Meet the Staff

 Mike Absher

Dealer Principal


I was born and raised in Southern Illinois. I grew up in a "car family" on both the maternal and paternal-side as both of my grandfathers and both parents were car dealers. I started working in the shop as a custodian starting at age 12, and worked at the dealership until graduation from high school.


I graduated Marion (Illinois) High School and then was admitted to and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point New York with the intention of being a career Army officer. I ultimately left the Academy and the Army voluntarily and returned home. I then enrolled in SIU-Carbondale and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. I worked at the family dealership throughout my college years as a warranty administrator and service writer.


Upon graduation, I was employed as Parts and Service Director, sales manager, used vehicle manager until I left the family company in 2003 to start a software firm named DealerWare LLC selling F&I Menu Selling software to car dealerships. We were very successful and this was the wildest ride of my life. We ultimately were endorsed by American Honda and were in the process of rolling out our software to the Honda dealerships nationwide, when our biggest competitor decided to take me out. And so, they did, and I sold DealerWare in 2006 to DealerTrack, Inc. 


I decided to get back into the business I missed so much and purchased Marion Ford, Inc in my hometown. I have since purchased three other dealerships, in Marion IL, Paducah KY, and Madisonville KY, and that has evolved into the Watermark Auto Group.


I have played the trumpet for nearly 38 years, and enjoy every opportunity I get to play in a brass quintet with some friends from high school and college. I also enjoy woodworking, and have lots of cool equipment that is really dangerous, but I never turn on because I am too busy in the car business.


I have been married for 21 years to Cheryl, who is a licensed non-practicing attorney. We have three sons aged 16, 13, and 10.

I recently retired from service on the Southern Illinois Healthcare Board of Trustees which is the largest employer in our region with 3300 associates. I serve as the President of our local school board, and enjoy lending my time and talents to all organizations that are crazy or desperate enough to want or need my help.

 Brad Poole
Brad graduated from high school in West Frankfort in 1987 but, he'll be the first person to tell you that he is from Ohio. Brad still wears Buckeye underoos. They are the underwear that's fun to wear! After high school, Brad attended John A. Logan College and then transferred to SIU, graduating in 1991. Brad has worked at a dealership since 1992 and has held the positions of Salesperson, Body Shop Manager, Sales Manager, General Manager, and COO of Watermark Auto Group and now he has fulfilled his dream of having an ownership stake.  Brad has never used the phrase "not my job". Ensuring that both employees and customers are happy is Brad's primary goal. Brad has a can-do attitude and he always, always practices forward motion never letting life or any situation discourage him. When Brad isn't working he's mowing, playing sports, watching sports or putting an obligatory beatdown on Jon Wofford on the tennis court. However, his favorite past time is spending time with his bosses, wife Melanie and daughter Mackenzie who is attending Saint Louis University.
 Kevin Jones
General Manager
Kevin is from DuQuoin originally, but now calls Pinkneyville home.  He has been in the car business since 1980 and has held many positions.  He is now the General Manager at the all new Watermark Nissan of Marion.  When Mike Absher and Brad Poole decided to buy the Nissan franchise they immediately knew that Kevin was the man to run the daily operations.  When he isn't running circles and wearing many different hats at the dealership, Kevin enjoys watching his daughter play softball for the Rend Lake Warriors.  Kevin has seven children total and ten grandchildren.  He and wife Marie love to travel and especially enjoy Panama City Beach.
 Damon Wright
Finance Manager

Damon is from Salem, Illinois and has lived there his whole life.  He has been in the car business since 1999 and before that was a financial advisor.  He was Kevin Jones' first choice for a finance manager at the new dealership.  The two of them had worked side-by-side for several years already.  Damon and wife Patricia Wright have two children, Joshua and Sophia.  Together, they make a beautiful family.
 Gloria Greer
Sales Associate

Gloria is from a very small Southern Illinois town, New Minden, IL. She has been in the Automobile business since 1985. Spending most of her career locally, between a dealership in Carbondale and one in Marion. She decided a few years ago to move to Florida for warmer weather and most recently was employed at BMW, VW, Porsche of Ocala. However, desiring to be close to family, Gloria and husband Charles decided to move back home.  Gloria feels especially blessed to be able to spend time with her 90 year father!

