Paul Manz '84
As chief scientist and de facto chief technology officer for Program Executive Office Ammunition (PEO Ammo) located at Joint Center Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, Paul Manz ’84 is responsible for the transition and insertion of enabling technologies across a diverse munitions and armaments portfolio valued over $3 billion. He also oversees PEO Ammo's annual research and development budget totaling over $160 million. It’s an assignment in which he supports senior Army and Department of Defense (DOD) leadership on a variety of critical armaments issues, one that requires harnessing the specific expertise and multidisciplinary acumen of his government colleagues and industry/academia partners to solve challenging problems on behalf of our nation’s warfighters and the U.S. taxpayer.
“I definitely enjoy my job, the subject matter, and the folks I work with at Joint Center Picatinny and across the greater tactical warfare community,” Manz said.
Leveraging his primary areas of study in electrical engineering, semiconductors and communications, Manz immediately landed a job after graduation working for the Army’s Electronic Technology and Devices Laboratory at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. He also became engaged to his wife, Elizabeth, to whom he has been married for over 30 years. He noted that his BSEE degree provided him with an excellent foundation for the many things he has experienced and worked on over the last three decades.
“I think the most useful takeaways for me were the rigorous approach to problem-solving that I learned at NJIT, as well as the broad nature of the curriculum and knowledge I gained during the 139 credits of coursework I needed to graduate. Yes, I still remember that number after all these years,” Manz recalled.
“Actually, one of the things I find most interesting is that I’m still able to apply my early career EE-centric subject matter knowledge and concepts, enabled by my NJIT technical degree, to a variety of critical topics and capability gaps in my current world of advanced armaments. Semiconductor devices and the trusted-foundry supply chain needed by precision guided munitions and the use of ‘truth data’ over a system-of-systems network to overcome problems in GPS degraded/denied environments are just two examples.”
Did he ever envisage doing this while he was an NJIT student?
“This job specifically? Not in a million years,” Manz said. “I don’t think anyone in their late teens/early twenties knows exactly where life will take them. I can say that with experience as someone in their fifties. With that said, I think the choice I made to attend NJIT and that made after graduating ended up being good ones. Over my 32-year career as a DOD civilian and acquisition professional, I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to a variety of multidisciplinary subject matter across the entire materiel-development life cycle from science and technology through production and deployment. My career has spanned numerous diverse areas, such as joint munitions and armaments, Battle Command, Fire Support, Software and Information Technology, Enterprise Architecture and Interoperability, Systems Engineering and Electronic Devices. Again, I definitely enjoy my job at Joint Center Picatinny, which is a great place to work, with great people and challenging subject matter, as well as being trusted, empowered and supported by senior Army and DOD leadership to do the right things when they need to be done.”
Manz and his son, a high school junior, recently attended an NJIT Open House.
“The campus, curriculum and infrastructure improvements made over the last many years are awesome,” Manz said. “The sampling of faculty and student interactions throughout this daylong event also showed me that NJIT is still on the top of its game and continues to be a great place to get a great education at a reasonable cost.”
His most memorable moment as an undergraduate student was “probably supporting NJIT’s on-campus Octobertech and Miniversity events as an upper-classman, much like those students my son and I recently encountered at the Open House.”
“I translate the memorable enjoyment of passing along lessons learned and helpful hints to incoming freshmen from way back when to my present-day enjoyment of similarly mentoring younger members of Joint Center Picatinny’s highly professional workforce and exposing them to new career-enhancing learning experiences,” Manz said. “My lasting impression of NJIT is its demonstrated positive reputation for giving students the right education and ‘tools’ they need to succeed upon graduation and throughout their future careers. I’m just one data point, but I think NJIT did very well by me.”Christina Crovetto