Dr. Richard D. Garrity was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his bachelor’s degree in biological science from Boston University, master’s degree in biological science from Northeastern University, and PhD in biological science from Florida State University. He moved to Florida in 1967 and has held several executive positions including Water Resource Team Administrator for Hillsborough County, Director of District Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Southwest District office in Tampa, and Urban Environmental Coordinator for the City of Tampa. In addition, Dr. Garrity has been a professor at both the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and the University of South Florida. In 2015, after 15 years of service, Dr. Garrity retired as Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County.
In this interview, Dr. Garrity shares his experiences at the Environmental Protection Commission. He explains its role in setting, monitoring, and enforcing standards to protect the air, water, and soil of Hillsborough County from contaminants and pollutants. He discusses environmental agency interrelationships, impact assessments, and his role in the administration of environmental projects. He also talks about municipal utility issues, resource regulation programs, and approaches to achieving regulatory compliance. Dr. Garrity concludes his interview by explaining the importance of local monitoring and the role of community collaboration and education in protecting the resources and infrastructure that are important to Tampa Bay.