mark j. sabljak, jour '74
Words are a big part of Mark Sabljak’s life.
Since 1994 he has been the publisher of The Business Journal, the premier business newspaper serving the greater Milwaukee area.
Mark has also authored five non-fiction books, including a sports-reporting textbook and a history of the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted list.
Mark says he loves journalism for two reasons. “I am curious about what makes things tick, and I am passionate about doing more than just talking about problems, but trying to fix them as well,” he says. “My job allows me to do both.”
He especially enjoys writing about what makes Milwaukee tick. “With my news staff, we can explore some of the major issues facing Milwaukee—and its business community—such as transportation and job creation,” says Mark, “but also more difficult challenges such as teenage pregnancy and race relations—all topics The Business Journal tackled in 2006. Print journalism allows us the ability to explore issues—and solutions—in depth.”
Mark’s passion for the greater Milwaukee area also extends to service projects. In the past year, he participated in two major project launches in the Milwaukee community. One, called Project Ripple Effect, put together a marketing plan and a Web site to promote volunteerism among individuals and businesses in Southeast Wisconsin.
Mark co-chaired the second project, the Mosaic Partnership, with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. The Mosaic Partnership was developed to promote trust and communication across all races.
He also gives a lot of time and energy to his alma mater. A member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, Mark also served as president of the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board from 1993 to 1995.
“I spent some of the most important years of my life at Marquette—important in that they were the years during which I was intellectually maturing and challenging so many assumptions,” says Mark. “Marquette met me with professors who welcomed the challenge, allowed me to explore the opportunities and then helped me shape the philosophy I try to live by today.
“Not only did I get academic help at Marquette, but I received career advice as well. Like so many journalism students, it came in the form of [assistant to the dean] Ed Pepan. After my first career failure—I was fired from a part-time job at a suburban Milwaukee newspaper while a sophomore at Marquette—Mr. Pepan gave me a pep talk and kicked me back out onto the street to apply for more jobs. Soon, I was working in a much better position. How many schools can offer the personal touch that Marquette does?”
Mark also credits his family. “They played huge roles,” he says. “My parents supported my reading habit at an early age, and even let me buy a toy printing press to publish my first newspaper while I was in grade school.
“My dad was an artist, and his creativity, his work ethic and the way he gave of himself impressed so many people — and continues to inspire me.
“My wife, Joan, and I have been together since we met at Pius XI High School, and we’ve been married 32 years. She has encouraged my dreams,” adds Mark. “My children, (Maggie, Matt and Mike) and two grandsons (Joshua and Jayson, with another on the way) are also a constant part of my life.”