Since boyhood, Mark Porter (Management ’96) has been developing and selling things. “Whether hotdogs in the neighborhood, curb painting for home addresses, or wallpaper and candy for school projects—I really enjoyed selling and the inner workings of business in general,” he said. By the time he turned 19, Porter had begun a career in real estate. The advantage of watching and learning from his father, who started ERA Old South Properties, Inc. in 1974, prepared him for the evolving, demanding housing industry.
For the past 28 years, Mark has been a broker and VP of ERA Old South Properties, Inc. with his father and brother. Mark manages 25 Realtors, individually helping them develop their careers. With his brother, as the Porter Team, they list and sell for friends, family referrals, and past customers in the Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Pace, Milton, and Gulf Breeze areas.
A native to Pensacola, Porter attended and graduated from Pensacola Christian Academy. He had planned to attend college in Tennessee, but the day before he left, he discovered the job opportunity he had was no longer there. Unsure of what to do next, Porter decided to remain in Pensacola and continue to seek the Lord’s leading. “God directed my steps to enroll and study at PCC,” he said. “I knew many of the instructors and that PCC had the area of study I was going to pursue.”
In his second semester as a freshman at PCC, Mark Porter met Stacy Riddle (English Education ’96) while purchasing textbooks. She would eventually become his wife. “The first day of chapel, my seat was directly behind her,” he said. “We developed a friendship, and during our senior year of school, we got engaged, bought a house, graduated, and then got married a month later,” Porter said. “There is not a doubt in my mind and heart that God directed my path back to Pensacola and PCC.”
During his time at PCC, Porter managed his time between work and school. “Since I was putting myself through college, the basic aspects of a full-time work and class load helped prepare me for the multiple daily tasks in the real estate business,” he said.
Porter regularly applies to his work what he learned from specific classes such as business stats and law, marketing, and accounting. “Learning to problem solve was woven throughout different courses I took in college,” Porter said. “I would later learn that if there were no problems in the sale or purchase of real estate, we would have very little to do today.”
Porter appreciates that “this field of work allows me to be able to plan the day, week, month, and year, being able to execute that plan and tweak it along the way to get the results I’m looking for. It’s been a huge blessing, and of course, without God, none of that would be possible. I get to work with and meet some really great people, and I get to develop friendships, many of which have lasted a lifetime.”
The relationships he built in college translated to every area of Porter’s life—from a relationship with the Lord to connections with people beyond a business level. “I was blessed to have many of my instructors with real-world experience that chose to come back to the classroom and pass on their expertise—not just from the books but from their personal experiences,” he said.
Many of Porter’s college instructors encouraged him in his field by trusting him to handle their real estate transactions. One of his first transactions was from his accounting instructor. “He knew my grades and still chose me to help him with the sale of his land,” Porter said. “I have maintained many relationships and have helped many families over the years buy and sell homes in the area. I am grateful for the trust they have put in me to handle one of the largest investments most of them make in their lifetime. I’m grateful and humbled!”
“Business, success, trophies, and achievements are all great,” Mark Porter said. “But in the end, knowing Scripture and knowing the Savior will help you navigate this life and the time we are given.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.