When David Marks' next-door neighbor (and high school principal) decided to install a network at the local elementary school, he enlisted the help of the tech-savvy teen. When his dentist decided to upgrade his office computers, Marks offered to build the computers for less. So it was only natural for the 15-year-old to start Nitrus Systems, a custom computer, network and troubleshooting company that's expected to bring in $40,000 this year.
Launched in 1999, the business has given Marks a measure of liberty, both financially and socially: He says his parents don't impose a curfew on him, because chances are, if their son is out at 1 a.m., it's because he's off fixing someone's computer. "I'm not very social in the high school community-I don't associate much with high school kids outside of high school," says Marks, now 18.
The teen is often mistaken as 50-something partner Steve Finalyson's son, even though it's often Marks teaching Finalyson a tech trick or two. Next on Marks' horizon is a two-year hiatus from the business when he will go on a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After that, he'll attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he plans to offer his tech support services to fellow undergrads. -Gisela M. Pedroza
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