New Planning and Geology Staff Join R&M
Ben Coleman and Alex Brown recently joined R&M Consultants. Coleman is a Planner in the firm’s Planning Department and Brown is a Geologist in R&M’s Earth Sciences Department. Both professionals bring additional skills and expertise to R&M, expanding the firms’ capabilities.
A former Matanuska-Susitna Borough planner, Coleman has three years of experience in transportation and land use planning, plan and conditional use permit review, data analysis, feasibility studies, and stakeholder and agency coordination. During that time, Coleman was involved in developing transportation plans, coordinating with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities to develop a new Metropolitan Planning Organization in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and working with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Transportation Advisory Board. He is also experienced in grant writing, plan and conditional use permit review, data analysis, feasibility studies, and stakeholder and agency coordination.
“I was looking to jump into a fast-paced work environment that rewarded quality work and going the extra mile,” says Coleman. “I was attracted to the agility that a smaller firm like R&M could provide for both its clients and employees. I’ve definitely enjoyed getting to know everyone since being here—R&M has a killer team, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Since joining the firm, Coleman has provided planning analysis and land use permitting services for the downtown 6th Avenue Multi-Use Redevelopment project and an expanded utility substation in Chugiak. He has a bachelor’s in intercultural studies from Crown College and a master’s of regional planning from Cornell University and is an AICP Candidate. Coleman is also actively involved with the Alaska Chapter of the American Planning Association and is on the Board of Directors for Valley Transit.
Brown originally joined R&M in May 2019 as a materials technician in the firm’s Materials Laboratory. In this role, he provided field inspections, materials testing, sample logging, density testing, and gradation and concrete testing for airport and highway improvement projects. With his interest and education in geology, Brown was a perfect fit for transfer into R&M’s Earth Sciences Department. He moved into this new role at the conclusion of the 2019 construction season.
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“I joined R&M because it seemed like a great local business in terms of its relationship with the communities it works with, and like a safe and lucrative long-term option for my career,” says Brown. “I always wanted to apply my knowledge and skills in practical ways with tangible results, and R&M allows me to do exactly that.”
Since moving into Earth Sciences, Brown has been involved with geotechnical investigations for the Dalton Highway MP 18-37 project and assisted with materials testing and other miscellaneous tasks for a variety of projects. He has a bachelor’s in geological sciences from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
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Alaska’s Giving Pipeline
Few large foundations support “the general good” or social service projects in Alaska, so the Last Frontier has a pretty thin philanthropic layer, according to United Way of Anchorage Vice President Cassandra Stalzer. However, the oil and gas industry has a history of stepping in and filling the gaps in Alaska communities by providing money and volunteers for myriad charitable efforts in the state.