Quantum CEO returns to GE research lab

June 19, 1991

Lonnie Edelheit, president and CEO of Quantum Medical Systems,will leave the ultrasound firm he has led for the last six yearsat the end of July. Edelheit will assume a senior management positionat GE's corporate research laboratory in Schenectady, NY,

Lonnie Edelheit, president and CEO of Quantum Medical Systems,will leave the ultrasound firm he has led for the last six yearsat the end of July. Edelheit will assume a senior management positionat GE's corporate research laboratory in Schenectady, NY, wherehis 16-year career with that company began.

His decision to leave Quantum was unrelated to its acquisitionby Siemens last year or the German vendor's decision to mergeits two ultrasound organizations in the U.S. (SCAN 6/5/91), Edelheitsaid.

"Siemens has been absolutely terrific. They have beengreat to Quantum and to me, going out of their way to make usfeel welcome in the organization. They will be very successful(in ultrasound)," he told SCAN.

Edelheit, who has a doctoral degree in physics, began his careerat GE as a physicist in the research laboratory. He entered themedical imaging field as manager of GE's first computed tomographydevelopment project. That led to a move to Medical Systems headquartersin Milwaukee where he headed up the ladder to become general managerof engineering and, finally, program manager in charge of CT.

He left GE to head up Quantum in 1985. Quantum, a high-endcolor-flow ultrasound vendor, was founded in 1982.

Edelheit will not work in ultrasound at GE because of a non-competeagreement with Siemens, he said.

Although the major multimodality imaging vendors in Europeand the U.S. have not been particularly successful in ultrasound,this situation may change quickly as the nature of both the companiesand the technology evolves, Edelheit said.

"My perspective working with Siemens has been that thatwill change. Ultrasound equipment has become very sophisticated.The amount of capital and technology required in the businessis increasing. I think the big companies will start to dominate.Siemens is in a great position to do that," he said.

Smaller, dedicated ultrasound companies were able to maintaintheir product focus, while much of the staff and other resourcesat the multimodality vendors was siphoned off to the high-ticket-pricemodalities of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

The larger imaging companies appear, however, to be improvingtheir management systems, while ultrasound has become a more appealingbusiness, he said.

"Companies are getting more sophisticated and so are theproducts," he said.

Large Japanese multimodality vendors have been successful inultrasound partly because they have had the management disciplineto allocate sufficient resources and staff to that business, hesaid.

Edelheit helped to found Yokogawa Medical Systems, GE's Japanesejoint venture, and served on the YMS board while he was at GEin Milwaukee.

The transition from board room to the laboratory will not beas jarring as one might suspect, he said.

"I have always been interested in the interaction of technologyand the marketplace," he said.