"When we need assistance
in completing a project, we hire the experts in their field,
and hire the best for the specific task, such as Doug Herring.
We hired Doug for the La Vista Quarry permit extension because
of his reputation. He was recommended by and is held in very
high regard by the Alameda County Planning Department because
of the quality of his work.
"We prefer to work with
smaller high quality firms because when you go to work with
a large firm, although they may have certain experts on staff,
more often than not you get shuffled into dealing with a middle
level person. Larger firms tend to be more bureaucratic, and
you tend to not deal with the principals and the really experienced,
highly qualified people. More often than not we will choose
a small- to medium-size firm where you are in direct contact
with the principal and you know you are getting the best quality.
"Doug exceeded my expectations
on the project. There are a lot of people in land use development
who understand subdivisions, but quarries are quite different.
Doug is a quick study, and he picked up the concepts very
quickly. He was very responsive and communicative; whenever
we arrived at a decision making point, he was with me any
time of day. If he needed clarification, he asked for it,
with the result that his first drafts were far superior to
most second and third drafts from other consultants.
"Doug's work is a very
good value and he exceeded every expectation regarding quality
and timeliness of the work. The one down side of using a smaller
firm is that Doug is not always available, but I do appreciate
his honesty in telling me his availability up front.
"There are very few people
who understanding mining so I have recommended Doug to several
Bob McCarrick, Vice-President
The DeSilva Group
"Doug Herring has a long-standing
business relationship with the Alameda County Planning Department.
We have hired him directly and have recommended him because
we feel his work is very worthwhile. Doug brings a broad range
of project experience ranging from commercial and residential
to industrial projects. I would feel confident referring anybody
to Doug on almost any project. Doug has always been meticulous
without being overbearing . . . and has been one
of the most reliable and dependable people on making sure
everything is done properly that I have seen."
Bruce Jensen, Senior Planner
Alameda County Planning Department
"Doug, I also wanted to tell you that in 23 years of
reading EIRs and neg decs, the IS/MND that you prepared for
this project is one of the best — so well-written and
full of thoughtful, complete analysis. What a pleasure to
Land Use and Environmental Attorney
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP
San Francisco, CA
"You guys have really raised the bar and set a new standard
for our EIR consultants to follow."
Richard Mitchell, Planning Director
City of Richmond Planning Department
"We have used Doug over the years on a variety of projects,
and I think the primary reason we continue to use him is because
of his understanding of our projects. His technical expertise
is important, but we also appreciate his ability to listen
to us and respond to what we really need in an interactive
manner, as opposed to someone who just goes off and produces
a product, assuming or hoping it is the right thing. When
we hired Doug, the involvement of the subcontractors is seamless,
in the sense that we don't have to spend a lot of time dealing
with them. I trust Doug to hire competent people to get the
work done that he manages."
Community Development Director
Alameda County, CA
"Land use issues are always controversial and the CEQA
process is difficult; it creates the most vulnerability for
the successful completion of a project because there are so
many aspects of CEQA that can be controversial and exploited.
The process can be leveraged to stall projects or to have
them disapproved. Without knowledge, guidance, perseverance,
and having technical confidence understanding the law and
the ability to respond to comments you cannot have a successful
project. Doug is responsive to the client and very knowledgeable
with respect to the legal aspects of CEQA, but he is also
familiar with the planning process, zoning, general plans,
and the requirement on how they abide to the evaluation of
the project. He has both the planning background and the ability
to function in a staff role, as well as technical knowledge
and competence of CEQA processes.
"With Doug you know that
he is hands-on and responsible for the work product, dead-lines,
and is accountable. With larger firms there are many qualified
people but occasionally there is turnover of project managers
and work is often delegated to less experienced staff. The
work can be inconsistent with multiple staff completing different
segments of the report, affecting the overall editing required.
"Doug has the ability to
anticipate points of contention both in the initial scoping
of work and also has the ability to put himself into the mind
of the staff worker to assist them to do their work and anticipating
what they should be requesting to move the project along efficiently.
"Doug tells you the schedule,
understanding the amount of work that is required, and meets
the schedule; he is not one of those "Tweeks" —
those guys who always say it will be done in two weeks and
when you have to follow up they say another two weeks. Doug
is realistic and meets the timelines he sets for himself.
I have recommended Doug to both public jurisdictions and private
parties with the assurance that Doug is a competent consultant."
Former Director of Alameda County Community Development Agency
"I have heard that Mr. Herring has a very good reputation
working with complicated projects; I have heard it from other
people and have confirmed it. Because we do not always have
the appropriate background and expertise for environmental
review, we hire Doug, confident of his knowledge of the field
and his skills in writing large-scale EIRs.
