Meet the Partners

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Gene Agress
CEO / Designer / Founding Craftsman / Partner

I am a designer. I am a custom woodworker. And I am incredibly fortunate. I’ve spent my entire career pursuing my passions and collaborating with craftsmen and clients who’ve shared my vision and opened my eyes to other amazing possibilities.

When we launched Berkeley Mills in 1988, we opened opportunities for uniquely skilled craftsmen, and opened our doors to a rare breed of clients with a deep seeded need to be immersed in the creative process. Some of the smartest people on earth rely on us to listen to their wants and analyze their needs, before pencil touches paper. Before the process of truly functional and truly remarkable custom design begins.

After all of this time, every step of the creative process still turns me on – from the blank sheet of paper to the perfect end product. (Did I mention I am incredibly fortunate?)

 

 

David Kent

Dave Kent President

David Kent
President / Designer / Founding Craftsman / Partner

I’ve always felt a strong connection to the breakthrough designs of Bernard Maybeck, Greene & Greene, Alvar Aalto, George Nakashima, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Since joining forces with Gene to launch Berkeley Mills back in 1988, I’ve worked to create and craft items that will inspire our clients as well as the next generation of designers.

We don’t craft cookie cutter items, and I much prefer to work with unique clients who bring their own quirkiness and individuality to the process of custom design. There’s a sense of excitement that comes from meeting clients for the first time that quickly evolves into a give and take relationship between discerning clients and skilled craftsmen.

The end result is something I believe is uniquely Berkeley Mills – a physical object of unequalled quality and design, born in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
How cool is that?

 

 

Scott Pew

Scott Pew Production Engineer

Scott Pew
Furniture Production Engineer / Designer / Partner

I feel fortunate to be able to do what I love by combining engineering and art into the practice of designing and building custom furniture.

I start with the art, working with our designers and our imaginative clients to come up with designs that are functional, beautiful, and integrated with the environment for which they are intended.  Next comes the engineering, when I build the piece in 3-d model space, fine tuning the proportions, and figuring out how everything will be joined and function.

From the 3-d model I create shop drawings that show our craftsmen how and what to build.  It starts getting exciting when the piece starts to come together – seeing a clients vision materialize out of beautiful natural hardwoods, and knowing that the joinery that I have designed in means the piece will last a lifetime and beyond.

My favorite part of the process is the final sanding, when each piece of wood becomes a polished and glowing thing of beauty.  Then the lacquer goes on, and the personal investment of every person along the way, from client to designer to craftsman to finisher comes to life as a piece of furniture with soul.

 

 

luong-portrait2

Luong Le Production Manager

Luong Le
Founding Craftsman / Production Mgr. / Partner

Berkeley Mills provides me with dual opportunities to pursue my passion for building and design. I work “up front” with clients who trust us to conceive and design the items of their dreams. I also work “out back” in the custom woodworking shop building prototypes as well as the amazing finished pieces that bring our clients’ dreams to life.

I have always admired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the subtle artistic qualities of traditional Japanese Architecture. As I got deeper into my study of engineering, I discovered ways to bring beauty and durability together in the timeless handcrafted pieces I love to create, and live to create.

 

 

Rick Steinhardt

Rick Steinhardt Partner

Richard A. Steinhardt
Advisor & Investment Partner

Did you hear the one about the UC Berkeley Professor who started out as a Berkeley Mills customer and ended up a partner?

During my thirty-eight years of teaching and exploring the rigid realms of Molecular and Cell Biology, I developed a profound appreciation for artistic perfection of a manmade kind. Then one day, a chance visit to the Berkeley Mills workshop led to a long term relationship with the craftsmen who share my love for perfection in its most finite detail.

I purchased my first Berkeley Mills creation long before I could really afford it, and I have continued to acquire additional, one-of-a-kind, custom crafted items to this day. I am proud to be a part of a cohesive team dedicated to creating the finest furniture and architectural space in the world.