SBDC Hall of Fame

Doreen Marks

Doreen Marks

Doreen Marks
Otis Products
Watertown SBDC

Doreen Marks conceived the idea of a portable gun cleaning kit after a bad day of hunting. She was 15 years old at the time, and before another year had passed, she developed a prototype. Her first sales came at an industry trade show, and as the orders rolled in, she put her family to work around the kitchen table. The product was a three and a half inch cleaning kit attached to a belt called "The Whole Kit and Caboodle."

Doreen first consulted the SBDC in 1994, when her company had been in business for 10 years and needed working capital to finance a period of significant growth. SBDC also assisted with their application for HUBZone certification. In subsequent years, the company has been awarded several sizable contracts by the General Service Administration, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security.

From a single idea, Doreen now has 30 patents and two new patents pending. She has successfully defended two of the patents against infringement. Based on the patents, Doreen and her family have created 180 firearm maintenance products that are recognized by professional firearm users as the most advanced gun care system worldwide.  The products are sold worldwide to military and law enforcement agencies including the FBI. Kits have also been sold to the US Postal Service and large retailers such as L.L. Bean and Cabelas. One product is being considered by the military as standard Army issue equipment.

Doreen has been recognized by a number of organizations from the Army to Ducks Unlimited. In 2000, she received an Excellence in Small Business award from SBA. In 2001, the Watertown SBDC gave her their APEX award for excellence. In 2002, she was named a "New York State Senate Woman of Distinction." In 2003, the client received "Small Business Person" of the Year awards from SBA and New York State.