For 23 years, Dick Dougherty has been the “go-to guy” for food safety issues in the state of Washington. In January, Dr. Dougherty retired as Professor Emeritus from Washington State University’s School of Food Science.
His years of service as a Professor and Extension Specialist will be remembered for all the help he provided to people and companies in the food industry. Fellow retiree Val HIllers looked back on his career and shared the impact he had on extension through WSU. “There are thousands of food processors who have received significant assistance from Dr. Dougherty,” said Hillers. “Protecting the safety and quality of food has been his passion for many years and his work has resulted in safer and higher quality food at both the national and international level.”
While working as an extension specialist, Dick logged a lot of miles across the state of Washington to work on site with his clientele or to teach workshops. He recalls going through three or maybe even four vehicles with all the miles travelled, and when asked how many traffic tickets he received, he just laughed.
A retirement celebration was held for Dr. Dougherty in February where faculty, staff, students and family joined to remember his time with the school. During the event, Dick took time to share advice with the new faculty and students in the program, emphasizing the importance of collaborative work versus independent work. In his words, “That’s how you get things done.” Former department chair Al McCurdy shared that Dick has been the “go-to guy” for all issues in food processing. When he asked industry representatives how we could improve our service through extension, their response was to “Hire another Dick Dougherty.” Extension Specialist Karen Killinger shared her gratefulness for his training and support for her extension work. “I appreciate the professional partnership we have developed,” explained Killinger. “He has made significant impacts on me, the university and the food industry here in the Northwest.” Letters from others who have worked with Dick were also shared at the celebration.
During his tenure, Dr. Dougherty won several awards that recognize his excellence as a food scientist. He received two Faculty Excellence Awards, the NFPA Distinguished Service Award and as a faithful IFT member, he has been honored as an IFT Fellow.
Dick and his wife Jane now live in Naples, Florida, and Dick intends to enjoy his retirement years doing more fishing.