Richard Marks completed the South Carolina general contractors exam in 1984. He graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, with a concentration in architectural history and the development of early building technology, from the College of Architecture at Clemson University. While there he participated in a semester of studies in Genoa, Italy, with a focus on European conservation and restoration. He began Richard Marks Restorations in 1985 with the intent of providing a qualified resource in the field of preservation, restoration and architectural conservation.
He undertook graduate studies in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in architectural conservation and historic building techniques, and received his advanced certificate in 1995. In 2003 he helped start the Graduate School in Historic Preservation in Charleston, with Clemson and the College of Charleston, and has taught every student in the program since its inception. He currently serves on the alumni advisory board for historic structures at Clemson University, teaches at the Graduate School, is a former trustee for The Historic Charleston Foundation and an advisor for many other non-profit, preservation, and community organizations.