Gloria likes to cook, travel and spend time with family.
She would like to invite all her past customers to come in for a new or pre-owned vehicle, or just come by and say hello.
 Keith Lynam
Sales Associate

Keith joined Watermark Auto Group in September of 2014. He has been in the Automobile business in southern Illinois for over 12 years. And has helped thousands of customers find the right car with a kind and honest approach! Keith is looking forward to opportunities to grow with Watermark 

Keith was born and raised in Council Bluffs Iowa. He is Married to his best friend Carole for 14 years, they have four children between them and 4 grandchildren. 
Keith Spent over 20 years in the insurance business as a regional manager for AFLAC. 

Keith enjoys spending time with his family. Keith is supporting Carole in her ongoing courageous battle with Stomach Cancer. After trying his hand at stock car racing for a few years he is now a NASCAR fanatic. Keith is very community oriented and lives in Christopher IL. Keith and Carole enjoy their hobby within the local haunt industry. They have spent many years running their own Haunted house benefiting local charities and now focus on their home haunt and lending a hand to other local haunts. 

 Gary Stark
Sales Associate

Gary is a welcome addition to our team here at Watermark Nissan of Marion.  After being in private business, Gary joined us in 2015.  Gary likes to go hiking, running and spending time with his family and church family.  Gary and his wife, Leslie, have a son Ryan who recently graduated from high school and will be studying meteorology at Mississippi State University. Go Bulldogs!
 Keri Bartley
Sales Associate

Keri is originally from Norris City, but now resides in Carterville with her 2 dogs and 1 cat. She graduated from SIU with a Bachelors Degree Biomedical Sciences. 

She has been in sales for a little over 8 years and we are happy to say she decided to join our Watermark family in January 2018. In her spare time she enjoys crafts, being outdoors and spending time with her family. She is a muscle car fanatic and loves driving her Mustang! She is also a HUGE FAN of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Scott Phelps
Sales Associate

Scott was raised in Eldorado, Illinois, where he graduated high school.  He returned to Marion and has resided there for the last 30 years.  Scott began his career in banking, holding various positions.  After 23 years, he felt that there was a need for a career and life change.  Since then, Scott has been in the car business for almost 5 years.

On April 8, 1989, Scott married the love of his life Gayle Saffelder.  Gayle works as a registered nurse at the Marion Veteran's hospital.  They have two children, Shelby and Connor Phelps.  

Scott and Gayle have been greatly involved in the Marion community.  They are members of the St. Joseph Church.  Scott has served on a number of boards and committees while in Marion.  These include the pastoral council at St. Joseph Church, American Red Cross Blood drive coordinator, Chamber of Commerce, Hospice of Southern Illinois volunteer, Marion Soccer board, Knight of Columbus officer, and Rotary Past President.

Scott enjoys spending time with Gayle at some of Southern Illinois's local vineyards, playing golf, refereeing a spirited game of soccer, and enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon in the pool with friends. He also enjoys any time he can spend with his family.

Marina Newberry
Owner Loyalty Manager

We are so happy to announce that Marina and her husband welcomed twins. We are so excited for her - right now she is on maternity leave but we can't wait to update you with pictures and news - check back for updates on this beautiful family.

 Mirabella McKeown

More details coming soon!
 Marie Jones

Marie has been with Watermark Nissan of Marion since December of 2016. Previous to working here, she owned and operated her own hair salon for 27 years. She currently resides in Marion, with her husband of 21 years, Kevin. Together they have 7 children and 10 grandchildren. When Marie is not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family.
 Steve Alfter
Service & Parts Director

Originally from Aurora, Steve now lives in beautiful Ozark.  He has been in the car business since 1984, in the service arena since 1990 and has worked with Nissan for over 16 years!  We are lucky to have Steve on our team!  When Steve isn't working, he likes to hunt and go horse-back riding.  He and his wife, Kara, have one son, Adam.  They have a bunch of other "children" - Tucker & Boomer (horses), Spencer, Little-Bit & Sissy (dogs), CeCe, Gee-Gee, Sonny, Shadow, & Sambra (cats) and 13 chickens!

