“We’re a relationship firm, not a transactional firm.”
Mark Watson feels at home on water. He always has, going back to when he was an eight-year-old fetching squirrels his grandpa would shoot from the porch of his cottage on the Muskingum River below Duncan Falls.
“It was so cool to hang out with my grandfather, my uncles and a bunch of their friends. Grandpa kept three things in the fridge – beer, bait and limburger cheese. There was an island in the middle of the river, and I used to row to it, tie off and fish all day.”
Mark has since graduated to piloting sea-going trawlers in more far-flung waters, around such locales as the British Virgin Islands, Chesapeake Bay, Washington state, southwest Florida, the San Juan islands and, perhaps in particular, the gulf islands off British Columbia.
“It’s an amazing experience to watch the orcas and humpbacks on one hand and take in the snowcapped mountains off Vancouver on the other,” he says.
Mark comes by his fondness for the aquatic life by way of his grandparents on his paternal side, who used to take him fishing on a 14-foot jon boat. To get to the spot they knew, they’d pass through an old railroad tunnel, come out into a bay marked with fallen trees and catch small-mouth bass until they were done. When his mother married his stepdad, who had a membership at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club, Mark took up sailing.
“Water was a big thing for me, still is,” Mark says. “For years, I had had a dream of living aboard a trawler and cruising the islands … Finally, I took three training classes with my wife, Kathy. Ever since then, about twice a year, I charter boats, captain the boats and head for the islands.”
Mark and Kathy’s daughter, Kaleigh, and her groom, Joe Lambert, were married in the British Virgin Islands aboard a boat he chartered. One of his most joyous moments is captured in a photograph framed in his office of Kaleigh and her husband on their wedding day. Mark now has a toddler grandson, Bodhi. Bodhi will experience his first experience on a large vessel captained by Mark (and crewed by the rest of the family) with a trip back to the British Virgin Islands in early summer 2024.
Much of his free time these days is spent checking off their shared bucket list items. He and Kathy have visited the 15th Century Inca capital of Machu Picchu in Peru and explored the Galapagos Islands. On their list now is a trip to Tanzania, another to Antarctica and a hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, with an overnight stay in between.
The item at the top of his list is to pilot a cruise around what’s known in nautical circles as The Great Loop, a continuous waterway that takes in part of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the great Lakes, up through Canada, then down either the Mississippi or the Tennessee River. You can learn more about it here: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/great-loop.html.
Like his partners at Stubbins, Watson, Bryan and Witucky, Mark’s motivation is simple and straightforward: He wants to help his clients avoid problems and, when problems do arise, fix them.
“We match our client to the appropriate attorney in the firm depending on the client’s needs and our respective areas of practice. Also, we’re a relationship firm, not a transactional firm. Our aim is to nail down what your goals are and help you realize them over the long haul.”