UW Honors Medical Device Entrepreneur Joe Eichinger For 35 Years Of Service
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an amniocentesis to assess the health of the developing fetus, Eichinger found himself face to face with the technology he had helped to develop.
“We went to the hospital and there sits an ATL machine. And there on the bed is Mary, and there’s a needle going in. And a little peanut in there, called Joey,” he said. “I kept thinking, God, I hope we designed this right.”
The technology at ATL had its roots in research at the UW, and Eichinger didn’t forget. It reinforced his support over the next several decades to the bioengineering department. And although Eichinger acknowledges that his work over the last 35 years at the University has not been easy—some startups never quite panned out—he confronted those challenges with the same tough, can-do attitude that he does his cancer.
“From my standpoint the UW is just a big powerhouse that is just now starting to come into its own,” Eichinger said. “I really should be thanking [all of] you for having brought so much to me over these past 35 years. I really mean that. I hope the next 35 years will be amazing and I wish the university the best,” he said.
After his remarks wrapped up, I walked up to Joe and asked him how he was feeling and what the award meant to him. Some days are better than others with the chemotherapy, he says. But Wednesday night’s gathering at UW was one of the better days.
“The energy of everyone coming together in this room makes it all uplifting,” he told me.