Jeff Solomon and Linda Retchin are a powerful duo, each with their own style and independent careers. If harnessed, their energy combined could power a small country! They have run over one hundred 5Ks and now they are very active with the local Dragonheart Vermont paddling team, which requires year-long training and commitment. They paddled with Team USA in 2015 and did well and this summer they are heading to Szeged, Hungary. Linda has also paddled and raced in Hong Kong, in the South China Sea and in Ravenna Italy in 2016.
You do NOT want to mess with this guy! He is a certified Black Belt, that is, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, one of the most sought-after business credentials today. The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course trains you to ask the right questions and get the right answers as a project manager, and Jeff is a certified LSS Black Belt. Had you there for a minute, didn’t I?
Linda played field hockey at Kent State and started and graduated from a dental hygiene course at Howard University’s College of Dentistry in Washington DC, graduating in 1985. Her first professional position was working with a Hungarian dentist in Bern, Switzerland for two years, prior to moving to Burlington VT in 1987. While in Switzerland, Linda traveled extensively throughout Europe, Denmark and Israel.
She is a registered dental hygienist and in 2015 was awarded the honor, by her peers, of Outstanding Hygienist of the Year. She has represented the Dental Board for 10 years in Montpelier as the hygiene representative and she now sits on the regulatory Board of Radiation Technology as their Public Member.
Jeff graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine and then went on to Cornell Graduate School majoring in Mathematics and Statistics. He quipped and quoted that, “If I had only one day left to live, I would live it in my statistics class…It would seem so much longer!”
As you can see, Jeff has a terrific sense of humor. He said that everyone in his family has a first name that begins with J: Judy, Jerry, Jeffrey, Joel, Jon and Jane. Then Jane married Jim and Joel married Janet! You just can’t make this stuff up! Jeff is the eldest of 4. His parents had 3 boys and then a girl and his mother was pregnant with his sister at Jeff’s Bar Mitzvah.
There is a serious side to Jeff too, when it comes to his professional life. He works for Simmonds Precision in Vergennes VT as a Quality Manager and Statistician and he is also an adjunct professor of Math and Statistics at the University of Vermont. At Temple Sinai he taught in the Hebrew School, was VP of Education, Co-Chair of the Spiritual Committee and was a member of the Rabbinic Search Survey and Assessment committee. Jeff has lived in the Burlington area since July 1986
Linda grew up in Babylon NY on Long Island’s south shore. She is the middle of thee sisters: Judy, the eldest is a Superior Court Judge in Washington DC, and Nancy is an actress, art dealer and artist living in NYC. Linda has lived here for 30 years. She enjoys playing Mah Jongg, and is a new pet owner of an Australian Labradoodle puppy named Copper. She also is a mentor in the Shelburne Community School. In addition to her dental hygiene work, she also works for The Commission for Dental Competency (CDCA) for the past 17 years.
Jeff was born in Boston but grew up in Marblehead MA. He is the only one in his family who lives outside of Route 128. His brother lives in his family home and is a retired Tampa FL policeman who now works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His brother Joel is a doctor and lives in Lexington MA, and his sister Jane lives in Winchester MA and works at an insurance company.
The person who was the biggest influence in Linda’s young life was her neighbor, who happened to be a dentist. The person of greatest influence in Jeff’s life was his grandmother who was also left-handed and was the only one who could teach him how to tie his shoes. She lived in Brookline MA.
Linda and Jeff have two children, Hannah (27) and Ian (24) who both work at Dealer.com. They remind them from time to time that they are native Vermonters while their parents are “Flatlanders”!
Jeff and Linda met at a wine and cheese mixer and at the end of the evening Linda asked Jeff for his phone number. Their first date was skiing at Bolton and Asian food in Winooski. They dated for one year and were married by Rabbi Jim Glazier on a cold winter day in February 1989 in their Woolen Mill apartment #528. They had a small dinner celebration at Pauline’s restaurant afterwards.
For the past 28 summers they have a family tradition of meeting at Linda’s family summer beach house in Lewes, Delaware. Linda’s Mom and step-father are both living in Boynton Beach FL. The most difficult thing that Linda did in her life was unsuccessfully performing CPR on her Dad.
Both Linda and Jeff love to travel. In addition to their travel abroad for Dragonboat racing, Jeff has visited Puerto Rico, Canada, England, Ireland Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany and India.
While Jeff enjoys reading Stephen King, recognizing some of the scenes took place near Bowdoin, where he attended college, Linda prefers reading mostly non-fiction because it is direct and straight to the point. Jeff’s favorite music is from the 60’s and 70’s while Linda prefers loud music like the Beatles and Dido.
Thank you Linda and Jeff, our dynamic duo, for your willingness to be part of the Getting To Know You series.