Welcome to My Home

        

Life is a jealous commodity. 


Clarity of thought helps us find what we want in life. Never have I been so clear in what I enjoy doing, and never have I been as diverse in my aspirations. Besides the joy of my family that sits at the pinnacle of my goals, I love in no particular order:

- Helping singers find paid showcases for their marvelous talents.
- Helping university students understand what it takes to succeed in business.
- Working on my business where I'm a founding partner in commercializing the only constantly engaged, metal-to-metal, infinitely variable vehicle transmission -- The Universal Transmission.
- Sharing what I've learned about politics and economics from having worked, visited or lived in the USSR, England, Germany and more than 80 countries on this grand Earth so that I can protect the free market of ideas and commerce for the sake of my posterity.
- Sharing what I've experienced in faith of God.

A Brief Biography of Mark J. Stoddard

            As an Air Force brat, he lived around the USA, as well as Germany and England. Mark graduated from Central High School in London, England in 1966. In 1972 he graduated from BYU with a BA in English in 1972 — a true liberal arts education for he minored in political science, history and humanities. He interrupted his education and served as a missionary for two years (1968-70) in Australia at age 19-21, an experience he describes as a powerful "microcosm of life."
Near Wagga Wagga, Australia
            After graduating he was persuaded to remain at the university to teach writing and work on a Master's degree in English. He decided full-time teaching at a university was simply too limiting so he left with his wife Elizabeth and young daughter Eleisha to become a partner in an airship advertising development company in Arizona. In a short period he brought an obscure and innovative transportation and hauling device to the world's attention, raised millions of dollars and honed his marketing instincts.
            When he completed his fund raising work, he took a position in his father's company as a junior partner in LASS Construction of Auburn, California in 1973. While there he developed a marketing plan that helped the company go from less than $500,000 in yearly sales to sales exceeding $3 million a year (about $20 million in todays dollars). For one 82-unit condominium project the company had been contract to build that was out of cash, and had lost all its pre-sold sales, they devised a plan that sold the project out in three months.
            While in California Mark and his friend Dr. Mark Abel started one of the first talk radio shows that dominated its air time, developed a non-profit art foundation that promoted the arts in northern California called the Mahonri Academy, and created, for another non-profit, a fund raising and community involvement plan/project that benefited that organization for decades.
            Mark and his partners also got contracts for LASS to build homes and offices in Saudi Arabia and at age 27 Mark was sent to be the project supervisor. Six months after Mark's arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, they had built 100 homes and an apartment building and office complex for Ret-Ser, a Korean company. However, Bernardo Majalca, the president of the US company LASS had contracted the contract with, got himself in trouble by selling 50% of his company to a dozen different Saudi princes. When the royalty figured out the con, Majalca was arrested and the venture collapsed. Mark and his family were pleased to leave. Mark's foray into taking the construction company into new markets was fascinating, but, he freely admits, "it was a financial disaster that knocked me back on my ears–a very good dose of reality medicine." A rather severe challenge for Mark, his brother Eric and their father Loren.
            After a few years of licking his wounds and focusing on northern California construction contracts, Mark was approached by a studio executive Disney and at Culver City studios for Mark to be a line producer. He had written and directed several productions with that executive. In examining the commute and difficulties in raising his three daughters he turned down one of his life’s dreams, and has never regretted that decision. Instead he decided to return to the university get a Master's degree in communications and theater arts so he could focus on script writing and journalism. He was the newspaper's editorial page and the managing director of the news for the local PBS television station. He created several shows for a new television station for a relatively new innovation—cable TV. 
            Soon thereafter he won some writing awards, had a play produced and before graduating was hired by a foundation to write scripts. While there he wrote a six-hour miniseries as well as numerous other AV scripts. Unfortunately, the foundation was typical of so many non-profits. Out of funds, the board of trustees began interviewing the employees. One by one they were let go. Frankly, he had planned to quit and find a going concern, but they offered him the foundation director position. Now it became his task to pay off the debt. By utilizing the tools and people within his immediate circle of influence (redeploying existing assets), he took an organization with a few thousand mostly inactive donors, and within three years had a non-profit with large amounts of cash in the bank, and millions of dollars of donations from more than 288,000 new donors being spent on worthwhile non-profit projects.
            During this time he was sought out by a famous San Francisco artist to sell 10,000 art prints. In four months Mark found homes for every print at a considerable profit to the foundation.
            Over the next three years he produced dozens of marketing programs for more than 30 products that produced sales of more than $700 million. One ad he wrote still holds the record of the most dollars raised per letter mailed -- $126 received for every letter mailed.
            About this time a young composer approached him for ways to get his music noticed in the Hollywood producer clique, a circle of just eight gate keepers. Within one week of following Mark's concepts, the composer landed four contracts from this group. No doubt you have heard his music today on television and in the movies.
            The foundation Mark chaired moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. in 1983, where Mark got heavily involved in lobbying, raising funds for other non-profits affiliated with the group and in doing radio, television, print and direct mail advertising. He wrote the ads for the only congressman to ever be elected through a write-in campaign. His written lobbying efforts succeeded in getting a famous deputy director of the CIA fired and at the same time got funds approved to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan. He wrote the bill that became the first resolution to ever pass the U.S. House and Senate supporting freedom fighters (27 others over a 100-year period had failed).
