Hall of Fame
L.S. "Lonnie" Edelheit
Global business and technology visionary who oversaw world-leading engineering breakthroughs at General Electric in areas as diverse as medical imaging, jet propulsion and advanced lighting, and whose research contributed to the advancement of computer tomography X-ray systems.
For 27 years, Dr. Lewis S. (Lonnie) Edelheit helped make GE an innovation leader in producing some of world’s most important products.
The most notable GE advances under Edelheit’s leadership were the digital X-ray mammography, the digital Cardiac Angiography Systems, advanced ultrasound medical imagers, high-efficiency turbines for power generation, the GE 90 Jet engine, advanced lighting and electronics-based appliances and weatherable plastics.
Other highlights of his tenure at GE include significant advances in the introduction of advanced technology for GE’s services businesses, Internet applications and corporate R&D’s leadership of the design for six sigma quality and e-engineering initiatives throughout the GE businesses. Also under his leadership, corporate R&D vastly expanded its global resources with the development of new technology centers in Bangalore, India, and Shanghai, China.
Edelheit spent all but five years from 1969 until his retirement in 2001 at GE, serving not only as the company’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development, but also a member of its Corporate Executive Council.
He began his professional career in 1969 as a physicist at the GE R&D Center, where he made significant contributions to computed tomography (CT) x-ray systems. He helped to pioneer major advances in computed tomography, both through his own technical work and through his leadership of engineers and scientists from a wide range of technical disciplines.
In 1976, Edelheit transferred to GE Medical Systems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he helped to move GE's radically new form of computed tomography x-ray scanner quickly to the marketplace. He formed and managed a new Applied Science and Diagnostic Imaging Laboratory and later rose to such positions as General Manager of Engineering for all GE Medical Systems products and General Manager of the Computed Tomography Programs Department, where he held marketing and profit-and-loss responsibility for GE's worldwide computed tomography scanning business.
In 1986, Edelheit left GE to become president and CEO of Quantum Medical Systems, a venture capital-backed company that pioneered color flow ultrasound for vascular imaging and continued in that position after Quantum was acquired by the Siemens Corporation. He returned to GE in 1991 as manager of the R&D Center's Electronic Systems Research Center and in 1992 assumed leadership of Corporate R&D.
Edelheit is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, who selected him as the recipient of the 2001 George E. Pake prize. In 1995, he received the University of Illinois College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from 1995 until 2002. He was also a member of the advisory board of NIST’s Advanced Technology Program. Edelheit is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Energy and Environment Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He also serves on boards of key education and service organizations on both coasts, from the Harvard Medical School to both the physics and bioengineering departments at the University of Washington and the Virginia Mason Health System Board in Seattle.
- 1964 BS Engineering Physics ILLINOIS
- 1966 MS Physics ILLINOIS
- 1969 PhD Physics ILLINOIS