After spending time on the telephone with rising entrepreneur and newly-minted NASCAR co-owner Anthony Marlowe, it becomes abundantly clear he’s the type of person you want to root for: infectious and upbeat personality, radiating magnetism and confidence, but unassuming and gracious. The 34-year old LaGrange, IL native is an astute and hard-working Greek American who just experienced a mind-numbing past 12 months, not the least of which was a wedding to his sweetheart, Julia Dirks. Despite all his successes and good fortune, he’s not forgotten from whence he came.
“He was always humble and thoughtful. I’m proud of him. He comes from a good family and he worked hard for his success,” recalled Lake County, Illinois Judge James Booras, a second cousin of Anthony and a well-known participant in the Chicago Greek American community.”
Anthony’s mother is the former Becky Booras, now Becky Marlowe McPartlin. The Greek side of the family hails from Nestani, Arcadia. Anthony’s yiayia was the now late Demetra (Papastravros) Booras, founder and former president of the Ladies Society of Tsipianation. The family is related to the family of NHL Hall of Famer and native Chicagoan Chris Chelios.
In 2007, Anthony was named to Inc. magazine’s “25 youngest CEOs” list of 5000 corporate executives nationwide. In September 2013, he and his founding business partner, John Burchert, sold a majority of their 10-year old Iowa City-based business process outsourcing company, called TMone, to Enhanced Recovery Company (ERC) of Jacksonville, Florida. Anthony was retained by the purchaser to serve as president. TMone’s operations include inside sales, global customer service and account management for Fortune 500 companies. The company itself was named to Inc.’s 500/5000 list for the seventh consecutive year. It has produced significant sustained growth, adding personnel in each of its last five years alone – a feat accomplished by less than 1.5-percent of all companies nationally.
“As a leader in human CRM and major mass markets, Anthony calls much of the Fortune 500 a friend,” read a statement from ERC. “Marlowe maintains relationships with many industry leaders across a variety of industries, from Silicon Valley to Charlotte (North Carolina).”
Anthony told CorridorBusiness.com, “The new boss is Robert L. Johnson. That’s a big deal to me and to John (Burchert) and to our team…He has been such an amazing entrepreneur and focused all of his efforts since the BET exit on community development and betterment and supporting entrepreneurs, to drive opportunities and to drive wealth creation for various industries…”
The sale of TMone was described by Anthony as “a dream come true.” The proceeds have afforded him a unique opportunity to give back to the young innovator community, specifically by funding promising startup ventures. To that end, he recently founded Iowa City Capital Partners (ICCP), where he serves as managing partner.
ICCP’s first big splash was the acquisition of a minority stake in Swan Racing, whose founder and majority owner is Brandon Davis. Swan features two drivers on the NASCAR Spring Cup Series, Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman, #2 and #6 respectively in the most recent Sonoco Rookie Rankings. On February 20 of 2014 – just one day after Anthony’s engagement proposal – Swan hit a milestone, qualifying both Whitt’s #26 and Kligerman’s #30 car in the Dayton 500, the pinnacle of NASCAR. Anthony often `tweets’ @anthonymarlowe — which boasts 50,000+ followers — about NASCAR, a passion he has followed since childhood.
Swan has partnered with some high-profile investors and sponsors of late. First, they brought on former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski as an investor, and in 2014 they announced a partnership with famous rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who will have brand logos imprinted on Swan Racing cars for 50 Cent’s SMS line of headphones. Those logos will also be featured on the drivers’ uniforms and the drivers will be featured on SMS audio headphones. The agreement also includes periodic appearances by 50 Cent at races throughout the 2014 season.
“While our firm invests in later-stage companies across the country, ICCP is generally focused on angel funding for startups and local entrepreneurs, many with ties to the University of Iowa, such as clusterFunk.com,” said Anthony. Thus was his foray into becoming an “adopted Iowan,” as Anthony labeled it. ICCP typically invests between the range of $25,000 to $1,000,000 during the first round of financing and will consider syndication if investing in a company requires larger amounts. Their focus is generally within the technology, education, business services, e-commerce and energy sectors, and the professional sports industry.
Anthony calls ICCP his “side project, or solo gig.” In an interview with the Silicon Prairie News, which covers Midwest technological ventures, Anthony was quoted saying, “Being an entrepreneur over the last decade, it’s unbelievable how many people tell you `no’ or that you don’t fit inside their box or meet their criteria…(ICCP) is my way of giving back to the community because there’s a lot of talented people out there who deserve to be told ‘yes’…I don’t care to do every deal out there. I don’t want to, it’s not prudent and frankly, I don’t like every deal. But the more and more risk capital that we can inject into the Iowa City and University of Iowa braintrust for kids to take the chance of living their dreams, the better off we’re going to be. Not everyone is going to succeed, but there are a bunch worth the valiant effort, and enabling that effort to be attempted is what will help us grow.”
While Anthony himself was growing (up, that is), sports were a big part of his upbringing. His father, Mike McPartlin, is an attorney who was also a hockey coach and founded Bridgedale Academy. Mom Becky is an interior designer and real estate developer. Anthony attended Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Churchin Westchester, IL as a youth, and today he’s part of the stewardship committee at St. John the Baptist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has two brothers – Nicholas Marlowe of LaGrange, a construction executive with actress Jennifer Lopez’s Viva Movil; and Demetrius Marlowe, a sergeant with the Johnson County, Iowa Sheriff’s Office. Anthony attended St. Cletus grammar school and Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, though his sophomore and junior years were spent at Marist Catholic High School where he played ice hockey and was part of a state championship team and Chicago Catholic League Kennedy Cup Championship.
“The first time I ever drove a car, I was 13 years old and went with Chris Chelios, my third cousin in the Greek vernacular, to get Brendan Shanahan (former St. Louis Blues great) from Midway airport,” Anthony revealed to us. “Chris pulled up to the terminal and said ‘get in the driver’s seat and move it if they (airport security) get mad.’ Then he darted away. Well a minute later, the cops freaked out and the next thing I know I’m running circles around Archer Avenue and the airport. I’m scared I’m going to get busted. Then I remembered that Chris and (Jeremy) Roenick’s golf clubs (Roenick, another Blackhawks great) were in the back of the SUV. So I found a spot with no cops and parked it and put the bags out. The cops walked by and said to move and I said I’m waiting for these guys and pointed to the bags, with their names embroidered on it. The cops said `no problem,’ and to ‘let us know if anyone messes with you, kid, we’ll handle it.’ I played hockey with Chris, Jeremy, Brendan, D.B. Sweeney, and the rest of my cousins that day. Pretty fun day. Although they contemplated taking me to the bar with them, I had to stay behind while they finished the day off in true summer hockey fashion.”
Even at the tender age of 13, young Anthony had the enterprising know-how to improvise and pivot, a lesson which has served him well in the real world later in life. And he drove a mean oval around Midway Airport, to boot!
This article was first published in March 2014 in The Greek Star