Mark McCreath

Mark McCreath: The Driving Force Behind ExitCertified

When Mark McCreath was pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in Accounting at Carleton University in Ottawa, in 1997, he never thought cars would fuel his career running an IT training company. But the success he experienced selling used cars as a university student ultimately steered him in a whole other direction—technology.

Because Mark was fond of cars, he wanted to see how successful he could be selling them over the four-month summer break his freshman year at the university. Just before the break, he dropped off resumes at every car dealership in Ottawa. Nearly all of them told him the same thing: It would cost too much money to train him to work just four months. But when he got to the last dealership in the city, Car Canada—the Canadian version of Car Max—the manager said his persistency and education in commerce could be an asset to the business and hired him.

Mark became a top salesperson, and at the end of the summer, he met with a couple of managers. He told them that during the weekdays they were paying salespeople to stand around most of the day. But on the weekends, when nearly 80% of cars were sold, the salespeople ran around like chickens with their heads cut off and could barely service all the customers.

Mark presented a remedy: He could work on weekends during the school year. For the rest of his days in school, working solely on weekends, he earned nearly as much as he had that first summer working five days a week.

After graduating from the university in 2000, Mark received job offers from major CPA firms and an offer to become a manager at the car dealership. But one of the car managers said he should get out of the business unless he wanted to work nearly every evening and on weekends. And if he was thinking of ever having a wife and children and hoped to spend time with them, he should get a nine-to-five job.

From Cars to Technology

Mark heard about an IT training company in Ottawa, which had a close working relationships with the big tech companies of the day like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, companies he wanted to work with. In 2000, he began his IT career with Learnix working as a Senior Account Manager, selling IT training to companies and government organizations. His main account was Canada’s Department of National Defense. Within one year under Mark’s management, it had become Learnix’s largest account.

But even with all the business that was being brought into the company, Learnix was on a downward trajectory due to mismanagement. The company’s VP of Operations and VP of Sales and Marketing decided to leave and asked Mark to help them build a new IT training company. Within six months of the creation of ExitCertified, Learnix had gone bankrupt.


His first four years at ExitCertified, Mark focused on generating revenue in the Ottawa, Canada, market. In 2005, the manager of ExitCertified’s Sacramento training center took maternity leave for four months. Mark moved to California for that period to lead the business responsibilities in that market. He loved California and managing the training center there.

Upon returning to Canada, Mark maintained responsibility for the U.S. business for ExitCertified. In 2008, Mark and his wife relocated to California to allow Mark to focus on growing the U.S. business.  

Over the next few years, growth there accelerated, and in 2010, Mark was named VP of Sales for the company.

“We both realized that over time we were slowly bonding, building a long-term relationship,” said Mark, “and a marriage between ExitCertified and Axcel was inevitable.”

Changing Hands

In 2016, the owners of ExitCertified sold the company to Avnet. One of the owners stayed on board as VP of Education Services to run the business. When he retired two years later, Mark stepped into his shoes to lead the company.

In 2017, Avnet spun off its technology solutions business, of which ExitCertified was part of, to Tech Data.


In 2022, Tech Data merged with SYNNEX, becoming TD SYNNEX. During this period, Jonathan (Jono) Zeidan, CEO of Axcel, approached Mark about a potential acquisition of ExitCertifed.  

In early 2023, they were ready to make a deal. Contracts were signed and the deal closed in June 2023.

Benefits to Customers

ExitCertified is more agile and can adapt to changes in the technology landscape faster than was possible when it was as part of an enterprise. To add a commercial or open-source technology company to the company’s array of training solutions used to take months and now takes only days. The ability to partner with other companies quickly allows ExitCertified to offer more blended solutions for customers. For example, it could offer a course that combines commercial technologies like AWS and Azure with open-source technologies like Kubernetes.


Axcel’s goal is to grow the business organically and let the ExitCertified management team manage the company the way it thinks is most appropriate.

As President of ExitCertified, Mark will continue to use his accounting, commerce, and sales skills to run the company.

Mark did eventually get married. He and his wife had twin boys in 2011 and another son in 2015. He spends time with them most every night and weekends.