Bob had the distinct pleasure of being Fred Merryfield’s last graduate student, a one-on-one experience never to be forgotten, including being “tutored” in viral biology by Fred’s wife, Anne. While attending school, Bob worked as a summer intern for the Oregon State Highway Department building bridges on the Umpqua River and structures as part of the construction of I-5 through east Portland. While at OSU, Bob operated the Taylor Water Treatment Plant in Corvallis for 2 years, living for a time in a little house on the banks of the Willamette.
In 1968 when Bob returned to the Corvallis office, he enjoyed working with the industrial treatment maestros of that era, Bob Pailthorp and John Filbert. He also worked in the WBG for a wonderful gentleman and mentor, Fred Harem. According to Bob, working in the Corvallis office in the 1960s and 1970s was just fabulous. He enjoyed working closely with the early giants in the firm and with other great young comrades, including socializing with the families.
Sometime along the way (1970), CH2M and Hill won an assignment to create “Tahoe East” in Virginia near Dulles Airport working for a new agency, the UOSA, a great client ever since. During early conceptual development, Harlan Moyer, Gene Suhr, and Bob shared an apartment for a couple of months. Gene was the chef, Harlan the bartender, and Bob the dishwasher.
Other assignments in the early 1970s included a couple of stays with Meredith and family in Reston, Virginia, including preliminary design of the initial UOSA plant, and design of perhaps the biggest perfect project (it was never built) for Montgomery County, Maryland, with John Filbert, our PM and magical orator! Another highlight was working with Fred Harem, Holly Cornell, C.Y. Shieh, and lots of other great co-workers on the Denver Foothills project. Bob was PM for the Foothills WTP, with an ultimate design capacity of 500 mgd (1974). This was quite a stretch…working on projects from 2.5 mgd to 500 mgd in the span of about 7 years.
In 1976, when Bob was in the Redding office, he nurtured clients in Northern California. During this period, folks like Dave Evans, Jerry Boyle, Don Marske, and Jim Bloomquist were leading our penetration into the Southern California market, with the crew in Redding providing key design center support.
In the mid-1980s while Bob was in the Denver office, he worked with Ken Miller, soon to also become president of AWWA. Ken opened doors and created opportunities all over the country. With Ken’s efforts and our local leadership, we developed additional technical and professional leadership to make the most of those opportunities. Bill Bellamy and Bob Bailey became key members of the water leadership group, joined a bit later by Brock McEwen.