Issue Date: November 14, 2011 | Web Date: November 30, 2011
Anthony B. (Tony) LaConti
Anthony B. (Tony) LaConti, 75, chief executive officer of Giner and an ion-exchange membranes pioneer, died on Sept. 5.
Born in Boston, LaConti received a B.A. degree in chemistry and mathematics from Suffolk University in 1958. He earned a master’s degree in 1960 and a doctoral degree in 1965, both in chemistry from Boston College.
He joined General Electric early in his career, rising to the position of manager of materials and technology development for the company’s electrochemical energy conversion programs. In that role, he was instrumental in the development of fuel cells for the Apollo and Gemini space programs. He also worked on extending the use of proton-exchange membranes in artificial kidneys and on chlor-alkali electrolysis and water purification. At GE, he received the aerospace instrument department’s Engineer of the Year award in both 1974 and 1979.
He remained with GE’s electrochemical group when it was acquired by United Technologies.
LaConti joined Giner, an R&D firm specializing in the development of proton-exchange membrane-based electrochemical technologies, in 1986. He subsequently applied his expertise in proton-exchange membranes to sensors, capacitors, and direct-methanol fuel cells. LaConti was one of the founders of Giner Electrochemical Systems, which was set up to accelerate the development of automotive fuel cells.
He authored numerous publications and is credited with 57 U.S. patents. He was a member of the Electrochemical Society and of ACS, which he joined in 1999.
LaConti is survived by his wife, Brenda; two daughters, Cara and Jennifer; and son, Christopher.
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