From middle class Israeli child to Principal Scientist of Israel’s world famous technology company GE… not your typical ‘Horatio Alger’ story, but there is nothing typical about ITC alumnus Gil Kovalski.
Growing up in a suburb of Ramat Hasharon, Gil was introduced to the Israel Tennis Centers at the tender age of 9 and quickly discovered his love for the game and the teachings that came from being part of the ITC family. He also realized that the ITC was much more than just a way of becoming an accomplished tennis player. It was also an opportunity to learn life skills. “I grew up faster and became more responsible, especially when I reached the regional and national tournament levels. I also gained a lot of composure and emotional maturity while learning to cope better with what life threw my way, both on and off the court. The ITC gave me the tools to succeed.”
Thanks to this regimen Gil was able to excel in school, which eventually led to a full scholarship at the University of Miami after he concluded his military obligation. Seeded #1 at Miami, Gil achieved All American status and a top 10 ranking in the U.S. Once again, he attributed his success in large measure to the discipline and work ethic he learned at the ITC. But this was only the beginning for what has become an immensely successful career after leaving school and returning to Israel.
Working as a young technician in Haifa, Gil earned his Master’s Degree before being recruited by GE in 1999. He quickly rose through the ranks as an application scientist, Team Leader and Principal Scientist for GE’s prestigious nuclear medicine division. If that wasn’t enough, Gil found time to earn a PHD while juggling a very busy work load and family life. In fact, the PHD program required him to collaborate with his peers at GE, the world famous Technion Institute and the renowned Rambam Hospital in Haifa. As a PHD candidate Gil published three separate peer review papers, the first person ever to accomplish such a feat. Today he is Gil Kovalski, PhD, Principal Scientist and Intellectual Property Leader of the Nuclear Medicine Division of General Electric HealthCare.
One of the ITC’s most important life lessons is the concept of “giving back” to the organization and community, a quality that Gil has clearly embraced. He served as Founding Chairman of the Israel Resource Development Board. He sits on the ITC’s International Board and is currently its Secretary. He also finds time to volunteer with Youth at Risk at his home center in Haifa.
When asked about his many successes in life, Gil looks back at his formative years at the Israel Tennis Centers as integral to becoming the person that he is today. “Coming to the ITC everyday really showed me how to do things that would pay off later in life. I learned the importance of taking risks, of recovering from failure and always improving with the next opportunity that comes along. Perhaps most importantly, the ITC taught me to never to give up because everything is achievable in life.”