Mark comes from a zoo family. His father Dr. Ted Reed was director of the National Zoo and a leading figure in conservation and zoo medicine. He graduated from Kansas State university in 1972 and received his advanced degree from Texas Tech.
Mark’s first zoo job was at the San Antonio Zoo in 1972 as an animal keeper. He became Assistant Director at the Sedgwick County Zoo in 1979 under the directorship of Ron Blakely. In 1991 he was appointed to the post of director. Mark considers the zoos commitment to African Elephants in the Elephants of the Zambezi Valley exhibit to be one of his major achievements for education and conservation of the species.