Industrial Research Institute Awards 2003 IRI Medal to Lewis S. Edelheit, Former Senior Vice President, Corporate R&D, General Electric Company

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Retired Leader of Renowned Engine of Technological Innovation is 58th Recipient of Prestigious Industry Award

Washington, DC (PRWEB) July 10, 2003 – The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) announced today that it awarded this year’s Industrial Research Institute Medal to Dr. Lewis (Lonnie) S. Edelheit, retired Senior Vice President for Corporate R&D, General Electric Company (GE) at a ceremony in conjunction with the IRI 2003 Annual Meeting on May 19.    Dr. Edelheit follows in the tradition of five other distinguished research leaders from GE who have won this award in the past, including the very first recipient, Willis Rodney Whitney, known as the “Father of Basic Research in Industry.”

Established in 1946, the IRI Medal is presented by the IRI to recognize leaders of technology for their outstanding accomplishments in technological innovation that contribute broadly to the development of industry and to the benefit of society. Dr. Edelheit has been awarded the IRI Medal for his leadership in demonstrating how to make a central R&D laboratory truly vital to its company by breaking down boundaries, launching new initiatives in areas such as quality and multi-generational product planning, increasing global reach and leading successful technology innovations that change the game. He is the 58th recipient of the IRI Medal. Other IRI Medallists from GE include: Willis Rodney Whitney, 1946; Chauncey Guy Suits, 1962; Arthur M. Bueche, 1979; Roland W. Schmitt, 1989; Walter L. Robb, 1994.

Dr. Edelheit was GE’s Senior Vice President for Corporate R&D from 1992 to 2001. His vision of an R&D laboratory vital to its company drove the combination of change and continuity that sustained and enhanced the GE R&D Center as one of the world’s great engines of technological innovation as it completed its first century under his leadership. That vision became embodied in a wide range of innovations, such as: new digital X-Ray systems that catapulted GE to leadership in an emerging billion dollar market; a composite fan blade that is at the heart of the world’s most powerful aircraft engine; and, high-efficiency turbines for power generation. Dr. Edelheit and his colleagues at the R&D Center also spearheaded the crucial “Design for Six Sigma” (DfSS) effort in GE that led to an entirely new way of designing high-quality products and processes. Dr. Edelheit is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Board member of both the Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Advanced Technology Program. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he earned his B.S. in Engineering Physics, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics.

About The Industrial Research Institute

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is the foremost business association of leaders in research and development (R&D) working together to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation in industry. Founded in 1938 through the National Research Council, the IRI is comprised of senior executives from a diverse range of industries whose member companies are investing over $70 billion annually in R&D worldwide. The IRI is the only cross-industry organization providing the R&D community with insights, solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation. For more information, call 202-296-8811 or visit the organization’s Web site at

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Robin Dvorak