Walter L. Robb, now a management consultant and President of Vantage Management, Inc., was until 1992 the General Electric Company's Senior Vice-President for Corporate Research and Development and a member of the company's Corporate Executive Council. He directed the Schenectady, NY-based GE Research and Development Center, one of the world's largest and most diversified industrial laboratories.
Prior to assuming this position in late 1986, Dr. Robb was Senior Vice President and General Manager of GE Medical Systems, headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, for 13 years. He directed that organization's growth into the world's leading producer of medical diagnostic imaging equipment, building it into a two-billion-dollar-plus-per-year advanced technology business. Under his management, GE introduced computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) scanners that are now established as the standards in diagnostic imaging.
Dr. Robb joined the General Electric Company in 1951 as a chemical engineer at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, NY. In 1956, he transferred to the GE Research Laboratory (now part of the Global Research Center). In 1962, he was named Manager of the Center's Chemical Process branch.
Dr. Robb was appointed Manager of Research and Development at GE's Silicone Products Department in Waterford, NY in 1966; Manager of the GE Medical Venture Operation in 1968; and General Manager of the Silicone Products Department in 1971. In 1973, he was named General Manager of GE's Medical Systems Division in Milwaukee and, the following year, was elected Vice-President of the company. In 1983, he was named Senior Vice-President and Group Executive when Medical Systems was elevated to group stature.
Dr. Robb is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1994 received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton for his leadership in the CT and MR imaging industry.
Locally, he is on the boards of the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY, Proctor’s Theater, and Union Graduate College, both in Schenectady.
In 2014, he wrote and published his life story, Taking Risks, in the hopes that his example might influence people in U.S. businesses, many of whom have grown adverse to taking risks in their professional lives.