Staff Spotlight: Mr. Clark (Facilities Supervisor)
You might catch Benedict (“Dick”) Clark high on a ladder or rushing to resolve a plumbing or electrical emergency, but there is always a glint in his eye that tells you that he loves what he does. His job is facilities supervisor, but what he is most passionate about is getting to see the children every day.
One of his favorite memories from the school is one we mentioned in a Wednesday Messages, when he discovered that he shared a birthday with two Room 1 preschoolers and celebrated with them. He called it his “best birthday ever” and said that “everyone was just bursting with exuberance and good cheer.”
In 2015, upon finding himself a little bored in retirement, “Mr. Clark” jumped on Vince d’Assis’ and Tim Tacker’s request to take over for Tim in this critical facilities role. Dick started here in 2017 and has been working tirelessly ever since. Don’t be surprised to see him here late in the evening or over the weekend. With an older campus like ours, there is always something that needs repairing, and he has the skills and dedication to take care of all of it!
Originally from Rochester, New York, Dick graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts. After trying out law school and realizing it wasn’t a good fit, Dick made his way to the West Coast for a master’s of forestry degree at UC Berkeley. In the admission interview, when asked why he was interested in the program, he answered simply, “I want to be among beauty.” He first surrounded himself with the natural beauty of Mendocino County’s Pygmy Forest, where he did stand-age analysis, studying the correlation between the soil conditions and the trees’ age and height. Some trees were over 80 years old but only four feet tall!
After other forestry work, including in the nearby East Bay hills, Dick worked as a lab tech at UC Berkeley. He worked under two future Nobel laureates, including Kary Mullis, the biochemist who invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, which is currently being used widely in COVID tests.
When he left the position at the lab, the staff at Berkeley didn’t want to lose him, so they found a position for him in maintenance. He received all the necessary certifications, then he spent most of his career doing building maintenance, both at Berkeley and at Kaiser Permanente in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
When he’s not on campus, Dick loves “being in the mountains or the coast with the trees,” and calls himself a “recovering salmon fishing addict” who still gets out on the ocean occasionally.
Dick cares deeply about all our wonderful Meher Schools students and wants them all to know that “they blossom like flowers in their own time and in their own way.”