Jason Mark: 39
Co-founder, Chief Strategist, and Creative Lead, Gravity SwitchIn 1996, Jason Mark was a teacher. His future wife, Christine, worked for Microsoft, and another friend was making video games for Fisher Price and Nickelodeon. Together, they decided they’d rather work for themselves.
“We pooled our resources and decided we didn’t want to deal with bureaucracy,” Mark said of the origins of Northampton-based Web-development firm Gravity Switch. “It’s been a learning experience.”
The company, named after a Shel Silverstein poem — appropriate, since Mark has gone on to write two children’s books — at first concentrated mainly on animation and CD-ROM development, but quickly evolved to become one of the region’s most notable Web-design firms. “We’re on the forefront of defining what it means to develop a successful Web project,” Mark said. “And it’s been a really exciting time; over the past four years technology has taken a big jump.”
Gravity Switch has contributed its own advances, from creating the iBracket — used by hotels, museums, retail outlets, and others to securely lock an iPad in a public location — to developing Blitz Build, a patent-pending process that dramatically cuts the time required to create a Web site, thereby minimizing client time and expenses.
But Mark and his team have also been at the forefront of socially conscious business practices in the Valley, donating 15% of the company’s annual profits to various local and national charities.
“As a community member, that’s what life is all about,” he said. “You have to look at priorities; work is important, but you have to do stuff you believe in, and to give back in any way you can. That’s something that’s always been important to us.”
Gravity Switch is environmentally aware, too, with about 25% of its staff (including Mark) bicycling to work every day and about half carpooling. It’s another way he and his team live what they believe while doing what they love.
“As a business owner, you want to be around people who are inspiring, and we inspire each other,” he said. I’m a big believer in doing what you like. You have to follow your passion.”
— Joseph Bednar