Happy Anniversary Gustavo, Jonathan, Montana, Rachel & Scott!

Gustavo Porras celebrates his 20th year with Balance, he’s a veteran field geologist with a focus on groundwater, site-scale instrumentation, and installation of wells, piezometers, or controls. Gustavo’s favorite project is Hicks Mountain Ranch, where he has directed development, installation, and finetuning of the real-time water-management system, in which all water is remotely directed from the source wells and springs to agricultural and livestock uses throughout the ranch. A graduate of the New Mexico Institute of Mines and Technology, before joining Balance Gustavo was a regional geologist with the Guatemala Mining and Energy Ministry. Gustavo is passionate about protecting rivers and waterways; he’s an active participant with the Smith River Alliance (http://smithriveralliance.org/), where he participates annually on their fish count. You can participate also, volunteers can snorkel within the canyon walls and clear blue waters of the Smith River and see wild fish in their native habitat.

Jonathan Owens has been with Balance since 1995, 23 years! Jonathan’s happy place is all things outdoors, which is great for Balance since Jonathan directs Balance’s hydrologic monitoring program which spans throughout central and northern California and includes more than 50 watersheds. He directs storm monitoring projects to collect field rainfall and streamflow data used for calibrating hydrologic models, manages projects involving flow hydraulics, riparian roughness, channel morphology, sediment-transport and hydrologic effects of proposed land-use changes. Jonathan has participated in or directed hydrologic monitoring studies in the San Francisquito watershed including bedload-monitoring, and multi-year sediment-transport and bed-condition investigations and other channels near Stanford University for the past 23 years. Jonathan is a member of the Wildcat-San Pablo Creeks Watershed Council, the Council provides a collaborative forum for consensus planning among various agencies, citizen’s groups and individuals for creeks in the Wildcat Creek and San Pablo Creek watersheds. Being one of the more active humans on the planet, it would take far too much space to list where can find Jonathan when not at work, here’s a few: coaching the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Club, competing in Ski-Orienteering events, roller blading through Berkeley, being pummeled in a Nerf war, and biking everywhere. Jonathan is also known for hosting homemade pizza and game night at his house!

Montana Marshall, we can’t believe it’s only been a year since Montana started with Balance. Montana joined Balance during the wettest water years on record in California, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn there was a double-rainbow overhead when she walked into our Berkeley office. We were immediately drawn to her enthusiasm and passion for the work we do at Balance and the experience she brought to the company. Montana joined Balance straight out of Stanford where she earned her Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering, she had also gained experience working as an engineering intern for several firms during her education. WY17 was a very busy year for Balance, as a new hire Montana wasn’t given much time to ramp-up, yet she handled every project that was thrown her way with grace and acumen. Here at Balance nearly all staff participate in Storm Duty, joining our firm mid-way through the wettest year on record was quite the initiation for Montana and amazingly she stuck around. When Montana isn’t at work you may find her at a Balance game night, cruising the streets of Berkeley on her bike, or backpacking in the wilderness.

Rachel Boitano celebrates her 17th year with Balance, however this is Rachel’s second tour of Balance, so really this is her 20th anniversary. Every company has them, that person in the background that keeps the company truly on course. Rachel is ours, as our Senior Accounts Manager she manages expense planning and control, financial analysis, resource management, FAR compliance, budgeting, contract management, account reconciliation, insurance administration, payables and receivables and performance appraisals – WOW. Most importantly Rachel supports our project managers with Budget Tracking using our internal accounting system, helping staff keep their projects on track. Off hours you can find Rachel watching sports – she is a huge sports fan – the list of her favorite teams is long, but no doubt these teams are on the top of her list; NBA – Golden State Warriors (of course), MLB – Oakland Athletics (her office has a definite green and gold scheme), NFL – New York Giants, and NHL – San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers.

Scott Brown celebrates his 16th year with Balance, Scott leads our real-time and early flood warning programs, Alameda County and San Francisquito Joint Powers Authority are two of the larger programs he manages. However, this is certainly not all Scott does for Balance, he is a Professional Geologist in the State of California and has a broad background in both surface and groundwater hydrology, including assessing the effects of urbanization on streamflow and channel stability. Scott leads CEQA-related hydrologic and water supply assessment (SB 610) projects throughout California, including third-party reviews of a water supply assessments. If you have the opportunity to work with Scott, you’ll find yourself in the hands of one of Balance’s most rock-solid project managers and one of the most pleasant humans you’ll ever meet. When he’s not working, you can find him hanging out with his 4-year old daughter, while blasting the soundtrack to “Hamilton” in the background.