As a water treatment engineer, Robert Emerick ’92, M.S. ’93, Ph.D ’99, may seem like an unlikely owner of two chic restaurants and the vintage Crest Theatre on K Street in Sacramento. But the three-time UC Davis grad and fifth-generation Sacramentan said he was committed to revitalizing the area, largely inspired by a project he took on as an engineering student. “In graduate school, I restored a dilapidated bungalow located in a very devastated section of Sacramento,” he said. “Following that restoration, others became empowered to restore the neighboring bungalows and soon the neighborhood became as desirable as most of Sacramento. I learned from that experience that even a single person’s investment into a community can have a profound impact.” Emerick purchased the Crest Theatre in 2011 and has undertaken numerous updates to the iconic building, including interior light conversion to LEDs and retrofit of the antiquated HVAC system, to improve the energy efficiency of the building. In 2014 and 2015, respectively, he and his fiancée, Yulya Borroum ’97, opened vegetarian eatery Mother and the subterranean Empress Tavern. Emerick continues to practice as an engineer and is currently co-authoring a book on recycling water for potable reuse. He also occasionally teaches senior design courses at UC Davis and gives to the College of Engineering and the Edward & Mark Schroeder Fund.