Our History

ECODIT was founded in April 1993 by two friends and former colleagues, Joseph Karam and Jean Tilly, who left the environmental consulting firm where they had been working successfully for many years and started an international development firm dedicated to promoting environmentally-sustainable development. The timing could not be better, coming in the wake of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. Joseph and Jean made their move after obtaining a line of credit from a Franco-Swiss company, which became a 60 percent shareholder in the two companies that were established at the time: ECODIT, Inc. in the USA and ECODIT France sarl in Paris. Working out of Joseph’s townhouse basement in Fairfax, VA, ECODIT, Inc. and ECODIT France sarl initially conducted environmental assessments, audits and training programs for a variety of clients such as the World Bank, UNDP, UNIDO, EU, Medcities, private investors, and well-established USAID contractors.

ECODIT’s first break point came in 1996 when, in a joint venture with a large USAID contractor, the firm won the USAID Morocco Water Resources Sustainability (WRS) Activity, a $10.5M project implemented successfully over a 7.5-year period (1996-2002). Under the joint venture, ECODIT provided technical leadership for the project, including the Chief of Party (COP), and spearheaded the planning, design, and implementation/construction of three flagship projects that continue to be successfully operated by local entities today: (1) A wastewater treatment and reuse facility using low-maintenance technology for the community of Drarga near Agadir; (2) a state-of-the-art facility to treat tannery effluents and recover the chromium for reuse by tanners in Fes; and (3) a soil and water conservation project in the Oued Nakhla watershed in the north.

Ironically, a couple of months before receiving the Morocco WRS award, ECODIT’s majority shareholder (the Franco-Swiss company) decided to disinvest its interest in ECODIT, Inc. and ECODIT France sarl and as a result Joseph and Jean became the sole shareholders of each firm. In mid-2004, Jean decided to leave ECODIT and start his own consulting firm, leaving Joseph as the sole owner of ECODIT, Inc. and ECODIT Liban sarl (established in 2001).

The Morocco WRS project paved the way for other large awards from USAID, which quickly became ECODIT’s main and sometimes only client. Building on the successes of the Activity, ECODIT became the lead implementing firm for the USAID Jordan Wastewater Treatment and Reuse project (a.k.a. the Small Communities Project or SCP, June 2004-2011) under subcontract with a large firm, managing the planning, design, construction management, and operation and maintenance of two pilot septage treatment reuse facilities, one in Shobak and one in North Shouneh. Then, in 2005, ECODIT received its first and only (to date) Cooperative Agreement from USAID to implement one of Joseph’s dream projects: the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT, December 2005 – March 2008). The LMT is Lebanon’s first long-distance hiking trail and a success story in public diplomacy for the U.S. Government (USG). It remains a flagship project for USAID Lebanon today. The LMT has also become the lynchpin of ECODIT’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

Building on the above successes, ECODIT won its first worldwide Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC) from USAID in September 2006, and became the only small business to receive the Prosperity, Livelihoods, and Conserving Ecosystems (PLACE) IQC award. Under the PLACE IQC (September 2006 – October 2014), ECODIT implemented 17 task orders (TOs) worth a total of more than $30M and ranging from quick turnaround assessments and evaluations to two large complex projects in Jordan (Public Action for Water, Energy and Environment [PAP] Project) and Afghanistan (Biodiversity Support Program [BSP]). ECODIT’s strong performance under the PLACE IQC, coupled with its carefully-crafted business development strategy, resulted in the firm being awarded five worldwide Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts from USAID between 2013 and 2015 in the biodiversity/natural resources management (NRM), water, energy, and urban and local governance sectors. ECODIT has been implementing small and large size task orders under all but one of these IDIQs.

Today, ECODIT is a well-established international development group with an enviable reputation in the water, energy, environment and urban and local governance sectors. ECODIT LLC employs about 25 professionals in its home office in Arlington, Virginia, plus more than 50 professionals in project offices in Arlington, VA and around the world. ECODIT Liban sarl employs four professionals in its office near Beirut, Lebanon. ECODIT owes its growth, success, and reputation to the talent, dedication and hard work of this amazing workforce. The firm aspires to continue to attract the most talented and like-minded professionals in the international development field, and to provide them with tangible opportunities for professional growth and recognition.