Written by BGC Principal Bob Busch, 12/6/2014 and updated on 8/28/2016 (updates in blue). Expect additions that mention the names of past staff members of note and briefly highlight some of the firms most favorite / impressive jobs.
BGC began life in Arcata, CA, in May 1985 as Busch Geologic Consultants. At first, BGC Principal Bob Busch worked alone, primarily doing geologic mapping of unstable features and providing reports for timber harvest plans, most in Hoopa, CA, for either the B.I.A. or the Hoopa Forestry Department. His first employee, geologist Kevin O'Dea (now a consultant in the S.F. Bay area), worked with Bob on many such plans. However, later in 1985 (the exact date is lost to the sands of time), in response to requests from clients for many different types of geologic work, much of it more technical than simply mapping, Bob changed the name of the firm to Busch Geotechnical Consultants.
Initially Bob and a staff of one or two worked out of a dedicated bedroom in his home on Redwood Avenue in Arcata. In the mid 1980's, the development of large land tracts and lots in Humboldt County, especially in Arcata and McKinleyville, created the need for fault evaluations and a larger staff. The crush of work encouraged Bob to remodel the carport at his home into a tiny but beautiful one-room office. At night his two boys sometimes played in the room. By 1990, the need for a dedicated work space free from Legos, Ninja Turtles, Hot Wheels, and similar floor debris sent Bob to a public auction. There he purchased 905 Sixth Street, an Arcata city lot with a 2400 sq ft single-story redwood building and plenty of parking. Soon a growing staff, equipment, and a soils lab utilized the building so effectively that we began storing some items in a large built-in safe in the center of the building. For a few years it protected a nuclear gauge (under four locks, as required: gauge case, chain to wall, locked safe door, locked building doors).
In the late 1980s, the firm begin working in southern coastal Oregon frequently--mainly the Brookings-Harbor area, but sometimes as far north as Coos Bay. In the waning hours of December 31, 1996 and the wee hours of January 1, 1997, an intense rainstorm triggered many landslides in coastal Curry County. One of them was under the home of BGC client #97-001, a beautiful divorcee who woke up in Harbor on January 1 to find her sliding door out of square, her second-story deck sunken, and cracks in the sheet rock of her great room. Because the storm had caused the Klamath River to rise dramatically, flooding a short stretch of US 101, Bob and staff geologist Geoff Hales (now with McBain Associates, Arcata) could not get to Brookings until January 3. Within a day or two of meeting each other, Bob (also divorced) and his client "felt the ground move under their feet." Bob and Marilyn were married in October of that year. Work in Oregon picked up even more then because Bob's new wife was a Realtor who accelerated marketing in the area beyond Bob's wildest dreams.
Shortly before they were married, Bob bought a small triangular lot that bordered the Port of Brookings-Harbor. In 2006 BGC hired a local contractor to begin construction of a two-story 1000 sq ft building on that lot, and in 2008 the firm began working out of the satellite office (see the Harbor office page for photos). 905 Sixth Street remained the main office and soils lab. Marilyn moved to Arcata and lived there for a period of time, but eventually she moved back to Brookings, her "Monterey on the Oregon coast." From then on, the Busch family lived in two places, traveling back and forth between Arcata and Harbor as work required.
The firms greatest work heyday occurred between June 1998 and early 2003 when PALCO hired every geologist within several hundred miles (or more). BGC up-staffed in response to the lumber giant's demand, especially since work in other geologic disciplines remained steady. But the economic crash of 2008 affected BGC as it did so many other small firms. Gradually BGC's staff dwindled until December of 2010 when BGC's sole remaining staff geologist, Beau Whitney, left the firm to pursue a PhD degree in Perth, Western Australia. Because of the general economic depression in BGC's work area, Bob worked alone throughout 2011 and then in 2012 began hiring qualified geologists on an as-needed basis. In August of 2012, Bob rented the east side of the Arcata office, moved to Harbor, OR, and began working mainly out of the office there, foundly named "Tsunami Heights." Bob closed BGC's Arcata office in 2014, rented the building until 12/2015, sold it to son Roy, owner of Sacred Geometrix, a clothing design firm, and began working full-time from Harbor. Currently (August, 2016), BGC operates solely out of the Harbor office with Staff Geologist Crystell E. Wise, B.S.
A glance over BGC's Past Clients list hints at the wonderfully wide spectrum of jobs we've had the privilege to do over the 31+ years BGC has been in business. Although Bob will work less in the coming years, he hopes BGC will continue to actively serve clients in coastal northern California and southern Oregon.