Ethide Labs Founder, AAMI Member Leaves Lasting Legacy in Sterilization Field

Posted May 7, 2018

Joe Mello
Joseph M. "Joe" Mello

AAMI and the standards community are mourning the loss of a healthcare technology and sterilization leader. Joe Mello, 87, died at his home in Coventry, RI on April 28. According to colleagues, Mello was known as much for his “kind soul” as for the company he built, Ethide Labs, and the expertise that he prolifically shared through the development of national and international standards.

“Joe was a wonderful person—very caring, and he treated everyone with respect,” said Phil Cogdill, chair of the AAMI Board of Directors, who knew Mello for more than 20 years. “Joe was ever-present at AAMI meetings for many years, providing his input and expertise. He will be missed by myself and everyone in the AAMI standards community.”

Mello, the president of Ethide Laboratories, was a longtime member of AAMI and active in several microbiology and sterilization standards working groups, including microbiological methods, industrial ethylene oxide sterilization, radiation sterilization, and sterility assurance. Mello was also an active member of the American Society for Microbiology and the Society of Industrial Microbiology.

Mello served as a lieutenant in the Army in Panama just after the Korean war. In 1960, he founded Ethide Labs, building it up from a part-time home business in Coventry, RI, into a nationally recognized medical device and pharmaceutical testing lab. In addition to his work to improve sterilization safety, his friends, family, and colleagues knew Mello for his kind-heartedness and a steadfast dedication to doing what was right.

“Joe would try to help everybody out, no matter their situation, whether professionally or at home. He included everyone and never had a bad word to say about anybody,” said Mike Sprague, laboratory manager at Ethide Labs, whose father built the company with Mello. “Joe was adamant about participating in the standards development process. When there was a problem, one of his words of wisdom was to say, ‘How wrong do you want to be?’ My Uncle Joe always made sure everyone applied the correct standards and test methods to do the right thing for ourselves, our company, and for our customers.”