Every summer at our annual gala supporting our nonprofit martial arts program, an individual is given the Grand Master J.K. Lee Award for Ethics and Integrity. It is awarded to an individual of high character, committed to community service. The honoree for 2018 was Master Mark Kemp. Master Kemp was one of our first volunteer instructors. He still takes time to work with our teen class and special programs. He is an excellent example of what it means to be a martial artist.
Mark Kemp is the current CEO of Superior Masonry and Concrete Builders, Inc., Past Chairman of MCAA, present Chairman of the Masonry Foundation, President of ACEA of Milwaukee, Past President of WMA and MCA-Milwaukee and a board member for numerous organizations. He graduated from UWM with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Urban Real-Estate Development. Master Kemp and his wife Pauline of 42 yeas have raised three children, Connie, Brian and Christin. They have nine grandchildren comprising of eight girls and one boy. They both cherish the time they spend with their children and grandchildren. Family is the center of their life.
In 1999, after completing a marathon, he decided to pursue something he had always had an interest in, martial arts. After investigating several martial arts schools, he decided on J.K. Lee because of Grand Master Lee’s classes. Currently two of his children’s families have joined. Two years ago, Mark and two of his grandchildren did family forms at the J.K. Lee Tournament. They finished second, but it was a highlight for him even though the kids teased him about bringing them down to second place. He is planning to enter this year with three Kemp family generations, his daughter and three of his grandchildren. When all the grandchildren get together they are constantly doing martial arts drills and take turns teaching class. Martial arts and the J.K. Lee family is part of who he is, and he would not want it any other way. He believes it is important to give young people hope and purpose, to see them grow in confidence and build leadership skills.