Remembering Bob Garrison

Last Updated: 11/19/2013

It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we share the sad news that Bob Garrison, supervisor of the Utility Exploration Center since it opened in 2007, was killed in a car crash on July 21. (See obituary here.) Bob has been an incredible leader of this center and effective environmental advocate in the community, raising awareness of the Utility Exploration Center to a statewide level. His legacy lives on in the work of the Center and his friendship will always remain in our hearts. We wanted to share with you the impact that Bob had in his work at the Center.

Bob Garrison was hired to lead the Utility Exploration Center in April 2007, shortly before the Center opened to the public. The facility is operated by the City of Roseville’s Environmental Utilities and Roseville Electric departments to teach protection of our Earth’s natural resources through water and energy conservation, and recycling and reuse.

“The Utility Exploration Center and Bob are one-of-kind,” said Roseville Electric Utility Director Michelle Bertolino. “Bob was a tireless advocate for the importance of sustainability and conservation and I was impressed by his dedication. He embodied the Center’s mission and was an engaging educator. This loss is felt on so many levels."

“Bob was an integral part of our organization and key in our efforts to educate the public on the jobs we do, the importance of our public utilities, and what we can do to be good stewards of our natural resources,” said Interim Environmental Utilities Director Ed Kriz. "His role in leading the Center was more than a job: it was a passion and a calling."

Under Bob's leadership this past year, the Utility Exploration Center had more than 30,000 visitors at its exhibit hall. The hall has an interactive pile of garbage and other exhibits that teach how to use water and energy wisely, and the benefits of recycling.

The facility’s hallmark has been its school tours. All of the Utility Exploration Center’s school programs align with state curriculum making it a valuable resource for teachers in the region. Last year, more than 5,000 students and their teachers spent their day at the Utility Exploration Center.

Earlier this year, the Utility Exploration Center received the State School Superintendent’s Award for Excellence in Museum Education for its Planet Protector program. In 2012, Planet Protectors – which features a comic book designed by Marvel® and DC® artist Bernard Chang - was again honored by the California Municipal Utilities Association for Best Community Service program in 2013.

Under Bob’s leadership, the Utility Exploration Center has been home to the City’s annual Celebrate the Earth Festival. The event is among one of the most popular community activities in Roseville with more than 3,000 attendees.  Bob and The Utility Exploration Center were also recognized in 2010 with the California Municipal Utilities Association’s Community Service/Resource Efficiency Award and in 2008 with the California Parks and Recreation Society: Award of Excellence for Facility Design/Cultural Facilities.

A private service is being planned. Memorial donations may be made to the Placer Nature Center, 3700 Christian Valley Road, Auburn, CA 95602; or the Bob Garrison Scholarship Fund for Boy Scouts Troop 13, in care of First U.S. Community Credit Union, 424 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn, CA 95603.