ABOUT ED EICHENLAUB
A graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia, where he triple-majored in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, Ed finished second in his class and a semester early. While looking for his first job in health administration, Ed decided to accept work as a timekeeper for US Steel. Although Ed only spent a few months working in the mills while he interviewed for jobs in health care, it was an experience he will never forget. “It was 1978 and the mills were closing. I saw first-hand the damage inflicted on families and communities with the loss of good-paying jobs. It made a lasting impression on me.”
Ed accepted a position as a biochem-nutritional researcher. While working at Montefiore Hospital, his skills quickly caught the attention of the Plastic Surgery Division and he was challenged to develop a new surgical teaching program which would reattach severed digits of hands and feet. He subsequently began the Microsurgery Program for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In 1983, Dr. Joseph Maroon, the new chairman of AGH’s Neurosurgery Department, caught word of his program and of Ed’s talents and passion for excellence. As a result, he asked him to join his team and develop the hospital’s Neurosurgery Research Department. A year later, Ed’s team formed the nation’s only Microsurgery and LASER Research Department, developing micro-discectomy surgery and working with an engineer from NASA to employ an experimental LASER to perform the delicate tissue fusion of microsurgery.
Ed subsequently worked closely with Zeiss Microscope on the experimental LASER project and eventually left Allegheny General Hospital and Pittsburgh in 1987 to become the company’s product specialist after it had perfected a line of medical LASERs. In 1991, an offer to replicate his research for Dr. Mark May at Shadyside Hospital brought him back to working in Pittsburgh, allowing him to spend more time with his family. While at Shadyside Hospital, Ed’s research focused on education and training for the surgical residents incorporating video production, and he and his team developed a state of the art video editing center.
When U.S. Air Flight 427 crashed in Hopewell Township in 1994, Ed was asked by WTAE to aid in screening and editing of the footage from the crash, building a long-term relationship with the station where he would edit the evening and weekend news. During this time, he continued to work at UPMC/Shadyside Hospital, where he would eventually serve as its Ear, Nose, and Throat Patient Coordinator in the hospital’s ENT-Facial Paralysis Department.
In 2012, Ed took on a new role, becoming a health inspector for the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD). In an effort to further improve conditions in Allegheny County, he sought a way to become more vocal and have a greater presence in community issues. Learning that there was an open seat on the Democratic ticket for the State Senate Seat for District 37, Ed pursued it. The year proved highly rewarding as he was able to meet a great deal of people and received 52,000 votes in the senatorial election, roughly 40% of all votes cast in the district. While he did not win, Ed refuses to sit idly on the sidelines of politics as he is now considering other political aspirations.
Ed and his wife have five sons who have been heavily active in the Boy Scouts of America for the past 25 years. Ed, himself, became the Cub Master of Pack 36, 4 and 8 and Scout Master of two troops. Ed has a passion for healthy nutrition and gardening and is a Penn State Master Gardener and staunch proponent of the need for healthy eating and living. An avid animal lover, he also serves as assistant treasurer of the Friends of South Park.
Pursuing new avenues in learning, willing to change course to better himself, his family and his community, and always respecting others are staples of Ed’s life. He is vested in western Pennsylvania and improving the quality of life, preserving our heritage and embracing new technologies and opportunities for our neighborhoods and all of the local residents.