from Reading Senior High School in 1984 and attended Penn State University Berks Campus in Reading.
He married Karen, on January 27, 1987, after meeting at work. Together they have four children — Bret, Laura, Anthony and Ryan — and three grandchildren.
A year before he and Karen married, Mark began his career at R.M. Palmer Co. as a maintenance mechanic. In his first 10 years with the company, Mark progressed as a mechanic and by 1996 he was a production supervisor when he was approached by company owner and 1991 Candy Hall of Fame inductee Rich Palmer, Jr.
Rich offered then-29-year-old Mark an opportunity to commission a new moulding line that a previous vendor had failed to properly bring online. In a matter of three months Mark and his team had increased line production by 200 percent and produced a new decorated chocolate product.
Following this success, Mark took on increasingly more responsibility at the company, being named Director of Continuous Improvement in 1998 and moving up to Director of Production Services in 2001. By 2002, Mark was Plant Manager at the company’s Wyomissing facility and moved from Assistant Vice-President of Operations to Vice-President of Operations by 2003. Today he is Executive Vice-President of Operations and COO.
As Mark’s career advanced, so did his involvement in the industry and his community. He joined the NCA Board of Directors in 2008 serving until 2011 and was named to the board again in 2019. He has also spent time on the association’s Public Policy Committee, Ruby Award Selection Committee and the CandyPAC.
A participant in NCA’s Washington Forum for more than 15 years, he was recognized in 2019 by the association as Advocate of the Year. In 2020, Mark was nominated for the Kettle Award.
In the local community, Mark sits on the Berks County Workforce Development Board and chairs the group’s Worker and Training Committee. He is on the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Board of Directors and has served on the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce Board for nearly 20 years.
He has also participated in the Berks County United Way Leadership Program for 20 years.
Mark acknowledges he and R.M. Palmer play just a small part in the industry, but he is gratified to know they are making a difference.