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Know Your Commissioner: Mark Geller

Know Your Commissioner: Mark Geller

This month Mark Geller celebrates eight years of service on the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, including over six years on the Executive Committee. Learn more about our Treasurer and the unique skills and perspective he brings to the Commission as a business owner, town government official, and natural people person.

The Dane County Towns Association appointed Mark Geller to the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission in June 2014. At the time, Commissioner Geller was serving on the Town of Verona’s Plan Commission. He still distinctly remembers attending his first CARPC meeting and instantly connecting with then-director Kamran Mesbah. From there, Mark steadily increased his participation over time, joining the Executive Committee as Treasurer in September 2015.

As a Commissioner, Mark enjoys participating in Executive Committee discussions on how to move the Commission forward, engage Commissioners, and structure effective meetings. He strongly values CARPC’s role in bringing the region together, promoting a shared vision, and encouraging collaboration between different groups. During the A Greater Madison Vision process, Commissioner Geller enjoyed learning from the Envision Utah initiative and considering how to apply those principles and practices in Dane County.

Since he first joined the Commission, Mark has observed a positive shift in the way Commissioners relate to each other and to community representatives, a shift he has actively contributed to with his own personable, approachable demeanor. He feels that CARPC is now seen less as a potential roadblock to local development and more as a cordial, professional organization offering valuable community assistance services.

Commissioner Trivia: Commissioner Geller bought his first home sight unseen due to snow blocking the driveway during the showing. Luckily, he was able to fix it up and still lives there today!

Beyond his work as a CARPC Commissioner, Mark serves as the Town of Verona’s Chair and leads his own business as the President of Flooring Designs. He has worked in the flooring industry since 1982 (a year that sticks in his memory as it was the Brewers’ last and only World Series appearance). Mark finds value in the rewards of running a small business, including supporting employees and their families, providing a needed service to the community, and meeting new people.

Mark’s experience as a town elected official informs his approach to regional planning. Surrounded by three of the fastest growing municipalities, the Town of Verona remains committed to remaining an independent, healthy township. So far, the Town has been able to maintain its rural character and level of services without increasing the mill rate by strategically pursuing well-planned developments. Commissioner Geller prioritizes staying in tune with the needs and concerns of residents who are impacted by local development decisions and brings this perspective with him to CARPC.

One of Mark’s favorite public service memories to date has been overseeing the construction of a new Verona Town Hall. By strategically selling land to pay for construction costs, the Town was able to create a high-quality building without incurring any debt. The new Town Hall communicates the Town’s distinct identity and contributes to a sense of community as a space for public and private events.  

Commissioner Trivia: While backpacking in Yellowstone, Commissioner Geller was chased up a tree by a bear!

A Dane County native, Mark grew up in Middleton, where his father worked as a painter and his mom ran the household for their family of five. After high school, Mark attended Madison Area Technical College before traveling the country backpacking and working odd jobs. He eventually took a job with a national lumber company, affording him the opportunity to see the country and build foundational skills for working in the construction industry. In 1987, he returned to the capital region, ultimately settling in Verona.

When he does get some down time, Commissioner Geller likes to unplug, including making several trips to the Boundary Waters each year where he embraces complete disconnection. Mark is also an avid paddler, plays in a golf league during the summer months, and enjoys landscaping on his property. He lives in Verona with his wife of nearly 30 years and loves spending time with his two grown children and lovable entourage of dogs and cats.