Every ship needs an anchor, and at Benchmark Resources, that’s Dave Brown. Dave is often just “one of the gang” at the office, but as founding principal and president of the firm, he is also our respected leader. Dave is calm in the face of situations that would cause others anxiety, decisive when debate needs to end and action needs to begin, and always ready with sound advice drawing from his sharp recollection of experiences from his work in land use permitting, SMARA, and environmental analysis since the early ’80s. He’s real, he’s honest, and—who would have guessed it—he does the best impression of a waddling duck, which he busted out perfectly at a crowded and contentious public hearing when he decided that nothing short of an actual demonstration would achieve his client’s objective. While Dave often feeds us good advice, he also feeds us great food. Some of us try to resist, but there’s no denying that we all crave what Dave has to offer in leadership, advice, and calories.
If Dave Brown is the glue that holds Benchmark Resources together, Bruce is the contact high we get from that glue. Bruce is the perpetual up-lifter at the office, from his singing when he first walks through the door in the morning to his lighthearted “I’m putting you in charge” command to one of us when he leaves for the day. His infectious character leaves us all spouting Bruce-isms at the office and at home (you know that’s right). Bruce is “magical” at being a facilitator and diffusing tense situations, which comes in handy at team meetings and public hearings for controversial projects. He approaches nearly everything he does with true gusto, whether explaining CEQA or formulating project strategies. Bruce also applies his intelligent, positive, and truly joyful attitude to coaching his son’s baseball team and trouncing us in office ping pong games. Benchmark Resources simply could not exist as we know it without the continuous contact high we get from Bruce.
Andrew likes to tell us how much of a troublemaker he was as a youth, but somehow he ended up with a fully developed brain, and he puts it to good use at Benchmark Resources. Maybe it’s his background as an attorney, but Andrew is talented when it comes to developing an analytical approach to any problem, whether it’s how to address a complex land use entitlement and environmental issues or planning and permitting controversial projects. Andrew makes a point to be “in the know” in the industry goings-on (SMARA, SMGB, and CEQA updates), but we know he also attends all those agency meetings and workshops to have an excuse to visit cool new restaurants and breweries.
His 4 a.m. e-mails are not meant to impress, he simply uses the freedom provided at Benchmark to run his own schedule. Bob is perpetually “on” when it comes to driving projects and resolving CEQA and NEPA issues. His productivity during the early morning—which some of us think of as the middle of the night—is just one of many signs of his dedication. Sure, his mountain bike rolls some dirt onto the office floor every once in a while when he returns from a lunch ride, but that’s a small price to pay. Bob’s long-term environmental planning experience is nearly as valuable to us as his witty one- (or two-) liners during staff meetings. Bob is the embodiment of tenacious, and just the guy you want assigned to that tough project.
After running her own environmental planning business in Oakland, California, she decided that being part of Team Benchmark was an offer she couldn’t refuse. Nisha has extensive environmental permitting and regulatory experience, especially related to water, solar, and land development. She is a thinker who is good at seeing the forest in spite of all those trees blocking the view. She also likes to flee to the forests for some hiking, camping, mountain biking, snowshoeing, you name it. She just likes to be outdoors. When she’s indoors, you can find her holding down the fort at our Oakland office, using her excellent organizational skills to help her clients meet their environmental permitting and regulatory compliance goals and requirements. Nisha also has two kitty assistants who ensure her lap stays warm while she gets her work done.
At Benchmark Resources, we know mining. However, being experts in mine planning and permitting wasn’t enough, so we brought on Andrew to help us get our hands dirty. With over 25 years as a geologist and engineer at gold, limestone, and specialty sand operations throughout the country, Andrew brings development and production experience to our clients. Whether he is designing a haul road, evaluating the reserve, or offering advice on equipment, his breadth of capabilities is remarkable. Don’t be confused by the road bike in his car next to the rock pick and sample bags. Like Superman, Andrew will change from a bike helmet to a hard had in the blink of an eye. He is an experienced and talented road cyclist, using his down time to ride California’s backroads and stay in shape for his frequent road races.
Environmental Analyst/Technical Editor
BC (before Christy), rules about compound modifiers, punctuation placement, and dangling participles were less important than regulations. Then we got religion. Benchmark values high-quality documents, so we brought on Christy to make sure the work abides by the rules of English, not just the rule of law. She joined the firm after years of experience with publishing companies and international environmental consulting firms. At Benchmark she was given the latitude to implement her analytical talents in environmental analysis and apply her graphic training to creating visual simulations. Christy has prepared project aesthetics simulations that are so realistic looking you would not know the project is not already complete. Christy is also in the thick of Benchmark’s cycling subculture, but, as the postride pint of local brew might suggest, she’s a mountain biker at heart.
Benchmark Resources has always set high standards for its graphics, but Mark’s training as a landscape architect took our topography to new elevations. Mark manages our CAD and GIS design department, as well as our need to know anything about modern films and television series (from Game of Thrones to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and don’t even get him started on UFC fighters. Mark is always looking to improve our game, hitting management up for things like new rendering software for creating more realistic 3D graphics and video fly-throughs of projects. Benchmark’s superior project designs are even better with Mark’s execution.