We believe that life is too short to not love what you do

Operating with respect and valuing the time of others is a conscious decision. We believe that life is too short to not love what you do – and the surest way to love what you do is to genuinely enjoy the people you work with. So we’ve created an open and honest environment where our team, partners, and many support professionals feel supported and valued.
Our principals, Michael Charles and Brian Cohan, are both residents of Berkshire County, Massachusetts. When they’re not out cycling, skiing, or taking joint- family trips together, they’re usually sitting side-by-side in the office or on the road, building relationships, connecting with clients and potential partners, and making each other laugh.

Michael Charles

“As the son of an Italian barber, the central tenet of my upbringing was; if you have a plan and work harder than everyone else, it will all fall into place. We had more than my father’s business would suggest because we built things, like our family cabin in the Catskills, by ourselves over many years of hard work. That’s where I got my love of design and building things.”

Michael brings nearly 30 years of experience in design, construction, and land development to the Benchmark team. He excels in project programming, building design, and construction management, and has led numerous development efforts from concept to completion.
Drawing on the inherent strength of multi-functional design teams, Michael compresses delivery lead-times and ensures that user needs and expectations are fully integrated into buildable and cost effective designs.
Michael began his professional career as a productivity and management consultant with Accenture Consulting in New York City. From there, Michael spent the next 20 years growing a residential design/build firm in Western Massachusetts specializing in high-end residential construction services.

Brian Cohan

“I attribute my creativity, and boldness to my childhood, where I was given tons of freedom yet always with a safety net around me. Being the son of an architect has drawn me to how things are designed and put together. Today, I still walk into buildings and the first thing I do is look up. That was always my dad’s first move when he entered a space. To observe and assess.”

With over 25 years as a real estate development professional, Brian Cohan has served as an owner and managing partner across a number of projects and partnerships – including the startup of two separate development companies. The first being a hotel development and management company that has gone on to develop a significant portfolio of Marriott and Hilton hotels. The second being a regional development firm where he helped build a team and company that when he left was developing over $100 million in new projects annually.

Brian excels at connecting the dots – creating the vision, establishing the business case and then generating the necessary excitement needed to get from the idea stage to action. His ability to observe and assess all of the various elements that make up a real estate deal, and then weave them together into a compelling story, is his greatest skill. It’s a craft he has honed throughout his career building numerous projects and companies from the ground up.