Meet Mark Hubbard

EDmarket Leadership Position: Chairman

Company: Paragon Furniture, Inc.

Title: President

Years in the education business: 18 years

When was your company founded and how? 

Paragon was founded in 1984 by a former educator from Fort Worth, TX.  Our founder accurately assessed that there were insufficient table options to support collaboration between students, so, he made a custom, hexagonal-shaped table, in his garage. Since starting out as computer furniture table maker, Paragon has evolved into a large-scale manufacturer of a diversified portfolio of furnishings designed for educational environments. Our products are actively distributed throughout North America via a value-added dealer network.

Mark Hubbard (second from right) receives that gavel from outgoing Chair James Johnson on November 1 in Portland, OR. Past Chairs, Lee Stapp, Gregory Cooney, Doug Jehle, and Angela Nelson along with EDmarket CEO Jim McGarry were in attendance for the changing of the guard.

What makes your company unique?

Paragon’s unique approach to the Education market is based on a combination of organizational traits:

  1. We are an owner/operator business offering a U.S.-based manufactured product portfolio featuring exceptional durability, highly functional design, and contemporary aesthetics. 
  2. We feature a customer-centric model of servicing and supporting our customers. 

What do you like best about the educational products industry? 

I like knowing that our products directly impact the way teachers and students engage in the learning process.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud/grateful of the responsibility I have been given to lead an extraordinary team of Paragon employees. Since 2004, our business has grown enormously and our product portfolio is arguably the broadest and most relevant among loose furniture providers. Our progress is manifest because of extraordinary employees, suppliers and customers, as well as, starting our journey with a clear vision of the kind of organization Paragon was capable of becoming. Activating and sustaining that vision required a plan and profuse amounts of physical, mental and emotional energy.

PWP Studio Mark meeting with dealers and customers at EDspaces 2022 in Portland, OR.

How had EDmarket helped your business?

EDmarket has helped Paragon by offering an industry platform from which to broadcast the Paragon story and a community of business professionals with whom we can network, learn and grow. 

How has the pandemic changed the educational marketplace?

The most impactful change has been the quantity and timing of capital deployment for product materials. Our company adapted by forming closer relationships with our vendors.

What do you see as the most important role EDmarket can play in the market?

I view EDmarket’s role as the aggregator of industry expertise, including technology providers, furniture manufacturers, educators, curriculum content creators, architect & design professionals, and more.

Focus on current efforts over long term outcomes because doing our work incrementally better each day has exponentially positive results for the students and teachers we ultimately aim to serve. 

What are your top goals to accomplish as Chair of the Board?

My top priorities are:

  1. Increase our membership numbers
  2. Increase our recurring revenue streams

What would you like to see EDmarket champion?

The most important program currently is the EDmarketplace initiative. If we can create a valuable purchasing consortium for dealers and suppliers, we will have an extraordinary revenue generating opportunity.

How can the membership assist you in reaching these goals?

Current membership needs to be made aware of the need right now to grow our membership if we want to remain relevant. This means that every member should be talking about why EDmarket is important and how becoming an association member increases the value our collective business interests. 

What one piece of advice would you give others in our industry?

Focus on current efforts over long term outcomes because doing our work incrementally better each day has exponentially positive results for the students and teachers we ultimately aim to serve. 

Mark Hubbard

Mark is the President of Paragon Furniture and Chair of the Board of the Education Market Association. He has served on the EDspaces Planning Committee, EDmarket Executive Committee, Equipment Manufacturers Council.