"At one point we were really
swamped with work and we were using seven different outside
planning consultants, and after a while Doug just kept rising
to the top. We have used former planning directors who are
now consultants — great writers with really good analytical
skills, but Doug's work was just superior. We have tried working
with larger consulting companies, but the complexity of their
structure of command tends to slow down communication, which
can delay a project. With Doug, he is the president of his
firm, so it makes responsive communication much simpler.
"Some of our projects have
to be expedited and streamlined and Doug has always met those
deadlines, even when they were really shortened time frames
for staff reports. For the fees he charges you get a lot of
bang for your buck, and it costs less than hiring a larger
consulting firm. I also appreciate the fact that Doug wants
to control the quality of the product that comes out of his
office. My expectations were exceedingly met on the last project."
Dennis Tagashira, Planning
City of Hercules Community Development Department
"I met Doug in 1988 and hired him for his first job at
an environmental planning firm, almost 20 years ago. He had
just finished his graduate degree in public policy from U.C.
Berkeley. Over the years Doug has worked on numerous projects
for me, and they have all been excellent; he really does outstanding
work. There are three different reasons why I would hire Doug
versus someone else: I know him and his work; he is extremely
competent, extremely skilled, and thorough; and I know I will
get a good product. He is very efficient, and if he needs
information, he asks questions and lets me know immediately
what kind of information he needs. If there is a lack of material
or data he lets me know and we discuss other data sources.
"I get full value for what
I pay him, and he always completes the project within the
generalized budget that we talk about. He has a good reputation
and a lot of people like using him. If I had to identify any
shortcoming, it would be that he sometimes provides a Mercedes
Benz treatment when possibly a Volkswagon-level would suffice.
Stu During, Principal
San Francisco, CA
"City planning departments
are often strapped for personnel, and whenever we can we offer
to provide assistance in the form of funding for contract
personnel to support staff or project planners. In some cities
we are lucky enough to suggest who that might be or what firm
and we often recommend Doug. One of the reasons I enjoy working
with Doug is because he is a smaller firm and I get better
service and more personal attention from the principal, which
I like. I find that a smaller firm is a better value, versus
working with a larger firm with more overhead and enormous
"When I first started working
with Doug I was a little concerned about the time being taken
on the project, but my tune soon changed. The thoroughness
of the investigation and the CEQA documents themselves were
commendable. I would say that my expectations were met and
that is why we have actually used Doug on a couple of other
projects and have referred him to other cities.
"We usually hire Doug to
get environmental documents prepared that are fair, supportable,
and well thought-out. Doug reaches out to contact you to make
sure that he is getting the information he needs to complete
his job thoroughly and efficiently. And he is right on top
of the project. I like working with Doug because he understands
what we need from him and I believe that he does a thorough
analysis and a fair and impartial job of assessing projects.
When I have questions or concerns or if I don't agree with
what he has prepared, he is willing to sit down and discuss
it and listen; we don't always change his mind but he is always
open to discussion."
Senior Vice-President of Forward Planning and Land Development
KB Home South Bay, Inc.
"It is very easy to work with Doug; we worked with him
on a number of projects in Hercules, where he was both used
as our consultant and by the developer. Doug has the experience
to know when to ask the questions. Because Doug works in various
jurisdictions he is familiar with all the regulatory documents
and how they differ or how they apply but he knows when to
ask questions to check if his interpretation is correct. Even
just making a quick phone call is the thing that can save
you from going down the wrong path and having to change the
whole analysis later.
"I think Doug has a great
range of experiences: he is a good planner and I know he worked
in a large firm in the city a number of years ago. He has
got a lot of experience in the environmental document process,
and he is able to work through projects from a number of different
angles. He has a good group of people that he has worked with
on a regular basis that he feels comfortable relying on."
Community Development Director
City of Novato
"Being a sole proprietor, Doug can give detailed attention.
He instantly understands every project, and he brings in specialists
when he needs them. He can give very personal attention to
your project. If he is available, he can give you a very good
turnaround. Because he is a small shop he really has to pay
close attention to his calendar, and is careful to not over-extend
himself, which I appreciate. Doug tends to detail, works to
provide people with follow-through, and is responsive, which
is one of his strong points."
Community Development Director
City of Union City
"We hired Doug to prepare an environmental impact report
for a permit for a gravel mining operation in Pleasanton,
and we were very happy with the results. He was fair all the
way through, and up front on everything that needed to be
done. He hired the right people we needed to get the job done,
including traffic consultants, biologists, and hydrologists,
and we were very happy with the people he brought in.
"I hired Doug because of
his expertise and personality, but I also find it more personable
to work with a smaller firm, and find that you get a lot of
value for your money with his firm. You're talking to the
principal, and you get a direct response from Doug. You get
him right away; you don't have to go through 15 people or
a voice mail system to get a response.
"Doug was originally recommended
to us by Alameda County. Buzz Sorensen [Community Development
Director] thinks very highly of him and has recommended him
for several projects."
Don Kahler, Vice-President
Rhodes & Jamieson
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