A Letter to Pat Garrow: Happy Retirement

Pat Garrow

Pat Garrow

Today Pat Garrow will be retiring from CRA.  While he has only been with CRA for 5 ½ years, his retirement marks the end of a career spanning over 50 years.  Few people can match that longevity or the impact that he has had on the field of archaeology.  In that time, Pat served as a professor, field archaeologist, principal investigator, business owner, author, operations manager, and mentor.  The number of reports, articles, presentations, chapters, and books that he has authored numbers well into the hundreds. If you’ve read about the King site, Chieftans, the D.C. Convention Center, Knoxville Courthouse, Oxon Hill, Yaughan and Curriboo Plantations, Hopewell Cemetery, Florence Stockade, or even a ship excavated from underneath New York City, you’ve read about work with which Pat was involved.

If you talk with a practicing archaeologist, odds are that they were hired, fired, or worked for Pat at some point in their career.  The list of archaeologists that he has trained or otherwise influenced in their career would be impressive to see.  If you need proof, walk with Pat through a conference hall sometime and note how many people stop him and talk about whatever project they worked on together.  You’ll get the idea.

2014-06-02 11.52.14Pat’s greatest contribution to the field is likely his efforts to professionalize the field.  He has worked tirelessly to emphasize the importance of proper academic and practical training, particularly for those of us that direct archaeological projects.  The idea that we were the “cowboys of science” just didn’t cut it with Pat.  He believed early on that if we wanted to be treated like others in the consulting world, we needed to elevate our standards for how our work was conducted and for those that directed that work.  In addition, his company actively sought out female archaeologists at a time when few women were working in the field.  All of us as professional archaeologists have benefited from those efforts.

I met Pat in 2005.  I was working for a large engineering firm that was trying to include cultural resources work into their portfolio.  I was on my own in Knoxville and struggling to stay busy.  I was a pretty decent archaeologist, but not good at the business of it.  After listening to me come up with yet another bad idea to try and grow my business, my office manager told me to find somebody with connections that might be willing to come work with us to get things moving.  A couple of years before that, Pat and Barbara had moved to Dandridge after retiring from TRC-Garrow.  He called me at some point and offered to review reports or help with proposals if we needed him.  I put his number in my rolodex and forgot about it.  When my boss asked me to find someone to help us, I remembered that I had his number.  After a lunch meeting, he started working for us on a part-time basis, which quickly became a full-time job.  I have always joked that retirement was the only thing which Pat ever failed!

A little throwback of Pat at Oxen Hill

A little throwback of Pat at Oxen Hill

Since 2010, we have worked for CRA.  In that time, Pat has built a team with great chemistry and continued to teach us all something every day.  I wish that there was some way to quantify what I’ve learned from him.  Almost every proposal, budget, and project has provided another opportunity for our team to learn and become better CRM professionals.  You might even pick up some tips if you go to Barley’s with him!  The Knoxville team is going to miss Pat a great deal.  It is hard to see a fixture in the field step aside.  But he has trained us all to take the mantel and continue to make our office and our company successful.  At the same time, we’ll continue to learn from each other and become better professionals.

All I can say, Pat, is thanks.  Thanks for everything!

Paul G. Avery, RPA

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Posted in Archaeology, News, Staff
One comment on “A Letter to Pat Garrow: Happy Retirement
  1. dave davis says:

    Congrats to you Pat! You’re a helluva guy. God knows what you will conquer next!

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