After working as a sanitary engineer for the city of Los Angeles in 1960, Stearns co-founded the Long Beach, Calif.-based SCS in 1970 and served for more than 30 years as the firm’s president and chairman. He retired in 2006.
Stearns’ achievements include furthering advancements in solid waste management practices and environmental engineering, and building an environmental engineering practice, according to the company’s website.
Many of the SCS projects beginning in the 1970s have formed the basis for today’s standard industry procedures for investigating and controlling landfill gas (LFG) emissions, forecasting LFG generation rates, and designing, constructing and operating LFG extraction and migration control systems, the company said.
In 2003 Stearns was inducted into the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) Hall of Fame.
He has been past chairman of EREF and continued as a board member.
“Bob was a wonderful man who generously served his family, his company and this industry with all he had,” said Bryan Staley, president and CEO of EREF, in an e-mail. “I am a better person for having known Bob, and I'm sure there are many who can say the same thing. He will be greatly missed.”
Stearns’ survivors include his wife, Gisela; his daughter Maria; and his brother, Tom.
A memorial service will be held in September; details will be published on SCR's website. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Bob’s favorite charities: EREF, Robert P. Stearns/SCS Engineers Scholarship Fund and Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild.