Ajay Anand

 

Pisit Charoonsriswad
vice president,Thai Select

 

Mark’s entrepreneurial journey began back in his homeland of Bangkok, Thailand. There he attended the Presbyterian Christian Church High School where the foundations of his English education and faith were formed. After completing his bachelor’s degree at Kiti Commercial College (KCC), Mark decided to expand his worldview and immigrated to New York City in 1974. Starting from the ground up his first job was at Baskin Robins making ice cream cakes while continuing his higher education at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Through his travels and adventures in New York City he landed a managerial job at West Side Copy and eventually bought the business in 1990. With his own business in hand Mark was able to make time for community work establishing the first Thai Christian church in New York called The Chao Thai Reformed Church of Yonkers. As one of the founding members of the church Mark and a team of devotees lead the charge to fundraise, restore and develop the church into the beautiful incarnation we see today. Mark is presently Senior Deacon of the church and contributes as an advisor to the current board. Mark has also made time for his ethnic community as member of the Thai Cultural Center, a school for children of Thai immigrant families, where he participates as the lead Sports & Recreation organizer for the school. It was around this time in the early ‘90s Mark moved to the suburbs of New Jersey with his wife and child and lived the American dream. Mark continued to be an active member of the community and by the time his son graduated college and left home his entrepreneurial spirit came calling again. In 2007 Mark opened up his first restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and grew it with his partner into the empire it is today now comprising of six restaurants total under their Thai Select Restaurant Group. During this time as a restaurateur he became aware of all the challenges restaurants, especially Thai restaurants faced and decided to rally the community together and form a coalition to help one another. The New York Thai Restaurant Chamber of Commerce was born in 2013 with the sole purpose of supporting small businesses, specifically Thai restaurant businesses, with legal help and start up advice to newcomers. Presently the Thai Restaurant Chamber of Commerce is active with projects like New York’s Thai Restaurant Week and the Songkran Weekend Walk (two-day street fair celebrating the Southeast Asian New Year). Mark’s achievements so far speak volumes about his entrepreneurial spirit as well as compassion for his community that is no doubt rooted in his faith and determination for success.