            A marketing campaign he masterminded to “Stop the Big Bank Bailout” was opposed by the Democratic and Republican parties, the leadership of both houses and the Reagan White House. Even though his effort eventually failed, it changed how the U.S. approves government backing of private bank loans of international bad debts. Mark’s phrase, "Stop the Big Bank Bailout," was soon the talk on the floors of both houses of Congress. His commercials were read into the Congressional Record and then quoted in every major national and international newspaper. "I was not flying solo. Our chief lobbyist and president, Neal Blair, brilliantly maneuvered behind the scenes and led the way. My staff worked slavishly hard. My job was to create the marketing sauce he and the staff poured over the spaghetti." Mark's numerous radio ads, strategically placed, helped pass many bills and block others.
            While it was all exhilarating, Mark tired of the D.C. scene and in 1985 left to start a new educational organization, The Jefferson Institute. It was dedicated to teaching regular Americans how to invest their money, start new businesses and teach teenagers the "checkbook economic principles because they were not getting this in high school." Thousands learned, for the first time, how to wisely and safely invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, commodities, and options, etc. "We brought in the established experts to share their hard-earned professional expertise." He developed an extensive curriculum for this and the entrepreneurship courses. Contributing to this effort were such people as Stephen R. Covey of "7 Habits" fame, Howard Ruff, his partner and the largest-selling financial newsletter guru, best-selling author Michael Gerber, renown columnist Jack Anderson and dozens more of the best of the best.
Mark paid to melt down a cannon
into a bell; one of the first bells
to be restored to a Russian church.
            Ruff once called Mark, "the quintessential entrepreneur and marketer." Ruff soon asked him to be the president of Target Publishing, the leading publisher of financial newsletters, financial home study and consulting courses. Mark made dramatic inroads into recreating the publishing house. As progress was made, Ruff decided he wanted to turn the company into a multi-level, network marketing company. Mark did not care for that type of business, so they divided up the company, with Mark keeping the Jefferson Institute.
            During this period, Mark advised literally hundreds of different kinds of businesses led by thousands of people. At least five millionaires were created through great products, great service and great marketing. Life savings were preserved and expanded through rational investment approaches. Teens were introduced, in a fun way, to business, investing and checkbook economic principles that still serve them today.
            At the Jefferson Institute, Mark wrote his best seller on marketing, and a seven-volume workbook on how to start a business. It has since been translated into Russian and Chinese and used at several universities including Beijing University.
            The first volume of this set reached the deputy minister of Higher Education for the USSR, and Mark was invited to a special conference in Moscow where he taught 150 of the top Soviet leaders from all 15 republics the principles of how to move from a communist economy to a free market. He taught them over a five-day period for more than 35 hours. They held the courses on a river cruiser that took them from city to city along the verdant Volga River. Together with his wife and partner Elizabeth they were reportedly the first foreigners to enter the closed city of Gorki where Andre Sakarov had been under house arrest. 
            Thereafter he was invited to return and teach the same things with his brother Eric in 17 one-day workshops to the political leaders of the 12 largest cities as well as President Yeltsin's Council of Ministers—his cabinet. He was the first foreigner to address the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine and Belarus. He personally consulted with President Druk of Moldova. (Later he would also end up in Cuba teaching the same things at a Havana university.)
             He and Elizabeth enjoyed the Volga Cruise so much they set up a cruise company that over the next 10 years took more than 3,000 Americans to Russia and put them on a cruise ship with Russian citizens so they could get to know each other and let the Russians show Americans their country. The good from that has been incalculable. Hundreds of friendships grew. Hundreds of young Russians came to America to get their university training, many joint venture businesses were started, barriers broken down and thousands of lives changed. At least two of the Russians became some of Russia's first legitimate millionaires.
            While in Russia, Mark hired dozens of opera singers for his shows. He set up concerts in St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl and Moscow for singing groups he brought from America. Americans and Russians alike loved his shipboard concerts. In six years he produced more than 100 such concerts. Many Russian singers also learned from Mark how to make money from their talent and how to set up singing tours in America and Europe.
Holding a press conference for VMT.
            The customers from these Russia cruises soon asked Mark and Elizabeth to take them elsewhere in the world. Having lived as a young man in Australia, Germany, Taiwan, France and England, and with Elizabeth in Saudi Arabia and with extensive experience in Russia, they began taking people to more than 30 other countries.
            While marketing and creating tours, Mark wrote two more books on marketing and business, three travel books, a book of short stories and poems, several more plays, a book on real estate investing, and wrote 700 opinion pieces for a newspaper on political topics.
            Over the next few years he helped people market their products ranging from Swiss real estate (that project from inception to completion that took six months selling $24 million in a unique Swiss real estate venture just for Americans), health food products, vanity products, raised money for a private mental health facility, and consulted with artists and musicians, and numerous other ventures.
Negotiating with Allison Transmissions for VMT.
            In 2003, the publisher of Classical Singer magazine asked Mark to ply his talents to the task of helping the magazine grow. This has led to a near doubling of the size of the magazine giving singers more information monthly, developing an annual convention and numerous Master Workshops. Mark has consulted with thousands of singers. His son, Alexander, took over for him and has vastly improved upon what Mark did, much to the pleasure of the father.
            Mark continues teaching marketing, writing and entrepreneurship at a several universities. He has been a guest speaker at New York City College, NYU, Binghamton, Kentucky, DePauw, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Willamette, University of Calgary, Moscow State University, Polytechnic Institute of Havana, BYU, and as Entrepreneur in Residence at Utah Valley University.
            He is a popular speaker at the Classical Singer International Convention, at Master Marketing Workshops, and as an online consultant.
           In 2006 he wrote a detailed marketing and business plan for a new business that generated significant private investment. The company is VMT Technologies that is commericializing the only positively displaced, infinitely variable transmission for vehicles. It is working toward contracts with John Deere, Fiat, MTD, Vision Electric Trucks, Allison Transmissions and 30 more manufacturers in the USA, Italy, Japan and Korea. 
At one of their back yard concerts that raised $30k to help a
young couple with medical bills.



