Each month, we have the pleasure of getting to know one of our Brooks Resources team members just a little better. This February, we asked Dale Van Valkenburg a few questions about his work as Director of Planning & Development, and what he likes to do when he’s not crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s for various projects.
What’s a typical “day in the life” in your role with Brooks Resources?
I am the person who develops the entitlement strategy and prepares the necessary land use applications to get our development projects approved by the appropriate governing body. I don’t really have “typical days.” Each day’s work depends on where we are in the process of strategy and implementation. I have been very busy with coordinating the details of our next development phases of Discovery West with our development team at Brooks, our consultant team, and our development partners. This has included drafting extensive “burden of proof” statement to support the land use application. Meanwhile, strategic planning for future projects and “other duties as assigned” are always ongoing.
What are you passionate about when it comes to your job?
I love seeing a project progress from land acquisition, early strategic planning, conceptual to final design, figuring out the entitlement puzzle and working through that process, and then seeing the projects come out of the ground.
What is the best way to start the day?
I start every day early with a hot cup of coffee and some quiet time in my hot tub. It’s become a habit and an essential part of getting my day started off the right way.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who are fearless in presenting their authentic selves to the world, speaking truth to those who need to hear it, and who do the right thing without worrying about opinion or repercussions. As I write this on January 18th, it occurs to me that Martin Luther King Jr. Is someone who embodied those ideals.
What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t working?
I prefer to be outside whenever possible, and my repertoire of activities I pursue has expanded in the last year to include a return to mountain biking and cross country skiing, activities that I had largely given up on after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 13 years ago. I also still love to hike, backpack, camp, and white-water raft, especially multi-day trips on remote wilderness canyons.
What skill would you like to master?
I’m working on improving my listening and observations skills. It’s actually a more challenging skill to master than I would have thought.
What are your favorite things about working for Brooks Resources?
There are many positive aspects to working for Brooks Resources, including the fantastic group of people I work with, but first and foremost for me is the long-term community perspective that is considered with every development project we do. While the bottom line is important, it is not the only driver of decisions we make, and that perspective is reflected in the finished products I am proud to say I had a role in.
What do you wish someone would ask you?
“Now that you’ve won the lottery, what are you going to do with all that money?”
What’s on your bucket list this year?
After a year of staying close to home, I would like to do some international travel and get out of my comfort zone. It feels like a year to expand my horizons rather than settling in.
What makes you feel accomplished?
There is something very satisfying about seeing visions become reality; shepherding a project through from early planning stages to completion and then experiencing the finished project when the work is done.
Tell me a little bit about your family and how you spend time together.
I can’t talk about my family without discussing what happened to us in September of 2019. While on a family vacation in Canada, I lost Charlotte, my wife, mother of my children, and life partner of 35 years to a car wreck caused by an impaired driver. Obviously, it has been devastating for me and our young adult children (Meredith, 25 and Hendrick, 22). While COVID-19 has not been easy for anyone, it has allowed us more down time together to heal and move forward as a family in ways we would not have been able to do otherwise, as we all work and study from home in Bend. While there definitely are struggles, we are thriving in many other surprising ways. Meredith is carrying on in her mother’s footsteps working in architecture, Hendrick has earned his pilot’s license on the way toward his goal of becoming a commercial pilot, and I have a new relationship with a wonderful woman who I have known as a friend for years.
Anything else to add?
The tragedy I endured has revealed to me the importance of relationships in our lives. I had no idea how many people care about me and my family before this happened. I now firmly believe there is nothing else that matters nearly so much in this life as loving our friends and family well. Go hug your loved one(s) now!