Congratulations to the 2017 Alumnus of the Year, Gary Marquardt. As an NDSSS alumnus, he has demonstrated Wildcat pride and support for the college in many ways. He is a superb example of a successful graduate who has made great contributions to NDSCS, his profession and his community.
Gary is a native of Sioux Falls, S.D., and graduated from O’Gorman High School in 1967. He resided in Sioux Falls with his parents, one older brother and four sisters. Gary experienced many challenges during his youth. He loved football but did not physically mature until later in high school. He later became a starter and excelled on the O’Gorman High School football team. For the young athlete, football was life. In the spring of 1967, Gary’s high school coach/counselor sent film of him playing to NDSSS coach Ed Werre. To this day, Gary is thankful that Ed Werre and Cliff Hermes had faith and confidence in him to succeed in college.
Gary became a standout defensive end and captain of the Wildcat football team. He graduated with an Architectural Drafting and Estimating Technology degree in 1969. It was at NDSSS where he met his wife, Joan Wicklein, a Wahpeton resident and a 1968 NDSSS Liberal Arts graduate. Gary is extremely complimentary of his schooling at NDSSS. He attributes much of his success to numerous faculty, staff and fellow students who supported and believed in him. “The State College of Science believed in me and would not let me fail,” said Gary.
After graduation, he held various industry drafting and design, sales, and management positions before forming his own company, Engineering Repro Systems, with a capital investment of one thousand dollars. The company offered traditional drafting and engineering supplies, computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting furniture, as well as state-of-the-art CAD plotting services via a laser network linking over 30 cities 24 hours a day. By 1990, annual sales exceeded over eight million dollars. Gary served as president of the company for over 19 years. In October of 1999, he sold the company, where he served as one of six senior vice presidents and managed the region five area. The corporation had over 680 million dollars in sales in 2008. He retired in 2012.
Gary is an active supporter both financially and in service to North Dakota State College of Science. He served on the NDSCS Foundation Board of Directors from 1996 to 2008 and held positions of vice president and president. He was the honorary commencement speaker at NDSCS in 1991. Gary has been a financial supporter of the NDSCS 300 Club, Catbackers Club, participant of the DREAMS Auction event and is a member of the Blikre Society. He and his wife, Joan, received the honor of Parade Grand Marshals in 1992 and Wildcats of the Year in 2000. Gary is an NDSCS Letterwinner, Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and one of the founders of the NDSCS Alumni Weekend football event.
Gary is multi-talented and gives generously to his community. He is a published watercolor artist featured in the Minnesota Watercolor Society “Brush Strokes” publication and honored in the Minnesota Watercolor Society Fall Show of 2015. He has spent time teaching young students this medium in his studio and in schools. He was member of the Minneapolis Rotary Club for 15 years where he served as president in 2011. He has continued to support athletics by coaching and officiating youth and high school sports. Gary has also done some public speaking on local and national levels throughout his career.
Gary and his wife currently reside in Wayzata, Minn., and enjoy retirement. Their daughter, Jennifer Oko, NDSCS Nursing graduate, has a bachelor’s degree with honors in Health Leadership from Lewis University, Ill. She and her husband, Tim Oko, have four children and reside in Downers Grove, Ill. Their son, John Marquardt, has his own technology consulting company. He and wife, Kristi, have three children and live in Shorewood, Minn.