Van Compass was formed in 2015 by business partners Mark Hesser and Rob Peterson. Mark and Rob met while attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Rob was studying Manufacturing Engineering while Mark was majoring in Industrial Technology. They first met at the off-road club at Cal Poly known as the Poly Goats. One of Cal Poly’s oldest clubs, The Poly Goats is more of a fraternity for like-minded students who can’t wait till class is done for the week so they can apply their newly acquired theories and principals to truck builds and put them to the test in the dirt. Eventually Mark and Rob would work together at a small 4wd fabrication shop while finishing their degrees but we’ll get to the details of their professional career later.
Mark grew up in Fremont, California where his love for adventure and off-road fun began at an early age. From ripping around the suburban streets of San Francisco on little Honda 50s, he eventually graduated to a 1984 Toyota pickup that he would slowly transform into a full blown rock crawler for wheeling the local trails near Tahoe in the Sierra Mountains of CA. Over the years, Mark built this truck into a one ton axle equipped, propane injected trail machine on 44” Super Swamper Boggers that would be his tool for adventure. Frequenting his local trails of Fordyce Creek and the iconic Rubicon trail, this truck would wheel all over the state of CA for years until it was time to move onto other project trucks. From a built dual sport first gen 4runner to a 4wd long travel Tacoma, Mark has built and driven a plethora of off-road adventure oriented vehicles.