            Elizabeth and Mark live on a golf course at the mouth of a mountain canyon not too far away from their five living children and 25 grandchildren (two of their sons passed away). Both are involved in community and church work, often holding a concert where emerging singers put on a concert in the Stoddard’s backyard that opens up to the golf course.  In 2014 Mark's musical, Strangers in Nauvoo, was produced and enjoyed by many. Retirement is not even a remote consideration.





................................................................................................... 
Years ago I fell in love with O Mio Babbino Caro, but when it was sung at a funeral, it made no sense. Singing a song about a silly girl throwing a tantrum to her father and threatening him that she'll jump off a bridge unless she lets him see her boyfriend -- doesn't fit a funeral even if the words are in Italian and few, if any, know what Caro is. 

                                   (Here's the link to see the video: https://youtu.be/TL4GiTw4WPA)

      Yet the music is so etheral and sacred, it should be in the repetoire of singers for funerals and other sacred occassions. So..., not one to complain without doing something, I wrote new lyrics in English that would mean something in a Christian setting.

       My musician brother, Eric, arranged the music and M. Ryan Taylor created the score in four keys -- one for sopranos in the original key, then one for mezzos, one for tenors and one for baritones (basses welcome as well). No reason men shouldn't sing this.


Soprano Clara Hutardo Lee (click her name to hear her sing the single verse version)
Baritone, M. Ryan Taylor
sings
Standing Before My Savior
Here's the link to his video:
https://youtu.be/TL4GiTw4WPA













Here are the new lyrics. Sing just the first verse or sing both verses:

Verse 1
Standing before my Savior
Fever within my heart
I tremble at his mercies
Grateful for grace he imparts.

I touch the wounds of my Savior
Held in his arms of love
He greets me as my brother
Child of a loving God

How tender thy eternities Await…
For me to embark.

Verse 2
Standing before my Savior
Silently touching my soul
His Grace relieves my burdens
Blesses my prodigal life

He heals my heart I’m forgiven
Gone is my pain and strife
Oh Joy is mine forever
Blessed by a loving God.

O joyous my eternities Await,
And now I embark.

Forever, eternity

Savior eternally.


(order in the column to the left)