CAMPBELL − Few people can say they’ve competed in weightlifting at the professional level, and even fewer can say they helped develop a game-changing innovation in the home improvement field. However, Mark Edwards can lay claim to both of these achievements. It all started when he left his job in skylight manufacturing to pursue a very different career. “In the early ’80s, I decided to go into competitive power lifting,” he remembers. “I won third place for my weight class in the Northern California division of the Mr. USA competition, and I ended up opening a gym with a famous heart surgeon.”
Despite these promising beginnings, Mark’s weightlifting career was cut short by a debilitating injury. “I used to do a lot of really heavy lifting with my legs,” he explains. “Since I had very large trapezius muscles, it caused the bar to sit too high on my neck, which, over time, crushed the cervical vertebrae and impinged the nerve holes, ultimately leaving me paralyzed.” Thankfully, Mark was able to make a full, though gradual, recovery. “It took two years of painful physical therapy, but eventually I was able to be 100 percent rehabilitated,” he says. “Obviously, I’m not competing anymore, but I’m at least myself again and can still work out, which I consider a true medical miracle.”
A few years after recovering from his injury, Mark rejoined his brother in the skylight business, where together they developed a ground-breaking technology known as the “sun tunnel.” “The sun tunnel is a skylight that captures light at the roof and channels it into the home through a tubular shaft,” he explains. “What’s really special about this design is that it sidesteps a lot of the structural work that was once required for skylight installation. Today, you can find sun tunnels in homes all over the country.” After selling their design to a major manufacturer, Mark and his brother founded Nulight Solutions, Inc., which handles the installation of skylights and other roof-based products.
A resident of Los Gatos, Mark expresses an appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I’ve received offers to work for companies all over the country, but I’ve chosen to stay here, not least because of the people and the weather. Not only are the people here great to work with, but with all the sunshine we get, it’s the perfect place to be in the skylight business.”
Outside of work, Mark engages in a variety of pastimes, including making improvements to his historic home estate. “I actually live in a castle,” he explains. “It was built in the 1930s and designed by Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle. It was in pretty rough condition when I purchased it a few years ago, so my girlfriend, Lisa, and I are in the process of restoring and refurbishing it.” Mark also enjoys working out at his gym and participating in outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking.
In his life and career, Mark espouses the residual benefits of treating others with kindness and respect. “The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that it pays to be a nice guy,” he affirms. “It’s always done me right, as I’ve found that people tend to reciprocate the kindness that’s been paid to them. I think that’s why I have so many people who are dedicated to me and to getting the job done.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Mark says retirement is the furthest thing from his mind. “I really enjoy being an entrepreneur—right now, I’m actually in charge of five different corporations. I could probably retire now if I wanted to, but I’d rather keep doing what I’m doing for as long as I can.”