Mark Motors – Continuing a legacy of community leadership

Liza Mrak
Liza Mrak (Photo by Mark Holleron)

At Mark Motors, philanthropy is in the company’s DNA.

The late Louis Mrak founded Mark Motors in 1959 after immigrating to Canada from Austria.

What started as a small service center on Montreal Road eventually grew to become the Mark Motors Group, comprised of two Audi dealerships, a Porsche dealership, a Maserati & Alfa Romeo dealership, a Body Shop and a specialized Mark Motors Racing division. All under the direction of Louis’ 4 children – Andreas, Michael, Vincent and Liza, who continue to incorporate their father’s values into the company today.

“He came from nothing,” says Liza Mrak, Mark Motors Group’s Executive Vice-President, of her late father. “Coming to a country that welcomed him with open arms really set the tone on where we got our philanthropy roots from.”

After settling in Ottawa and establishing a family and a business here, Louis strove to give back to the city he’d built his life in.

“When we grew up, both of my parents encouraged that we support the community,” recalls Liza. “Whether it was a dog, a cat, or a neighbor – we’d take them in and help them out, even if it was just for a cup of coffee.”

Fast-forward more than 50 years and the philosophy of lifting the community up is ever present in the Mark Motors family.

Leading by example

Liza currently sits on the committees for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the OSEG Foundation’s Women’s Training Camp. As Liza explains, philanthropy doesn’t always have to come down to monetary donations.

“Business leaders have a lot to offer in knowledge that can help drive certain foundations and organizations,” she explains. For her, everyone has something to give – whether in the form of time, money or experience.

As a proud supporter of several Ottawa-area charities herself, she encourages employees from across the Mark Motors Group to get involved. At times this means facilitating days off for individuals to spend volunteering or sending corporate teams to charity events throughout the city.

“We always try to find ways to make our employees feel part of something,” she says.

Corporate culture

Today, the Mark Motors Group is a proud supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, the National Arts Centre, Royal Ottawa Hospital, the United Way and others.

As Liza explains, the automotive group’s commitment to philanthropy boils down to a simple question.

“If organizations like ours didn’t support it, where would our community be,” she asks rhetorically. “We need to continue to support where we can and stay connected to our community.”

“Ottawa’s a big city, but small at the same time,” as Liza puts it. “The sense of belonging is very apparent. When you look at giving back to the community, it’s really easy.”

Learn more about the Mark Motors Group at MarkMotorsGroup.com.