Cryomech Inc. regrets to report that Peter Gifford, longtime leader of Cryomech, passed away in January 2017, surrounded by family and friends at his Syracuse home. He was 68.
Gifford was a leader in the cryogenic community, a dedicated member of CSA and one of the second-generation industry leaders affectionately dubbed the ‘Cryomafia’.
Vincent Grillo, co-president of Cryofab, Inc. and fellow Cryomafia member said, “This is a tremendous loss of a friend who for over 30 years enhanced my world of cryogenics and made me a better person.”
Gifford moved to Syracuse at age twelve, when his father, William, a cryogenic expert, accepted a teaching and research position at Syracuse University.
Gifford would later attend the university, where he studied physics and math before graduating in 1971 with a degree in Liberal Arts. In 1973, he joined Cryomech, a company founded by his father, as an apprentice in cryogenics, and by 1978 had taken over as president.
In 2014, Gifford sold Cryomech to his employees as an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) so that it could continue on in Syracuse, nurturing, he hoped, the next generation of entrepreneurs and dreamers.
While at Cryomech, Gifford designed the compressor packages and cold heads still incorporated in the company’s Gifford-McMahon cycle cryocoolers. He also designed many custom cryostats and cryorefrigerators for customers throughout the industry, innovative work that earned Gifford three patents and worldwide recognition.
Gifford was known at Cryomech for being more than a boss. He was a teacher, a mentor and a friend who loved as family those with whom he worked.