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If you are a member of the water industry, chances are you know Gil Dichter. As we celebrate Gil’s retirement and look back upon his career, we can’t help but wonder where our Water business would be without his knowledge, guidance and expertise.
In 1987, Gil was hired by a small company in Connecticut to help turn the seed of a revolutionary idea into a viable product. The company was so small, in fact, that Gil drove 200 miles round trip to work instead of moving closer because he feared the company wasn’t going to make it.
The revolutionary idea was to take a century-old method of testing for E. coli and make it rapid, easy and accurate. Dr. Steve Edberg had the idea for this simple test, but it was Gil’s expertise and innovative approach that made it a stable, viable product. That test is Colilert.
In 1993 when IDEXX acquired the small company known as Environetics, the Brooklyn-born scientist moved his family to Maine and hasn’t looked back. Over the last three decades, he has published multiple papers, sat on many industry committees, and authored a chapter if water microbiology procedures for wastewater operators published by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). His contributions to both to the water community and to our company purpose of protecting the health and wellbeing of people worldwide has endeared him to many.
“When I think of Gil, the first thing I think of is that you are a true Water Ambassador. There are so many people in the US and abroad who mention your name, ask for you and think so highly of you,” said Sharon Muhilly, IDEXX technical services representative. “I cannot imagine doing my job without Gil as a mentor and helping me in every way possible. He is a wonderful colleague and a great friend.”
Over his career, Gil has set a high standard for the quality of technical support that we provide to
“Gil is not only a great person and friend of mine and our agency, he epitomizes what customer service is all about,” said J. D. Potts, Manager, Recreational Water Quality Program, Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality, Division of Marine Fisheries, Department of Environmental Quality. “Gil would frequently check in to see how things were going in our lab and how he could further support us in anyway. Our agency will sorely miss his friendship and technical support that he provided to our lab. “
Many of our customers have worked with Gil in their labs or attended one of his countless training sessions at industry conferences. He has also served on many local committees and advisory boards. As busy as he was, traveling to conferences and visiting customers, Gil always had time to mentor a colleague, foster a friendship or try a new wine.
“I have worked with Gil since the late 90s, as a budding water quality scientist and as I began my academic career. Gil was instrumental in developing my technical capabilities and grounding my work in the real world,” said Rachel Noble, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Institute for Marine Sciences. “This was always done with a wry sense of humor and a common love of good food and wine, making him not only a great colleague, but more importantly a fantastic friend.”
Gil was honored recently at the Water Quality Technology Conference (WQTC) in Toronto, Canada. While an injury prevented him from attending the conference, he made this video to share with his friends and colleagues that attended the event:
In retirement, Gil plans to travel with his wife Barbara and spend more time with their children and three grandchildren. He will continue to be involved in the water quality community through industry associations and committees, as well as ongoing interactions with his many friends and colleagues.