Mark Kurano is the Asia Pacific Vice President for Field Sales and Commercialization of Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ: MNST), an American beverage company that produces energy drinks globally, including Monster Energy, Relentless and Burn. (Wiki) Mark is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he earned a BS in business administration, a US Air Force veteran, holds multiple black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and Korean Hapkido, and who has also fought professionally in Mixed Martial Arts. In his spare time, he also is an avid Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist who enjoys sharing his music online and also with Hawaii’s Kupuna (elders) in their lodging facilities.
Mark launched his career in the US Air Force as a decorated Air Traffic Controller and later earned his FAA Dispatcher license working as an independent contractor for various Pacific rim based airlines like Qantas, Air New Zealand, Korean Airlines, and All Nippon Airways while simultaneously studying for his Bachelor’s degree which he completed in 1998. Always inspired by his grandfather’s independent distributor rags-to-riches success story and spending much of his childhood growing up around that business, in 1999 Mark decided to leave aviation and enter the beverage industry getting his start with a Gallo Winery distributor. During that time, he was able to hone the skills taught to him through his childhood and add many of the aggressive Gallo sales techniques he still teaches and utilizes today. Additionally, his approach to business has been dramatically shaped by the violent realism taught to him through a lifetime dedicated to one of his true loves, martial arts—but specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As one of his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mentors, Relson Gracie has said, “The mats do not lie” in reference to the inability to boast your way through life without being able to physically back it up, and as such, Mark has applied this philosophy with an emphasis on transparency and dealing with the truth to everything he leads. Add to this, his father Al’s influence and a key approach to life being love and a positive attitude,
and you have the paradox that is Mark.
Founded in 2000 at the Shidler College of Business, the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is the home for a set of experiential entrepreneurship programs at the University of Hawaii (UH). The Center’s 20+ programs offer mentorship, training, and resources to all UH students and faculty, and are designed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines and inspire entrepreneurs to move their ideas from conceptualization to commercialization.