John B. Marek is an award-winning author and speaker, rural advocate and professional economic developer who specializes in community branding and business retention, expansion and attraction for rural and micropolitan areas. He has published five books and written numerous articles for local, regional and national publications on subjects ranging from tax incentives and the workforce skills gap to rural entrepreneurship and faith-based community gardening.
Although his writing is focused primarily on nonfiction, he has also published two collections of short fiction, The Bug Jar and other Stories, and his latest book, Ocean of Storms. His story, “Bandito,”from The Bug Jar won the ACWC award for Best Adult Prose in 2016.
A native of Ohio, John grew up on the shores of Lake Erie near the town of Port Clinton, graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Business Administration, and settled in the Toledo area where he worked for a decade as a sales and marketing manager in the retail, technology and automotive industries.
In 1995, opportunity called him south to the Charlotte, North Carolina, area where he currently serves as executive director for the Anson Economic Development Partnership and pursues his passion for the outdoors and rural living along with his wife Janet and their rescue dog Laika.
In addition to his work on behalf of Anson County, John is a member of the North Carolina Economic Development Association and the Board of Directors of the Centralina (Charlotte Area) Economic Development Commission.