Who is Mark Polk and why is he qualified to teach RV technical content?
Mark is an RVer and has a very extensive background in the RV industry. He began at age 15, washing RVs at a dealership in North Central Pennsylvania. It wasn't long before he was working as an apprentice RV technician under the guidance of the RV service manager.
His maintenance plans were interrupted when he enlisted in the military. Mark completed airborne training in 1979 and served with some of the most elite U.S. Army Airborne units, including Service Company 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 82nd Signal battalion, 82nd Airborne Division and the 16th Military Police Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps. He spent the next 18 years with the U.S. Army eventually retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer 3 Automotive Maintenance Technician.
In the military, he managed large fleet maintenance operations, and had to teach young soldiers how to maintain and operate expensive vehicles and equipment. These soldiers came to him from very different backgrounds, and their prior experience with heavy equipment and mechanical skills were similarly varied. Mark had to learn how to communicate with all of them clearly, concisely, and effectively, and he found he had a talent for teaching. The Army agreed, and eventually he was asked to produce written instructional materials, including driver training manuals and operating procedures for motor pools.
When he retired from the Army in 1996, he went to work for an RV dealership in sales and service. He talked to customers about their needs and desires and helped them select the right RV for them. He inspected used RVs for trade-in, he serviced customer RVs, and he educated customers on how to operate and enjoy their vehicles. As an RV owner himself, throughout the years, he has owned and used all the classifications of RVs (travel trailer, motorhome, pop up, 5th wheel and truck camper). He even restored, from the ground up, a 1967 Yellowstone travel trailer. It was clear to him there were limited resources available to RV owners who wanted to learn more about how to operate and maintain their RVs. Owners’ manuals provide limited information, and most consumers find them confusing. Anecdotal information learned around campfires from other RV owners is incomplete and can be unreliable.
Mark realized he had the knowledge and teaching ability to fill that gap, and so in 1999 he began writing articles and books about how to choose, buy, maintain, repair, and operate a variety of RVs. To date, he has produced more than 500 educational videos, and authored 15 e-books, 3 paperback books, and more than 1,600 articles educating millions of RVers. His best-selling book, titled The RV Book, has sold over 53,000 copies to date.
Mark's first priority is the safety of his audience. To Mark, this means anticipating the risks and challenges RVers will encounter when following his instructions, ensuring that the information he provides is complete and accurate, and providing enough information so his audience can make informed decisions about when to tackle maintenance tasks themselves and when to take their vehicles to professionals.
His second priority is his audience’ empowerment. He sends his students out on the road with confidence that they are equipped, prepared, informed, and ready to enjoy themselves.Producing material that achieves those goals is a very difficult thing to do. RVs come in a bewildering variety of different types, makes, models, and vintages, and when Mark writes about tasks such as winterizing an RV plumbing system, (as we know there are many ways to winterize an RV), his instructions need to walk his readers through the process regardless of what RV the reader happens to own.
Like his soldiers, his RV students come to him with widely disparate levels of expertise, experience, talent, and motivation, and his instructions must speak to all of them. Mark’s writing and video presentations are accurate and comprehensive. It is also clear, concise, and easy to understand. He breaks complex, intimidating tasks down to easy steps.
Chief Warrant Officer Three Mark J. Polk was awarded a first place US Army maintenance award from General Shelton.