Recognized as Visionary of the Year: Mark Estee Entrepreneurship / Stories

The first time I met Mark, I ordered one of each. That was, one of each dessert at his restaurant downtown on the Truckee River, Campo. He delivered the plate himself and described in detail what I’d be eating. The conversation abouMark headshott food and the Caramel Budino evolved into a greater conversation about business. With food and business on the table, Mark started talking to me about his vision. It was clear right away that he was a driven entrepreneur.

Not too long later, I asked Mark if he would be interested in speaking at Assess-License-Launch, a program I co-host through the Ozmen Center with the City of Reno and Nevada Small Business Development Center. Mark accepted. He presented an incredibly energetic and passionate pMark Esteeersonal story around having vision in business. If anyone can engage an audience while describing the importance of business plan writing, it’s Mark.

Mark is dedicated and always says yes to however he can help. He is vibrant and can typically be found wearing pink pants and multi-colored argyle socks. In my opinion, Mark is 100% unique and 100% excellent. He is a visionary that is able to execute and he does that on a daily basis through running multiple businesses and cooking.

Excellence Q&A with Mark Estee

Q: What is the number one tip to maintain excellence in the work you do?

A: Being aware of what’s going in Reno and what’s happening in the industry. To be cutting edge or excellent, link the past to the future. The other side of excellence is having standards and systems in place to execute simple things and maintain a solid foundation.

Q: If you advanced in your career, moved on to the next biggest and best thing, what specific quality would you look for in a person that would replace you with excellence?

A: There must be an equal mix of passion and dedication to the brand; you must understand the brand from the ground up.

Q: Overall, if you could name one strength, what would you say contributes most to your excellence?

A: Vision. Excellence requires strong long term goals and ideas. Every business must have a concept statement, vision and mission statement. What makes you excellent is being open minded to feedback along the way so that you can pivot and make the vision better.

Q: What is your Myers-Briggs (e.g., ESTJ, INFP…) and how does your personality contribute to excellence?

A: I’m 50% extrovert and 50% introvert. I do not let excellence or any other great thing define me. I’m not driven by my external environment and stay more internally focused, so that I don’t get too high and never get too low.

Q: What advice for excellence would you give your 20-year-old self?

A: Take more pictures of food, write recipes, document and celebrate a little more in the good times. Find balance, stop and smell the roses, celebrate the wins and enjoy the ride.

Mark Estee is the Founder and Chef of Campo and Reno Local Food Group. He’s a nationally recognized entrepreneur and community leader honored as Visionary of the Year by the Reno/Tahoe Chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events. Follow Mark on twitter @MarkEstee | Eat a Caramel Budino at Campo

Photo courtesy of Mark Estee


  1. Campo is a triumph. It’s facinating to hear about the mind behind the restaurant. Well done.

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