 David Hayes
Parts Manager

Although David is new to the automotive business, he brings a lot of experience to our team.  David was in the power sports business for over 31 years as a dealership owner representing Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Yamaha & Arctic Cat.  David enjoys power sports (can't imagine why) and music.  David is married to his beautiful wife, Wanda.

 Cynthia Stewart
Parts & Service Consultant

Cyndi is from Herrin and now Galatia is called home.  Don't let her being new to the car business fool you, Cyndi has a lot of experience in the parts and service business; for the past 6 years, she has worked in the ATV, UTV and motorcycle industry.  Cyndi likes fishing, riding her Teryx, swimming and spending time with her granddaughter, Rylee AND... she still finds time to work on remodeling her house.  Cyndi and her husband, James, have a son, Nick and daughter-in-law, Chelsea (Rylee's parents). They also have a dog, Itty.  

Josh Bloodworth
Service Consultant

Josh is a resident of Carterville. His passion is cars and he has turned that passion into a career. He started int the car business in 2005. He has been certified through Ford as a technician and has now moved to the business side of things as a service consultant for Nissan. He is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can bring! Customers can recognize him by the smile that is always on his face! When he isn't helping our customers, his time is spent with his wife, Paige and two son's Kaden and Jamerson & daughter Skylar

Tyler Huber
Express Lane Service Consultant

Tyler joins us from Edwardsville and now lives in Carbondale.  We are pleased to announce that Tyler is now an Express Lane Service Consultant. He has been working in the automotive industry for a little over two years and has earned his Associate's Degree in Automotive. Tyler is currently attending SIU Carbondale to get his Bachelor's Degree in Automotive Technology.  When Tyler has free time, he enjoys fishing, archery and street racing (in his own car).  Tyler is engaged to his fiancée, Becky.

Dillon Mallery
Service Technician

Dillon is from Carterville and now lives in Marion. Prior to working here, Dillon worked at Sams in the tire department. He has been with Watermark since 2012. When Dillon isn't busy as a technician at Watermark Nissan of Marion, he likes to weight lift, play video games, and travel and have adventures with his girlfriend, Taylor.

Cody Jones
Service Technician

Cody is originally from Aurora, graduated high school in Herrin and now lives in Carterville. He has been in the car business for 13 years and working with engines since he was 13 years old. Before children, his hobbies were anything dirt bike related. Now, he spends every chance he can practicing softball and coaching games with his older girls and hanging out with this 1 year old daughter - watching her grow. He and his wife, Kaci Jones, have 3 girls Khloe who is 9, Kalli who is 8 and Rilyn, who is 1. 

 Rich McPherson
Service Technician

Rich currently lives in West Frankfort, Illinois.  He has been working in the Automotive Industry since he was 16 years old. He has received 2 college degrees in Automotive Repair. He is ASE Certified and Nissan Certified. In his spare time, Rich enjoys riding his 4-wheelers and spending time with his son Logan. He also enjoys taking his boat out to go fishing with his family. Rich is also a US Army veteran and he is a huge Patriots fan!

 Isaac Phipps
Express Lane Technician

Ike is from Pittsburg, IL. He has worked at various construction jobs before coming to Watermark Nissan. If there is a local rodeo going on, you will find him wrestling steer and busting broncs. 
 Darrell Coleman


More details coming soon.

Josh McReynolds
Quick Lane

Josh was born an raised in West Frankfort. He has been working on cars for about a year and enjoys learning more and more about them. In his spare time, he enjoys working on his car and hanging out with his friends. He is currently single and loves his German Shepherd, Baxter and peek-a-poo, Rocky.

Andrew Bloodworth

Andrew has been working in the car business for several years now and we are happy to say that he is with Watermark Nissan of Marion. Working in Detail, Andrew cleans up vehicles for our service customers. He also helps out in Parts with pick ups and deliveries. He is engaged to be married and enjoys spending time with his and 2 boys, Kendall and Braxton. 

 Robbie Groves

Robbie has been in the car business since 1989. When Robbie is not hard at it making a car shine he enjoys fishing, playing pool and going to car shows. Robbie and Sonya married in 2014 and live in Herrin. They have five sons and one grand daughter.