Creating His Own Opportunities
Mark W. Heckele, JD and MBA ’08
Managing Partner, Law Office of Mark W. Heckele, PLLC
By Liz Warren-Pederson
When Mark Heckele was nine years old, an injury brought him to a physician specializing in sports medicine. The profession impressed him. “I want to be that guy,” he remembers saying.
Heckele began positioning himself for a career in medicine. He grew up in San Diego, then attended Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson. At the University of Arizona, he earned his undergraduate degree in microbiology.
He began applying for med school, but then accepted a position with a San Diego biotech firm. “I was there for a couple of years,” he said. “I loved it, but it wasn’t the right fit.”
Heckele returned to Tucson to work in real estate investing. He found that he wanted to know more about finance and business, so he applied for the Eller MBA program. “Once I was in business school, I found that I wanted to learn more about contracts,” he said. Law school seemed like the right fit: he applied to the James E. Rogers College of Law and was accepted.
“During that time, I wanted to be in-house counsel for a biotech firm,” he said, but the economy was faltering and jobs were scarce. “It wasn’t happening,” Heckele said. “I had never seen myself as an attorney — I thought I would do something in business and apply my legal in skills in that realm.”
Heckele changed his mind when he completed a clerkship with Drue A. Morgan-Birch in Tucson. “I really liked it,” he said. So in March 2010, he launched his own firm focused on civil litigation and transactional law in real estate and business. In July 2010, he was invited to affiliate with Karp & Weiss, for which he holds the title of counsel.
Recently, Heckele was among a group of young professionals honored by Inside Tucson Business as one of the city’s Up and Comers.
Heckele is sensitive to what he calls Tucson’s attrition problem: “Many young professionals see the University of Arizona as a stepping stone to their careers, and plan to leave Tucson as soon as they graduate,” he said. “There’s so much potential for economic development in other areas besides bio tech or defense, but right now we don’t have enough to offer young professionals in the way of jobs and lifestyle.” He hopes to change that one day.
“I look back at my education, and I think I took a lot of things for granted,” he said. “While I was going through the system, I didn’t realize how important my education was, but I can see now how it was giving me the tools I need to get ahead in my career, and I’m grateful.”