Lifetime Achievement Award


“I never had a Plan B” are the words Mark Persons of Brainerd used when accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Broadcast Engineers recently. The organization has over 5000 members in 114 chapters internationally. This is only the tenth time the award has been presented in 56-years.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the culmination of 66 years of broadcast engineering. The only deviation was to serve in the U.S. Army, which included a year in Vietnam back in the 1960s.

Mark’s father Charles B. Persons started doing broadcast engineering in the 1920s so it was natural to continue in the profession. Mark started learning and turning knobs on radio broadcast transmitters at age seven. He helped build KVBR Radio in Brainerd back in 1964. Mark went on to build twelve new radio stations and rebuilt countless others. That also included designing a half dozen products, which were manufactured by Zercom Corporation in Merrifield.

Mark and his wife Paula ran their business from Brainerd for over 40 years doing engineering for facilities, mostly in the Midwest. They believe in supporting the local economy. Mark was quoted as saying, “We shop local and buy American.”

Now in retirement at age 73, Mark continues to mentor four broadcast engineers, write for national trade publications and is a member of the National Radio Systems Committee, an industry group that develops and improves technical standards for broadcast facilities.

Mark and Paula could have sold their business, but instead elected to help others get into a career of radio broadcast engineering. It was the right thing to do.