Mark Bernardi, one of the founders of Expressworks, passed away yesterday, April 30th, 2023. We will miss him. If the stature of a person can be measured by the reverence and love of the people who knew them best, then Mark stood taller than most.
From family friend to CEO, when Mark gave his opinion, you listened. Not because you had to, but because you knew that what he offered was shaped by his innate wisdom – likely cultivated as he surfed the Santa Cruz waves in the morning calm. Mark loved to surf before work. “The rest of your day is different once you’ve been out on the water,” he would say.
Mark could see past distractions. He excelled at synthesizing information and could speak clarity with your best interest at heart. Though kind, he wasn’t one to mince words. To those who knew him, Mark was a truthteller. Wise and unpretentious, he had a way of making you feel seen and heard. Perhaps that’s why so many of us sought his counsel and wanted to maintain a connection – even after he retired from Expressworks.
He was just fun to be around and lived by his motto, make friends out of business not business out of friends. For many of us, knowing Mark not only enhanced our careers, he also enhanced our lives. Whether at work or discussing his beloved Oakland A’s over a Chopin martini, family, colleagues, and clients alike enjoyed his dry sense of humor and his friendship.
Self-made, he was not intimidated by power or position. Though he possessed an instinctive business savvy, he was disillusioned with the corporate culture of the 1980’s. Frustrated with the focus on profit at all costs, Mark and co-founder Peter Lohnberg dreamed up a radical idea: Start a company that delivers value but doesn’t ask its employees to choose between their personal lives and career success.
In 1984, Mark, Peter and Debby, Mark’s wife, opened Expressworks for business. From its inception, we have been guided by the values and operating principles that trusted people to balance their lives and their work. First scribbled on a napkin by Mark and Peter after a walk on the beach, and brought to life by their daily example, these ideals have become the bedrock of our company. Nearly forty years later, their impact on our culture is as strong as ever.