February, 2020 – Meet NEBC member Benjamin Pariser…
What is your educational background? B.A. in Anthropology, from the University of Florida
What drew you to working in the environmental sector? I actually stumbled upon it by complete accident. In 2010, following the great recession, I started my own real estate consulting business.
We provided property owners a value-added service, acting as an owner’s rep to maximize the value of their real estate. Our focus was on entitlement, development and disposition. Our clientele was a diversified mix of cities, developers and receiverships.
We had a project in Mill Creek, WA that was being entitled for 200+ townhomes and commercial, but a big issue the developer faced was the historical pollution from 7 UST’s. Luckily, in my prior career, I had purchased a polluted property and remembered the seller explaining to me that he had hired an insurance archaeology company out of Indiana, “some guy named Jeff Berebitsky” who had located some old policies that funded the remediation. I found Jeff and then contracted Restorical Research to assist with the Mill Creek site. The rest is history.
In one word, describe yourself. Determined
What’s one interesting fact about you that most people don’t know? After college, I lived and surfed throughout Costa Rica and Panama.
How do you balance your career and family? I work hard when I am in the office and then strive to leave work behind, so that I may be fully present when I am with my wife and our two children.
BENJAMIN ON BUSINESS
What drew you to your company originally? David Valinetz and Jeff Berebitsky started Restorical Research approximately 11 years before I met them through a chance encounter. By this time, I had developed residential and commercial projects in FL, CA, MT and WA over the previous 20 years.
My real estate development career had institutionalized my thinking on polluted properties. I had believed that the only options available for a contaminated site were to 1) discount the purchase price or 2) compel/litigate the polluting entity to fund the cleanup.
When I saw first-hand Restorical Research’s philosophy, process, and the result, I was completely blown away. I knew at that moment that I had to work with Restorical Research.
What are three words to describe your company? Persistent, Creative, Analytic
What is the favorite part about working for your company? Generally, we take tremendous pride and have fun helping clean up the environment one site at a time. Specifically, we have clients where our work has made/will make a life-changing financial impact. These could be family members that inherited a polluted property, non-profits trying to bring affordable housing to their communities, or businesses that were facing bankruptcy due to the financial burden of cleaning up their pollution.
What has been your favorite project at your company? It is difficult to narrow that question to one project. Many of our projects were formerly an eyesore or blighted part of a community. Owners and civic leaders may have given up because of the realization that funding the pollution was infeasible. Being part of the solution, developing a strategy, and implementing it successfully ultimately leads to development and investment. Then, to revisit that same site just a year or two later and see the activation along the streets and placemaking from a former polluted property is very rewarding.
How has your company helped you in your career development? Dave, Jeff and I support one another both professionally and personally. It is very satisfying to work in an environment where collaboration is embraced, and questions are expected. We believe that this ethos permeates Restorical Research, translates to our employees, and is felt by our clientele and partners.
ON THE INDUSTRY
What has your involvement been with NEBC? We joined about 10 years ago to stay informed and connected to ecology, consultants, attorneys, and vendors in the industry. Restorical has received tremendous value from NEBC events, learning about the latest technologies, regulations, and laws that have an impact on the environmental community.
What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to work at your company or in the industry? Any prospective employee of Restorical Research must have each of the following 1) a love for solving puzzles 2) a little bit of OCD running through their veins and 3) excitement at the sight of oxidized paper.