In Memory of Mark Eugene Karlen


In Memory of Mark Eugene Karlen

October 3, 1960 –June 29, 2015


Donations may be made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

As an outlet and to send a message to his family, an email may be sent to


A note from the family:


Mark Karlen, age 54, of Tampa, FL passed away on June 29, 2015. Mark was born in Naha, Okinawa, to Helen and Glenn Karlen, from Louisville, KY. As a child he traveled with his family while his father was in the Army.  The family settled in Naples, FL. Mark became a world traveler, Goin’ Global on his “BDI Rock Star Tours,” as he would say. He loved telling you about his many encounters and experiences and the beautiful people he met around the globe. He shared these experiences with both his surviving children, Sean A. Karlen and Janelle K. Hutchinson, taking each of them separately and together to different parts of the world. His enthusiasm and appreciation for different cultures was contagious. He would always bring back souvenirs from around the world to share with his surviving family; Mike Karlen, brother, John Karlen, brother, Sharon Mizel, sister, Gina Burgos, sister, Susy A. Karlen and all his beloved nieces, nephews, family and friends. You will be missed dearly and remain in our hearts forever.


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A letter from Tim Saunders, President of BDI:


To all of our friends,

It is with great sadness that I have to announce that on June 29, 2015, Mark Karlen passed away after a 4 year battle with brain cancer.    Over that time span, Mark received various types of treatments and dietary modifications that at times made progress and improvements to his quality of life.  Throughout this process Mark remained so positive and enthusiastic about life and he had the full support of his loving family and his second BDI family.

Mark joined the BDI Team July 1, 2002 after being one of our clients for the previous 5 years while he served as Creative Director at WFTS in Tampa.  Marks final assignment at WFTS was to oversee many aspects of the design and construction of their new facility.  He hired BDI to design and build the studio sets and the newsroom which was prominently positioned as the background for the news set.   Mark also oversaw the implementation of all new graphics , music and branding packages.    It was during this massive project that I fully came to appreciate Mark’s talents and dedication.  Not only did he understand and guide the “big picture” stuff, but he had a tremendous capacity for the details of a project.   He would call me at least 3 times a day with such unique questions such as; “Tim, will your shop be using stainless steel screws, or zinc coated ones ?”.  ” Will the set pieces be delivered shrink wrapped, or bubble wrapped ?”.  ” Is the carpet going to be 36 ounce or 42 ounce density weight ?”.  He loved this stuff, and he cared !

I realized he was the best client we had ever had, and I posed the question to him; “Mark, you have just successfully completed everything you can do for WFTS, and there’s nothing left to do, do you want to join us at BDI ?”.  He gave up his career at WFTS and joined the BDI Team as a Senior Design Rep.  He immersed himself in all aspects of studio design, and was soon flying around the world representing us to networks in India, the Middle East, China, and former Soviet Republics to name a few.   He had a true passion for travel and for meeting new people in new cultures.  He always made it a point to learn greetings and customs everywhere he went.   Upon returning from one of his Multi-country ” BDI rock star tours” he would call us on the phone and enthusiastically proclaim “this is going to be a Big One !”  or “we got the job!” in his latest foreign tongue.

Because of his enthusiasm and ability to connect with people around the world, along with his mastery of design concepts and attention to details,  Mark was a truly successful and valuable  Design Representative, not only for all of us at BDI, but also for his many clients.       He remained part of our “family” to the end, and we will miss him terribly, as I am sure many of you will too.

For those who wish to, we invite you to leave a comment below.


TIM SAUNDERS | President



Mark Working in Shanghai

Mark Working in Shanghai

Mark in Shanghai

Mark in Shanghai

Mark In Dubai

Mark In Dubai


Mark in Beijing

Mark in Beijing

Holiday Party, Dec 2015

Holiday Party, Dec 2015

On Set in Slovenia

On Set in Slovenia


  1. More information will be forthcoming in the week ahead.

    tim Saunders / July 6, 2015

  2. Mark and I worked on many different exciting projects together throughout the years. Mark was enthusiastic, friendly, ambitious and always refreshingly upbeat. He was the type of dedicated professional who would stay awake until 4:30am to take a phone call, respond to an email or send a file, when he was at home or even halfway around the world in another time zone on one of his many international BDI trips.

    Although we did not always see eye to eye on everything, Mark was such a superb and talented salesman he would usually end up convincing me that I was wrong.

    Mark demonstrated such incredible courage, resilience and fortitude after his diagnosis he had me completely confident that it was just a slight bump in the road. So I was both shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.

    I wish I could pick up the phone and call him just one more time to let him know that I always admired and respected him. My deepest and sincere condolences to his family and BDI colleagues.

    Dan Jan Vrem / July 8, 2015

  3. I meet mark and work with him at WFTS as a sales rep in 80’s Most most importantly had a chance to see him in November before he passed. I’ve never laughed so hard in all of my life reminiscing about the great times we spent together… from comparing our prowess in track and field , to his hair, those khaki pants and slip on brown loafers . I will truly miss you my friend “88 in world”
    Los Angeles, ca

    rodney van johnson / July 9, 2015

  4. Someone as special as “MARK” will never be forgotten. He will remain in our hearts forever. miss you and love you very much. gigi

    nuvia heider / July 10, 2015

  5. Very sad to hear his leaving
    feel sorry for your loss.
    if possible to let us know your family account? we like to send small money to show our tributes.

    Li Jing-representing Yutian Socam Av system Co. Ltd.

    LI JING / July 12, 2015

  6. Dear Friends of Mark,
    BDI and Mark’s family thank you for all of your outpouring of memories, your cards and letters and phone calls. On August 1 there was a Celebration of Mark at which his brother John, family and relatives told many funny and touching stories that were “so Mark”. You know what I’m talking about, he was one in a million… He lives on in all of us. God Bless

    tim Saunders / August 5, 2015

  7. I was extremely sad to hear of Mark’s passing. mark and i worked together at wfts for many years and had many interesting conversations. he had a wonderful sense of humor, one that obviously served him well through his fight with this disease. i will miss him very much. he was a great friend and i am better off for having known him. it was an honor.

    Tim Stephens / September 28, 2015

  8. Mark will be missed

    bdi_admin / November 11, 2015

  9. Mark was a student of mine in the commercial art program at Tampa technical institute many years ago. I took classes on field trips to WFTS 28 when he was the creative director there. He inspired so many of my students to become broadcast professionals. I kept in touch with mark for all the years he was with Channel 28. We would get together for lunch at JD’s Cuban restaurant at least twice a month. He was a great student, and the best of the best designer for on-air, print, and outdoor media. He will be grievously missed.

    Douglas Daudt / September 25, 2016

  10. I worked with Mark many years ago at WFTS and have such respect and love for him. A great friend and true talent. The world has suffered a loss indeed. Rest in peace my friend.

    Jennifer johnson / August 2, 2018

  11. Just was informed and so very saddened…the stories about his love for world travels are so on point…I was in Tampa for a couple of days and he was the most gracious host and tour guide, and he gave me a headdress he had picked up as a souvenir in Dubai. RIP friend…

    michael finnegan / September 30, 2019

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