Formerly Berkeley Food & Housing Project
We are thrilled to announce the addition of Mark Stutzman to the BFHP Board! Mark and his wife Susan discovered BFHP in the late 1990’s when they were team leads for Hot Meals for the Hungry. After these meals, they would bring leftover food to the Dwight Way Women’s Shelter. They have been enthusiastic supporters of the organization in its evolving forms ever since.
Mark brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the organization, from entrepreneurship to growth strategy. He served as CEO for industrial construction company Terra Millennium Corporation for 21 years, guiding the company from a small family business with one Bay Area office to a national operation with 32 offices in all 50 states. Now retired, Mark splits his time between Oakland and Park City, Utah. We are honored to welcome Mark to the BFHP Board. His background and passion for our mission will be a valuable asset as we work together to ease and end the crisis of homelessness in our communities.
My name is Mark Stutzman and I have been married to my wonderful wife for 37 years. We have two daughters who are off pursuing their own dreams in the world. I have a degree in chemical engineering and a license in mechanical engineering. I started my career at Chevron as an engineer. Later on, I joined a small regional specialty contractor in the mid-80’s and eventually became CEO after negotiating a buyout in 2000.
I retired last July, after leading the company to grow tenfold in size, with over 3000 employees across 32 offices in 50 states. We’ve been going back and forth for the last five years since my company’s headquarters was in Salt Lake City, it is likely we will now be spending more time in Oakland.
It is! Our company does all types of specialty construction in most industrial manufacturing facilities. We build and maintain large commercial solar power plants, battery plants, semiconductor plants, steel mills, petrochemical plants, paper mills, and cement plants. We also built the last launchpad for Blue Origin in Cape Canaveral. Our focus is on heavy industry, serving big corporations and always taking on new challenges.
It all started in the late 90’s when my wife and I became team leaders for a church program that provided meals for the homeless in Berkeley. We used to cook and coordinate big meals for hundreds of people and then bring the leftover food to a women’s shelter on Dwight Way… which was run by BFHP. This sparked our involvement with the organization and our support grew as we got to know more about the amazing work they do.
My initial goal is simply to help out in any way I can. I’m still learning about affordable housing and how to best provide the homeless with shelter and how BFHP carries out its mission. However, I do bring my experience as an entrepreneur and can offer support in areas such as marketing, back-office operations, and finance… areas where a non-profit organization like BFHP could possibly use additional support.
I was fortunate enough to take a small business and grow it into something much larger. When I joined the company, it was a small operation working out of one office. However, we were able to grow rapidly by telling a great story and marketing our unique approach.
When I became CEO, our contracting company differentiated itself from the competition by using sophisticated design and engineering to solve our customers’ problems, and even make them more energy efficient rather than just repair their facilities “in kind,” or the way it was always done. Our company was also more professional and safer than a majority of our peers. If this approach worked so successfully in this limited geographic region and limited industries, why not expand this approach nationwide to a dozen additional industrial customers? This worked and we grew from a small regional operation to a nationwide dominant industrial specialty contractor.
I see a lot of similarities with BFHP, and I’m excited to help the organization grow and expand to better serve people. While I don’t have direct experience in affordable housing development and homelessness, I believe I can bring valuable insights and support in areas like marketing and strategy.
My wife and I have lived in Oakland since 1986, and it’s hard not to notice the growing number of homeless encampments in the area. Just driving down MLK… it’s a sad commentary to see how our communities are struggling to take care of the most vulnerable among us.
While there is a lot of debate about the solution, I believe that taking action is better than just complaining about the problem. I don’t know what the answer is, but doing something rather than complaining about it is a better solution to me. There’s so many people grumbling out there but not doing anything about it.
I feel incredibly lucky and blessed in my life, and I believe it’s our duty to pass that forward. I got my education paid for with easy to obtain financial aid and low-cost loans that are not as available today. I fell into a position with a company with huge upside potential. So I’ve had a lot of advantages.
Seeing the growing homeless crisis in our communities only emphasizes this need. I’m excited to be a part of BFHP’s mission to provide housing and support to those in need, and to be a part of creating positive change. And making my daughters proud.
A safe place to be with people that you care about.