Oct. 29, 1955 — Aug. 22, 2013
Craig Matthew Childers, an engineer whose passion for electric cars put him at the center of electric vehicle policy in California, died unexpectedly on Aug. 22, 2013, in Davis. He was 57.
Craig was born Oct. 29, 1955, at the North Island Naval Station on Coronado Island, which allowed him – to his great pleasure – to identify himself as a Pacific Islander. He graduated from Glendora High School in Glendora in 1973 and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in June of that year.
He graduated from UC Davis in 1978 with a degree in mechanical engineering and materials science.
After working for various companies in Southern California, during which time he was awarded a patent for three dimensional stereolithography techniques, Craig returned to Davis in 1993 and worked for the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. In 1999, he joined the staff of the California Air Resources Board, where he was instrumental in developing policy and regulations for electric vehicles and EV infrastructure.
As a technical expert at the California Air Resources Board, Craig led staff efforts on battery technology and setting standards for EV charging facilities. He was known as a detail-oriented engineer who worked hard to write regulations that achieved the goal of commercializing zero-emission vehicles.
Locally, he was a tireless champion for developing local charging stations and helping Davis and other communities become EV-ready.
He was a registered professional mechanical engineer and was extremely involved in the Society of Automotive Engineers, helping to plan and execute the organization’s annual symposium on hybrid and electric vehicles.
Craig will be remembered for his enthusiasm for life, his penchant for innovation and his endless curiosity. He was seldom without his backpack full of books and reference materials, which provided a constant source of amusement for friends, family and co-workers.
He also will be remembered for his devotion to science and all things related to electric vehicles. He put his considerable outreach skills to work educating adults and children on EV technology, and spent countless hours of his personal time organizing displays and demonstrations at UC Davis’ Picnic Day, CalEPA’s Take Our Children to Work Day and other events. He was often spotted driving unique vehicles on Davis streets, and made it his mission to change the public’s thinking – one EV at a time.
Craig loved concerts and playing the guitar. Ever a child at heart, he enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews and delighted in taking them on excursions to aerospace, automobile and science museums, and helping them construct model airplanes and rockets. Numerous school science projects have benefited from his ideas and guidance.
Craig is survived by his wife, Kacey (Chott) Childers, whom he married in December 2005 on the 33rd anniversary of their first date; stepdaughters Jessica Lieding of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Katelyn Lieding of Woodland; and Callie Lieding, of Roseville; his parents, Alfred and Josephine Childers of Glendora; and his brothers, Russell Childers (Lindy) of Fair Oaks; Glenn Childers (Miriam) of Monrovia; and Douglass Childers (Carrie) of Rialto.
He is survived further by nephews Austin and Morgan Childers of Fair Oaks; Matthew Childers of Rialto; and Daniel Childers of Monrovia; and nieces Kelsey Childers of Rialto; and Cassandra, Samantha, Sophia, Evette, Sienna and Sasha Childers of Monrovia.
Services will be held Sept. 7, 2013, at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in San Fernando.
A celebration of Craig’s life is being planned for 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Putah Creek Lodge on the UC Davis campus.