Presenting nine awards to Picatinny Arsenal honorees, the Picatinny Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association, or NDIA, held its 36th annual Firepower Awards Luncheon on Nov. 3 at the Skylands in Randolph.

Accepting the Firepower Management Award was the Senior Commander of Picatinny Arsenal and Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition, Brig. Gen. Patrick Burden.

 “I don’t feel worthy. I feel like I received more than I have given over the last two years,” Burden said in accepting his award. “I accept this award on behalf of all of you, 6,000 employees there at Picatinny Arsenal, industry partners around the room and around the county, and also the service members you serve around the country.”

Gary Barber, Product Director for Combat Armaments and Protective Systems for Project Manager Close Combat System, was acknowledged with the Victor Lindner Development Award along with two other persons.
 
“This means a lot to me because it’s named after one of my mentors when I started at Picatinny, Vic Linder,” said Gary Barber. “The biggest lesson that I’ve learned over my last 27 years of working at Picatinny is that acquisition is a team sport. No single individual is able to design, develop, produce and field Army equipment."

“It takes a very diverse team of individuals, all focused on the same goals, to deliver capabilities to the warfighter” added Barber. “It’s very analogous to sports because you need managers, coaches, team leaders and dedicated professionals with individual skills to overcome everyday diversity and challenges. 

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked on successful teams and struggled through technical problems with some truly great people here at Picatinny in order to deliver incredible firepower to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Special Operators in harm’s way,” Barber continued.
 
In addition, John Irizarry was also acknowledged with the Victor Lindner Development Award. Irizarry currently serves as the Project Officer for International Programs.  He was unable to attend, but his son Jonathan accepted his award on his behalf.

During his acceptance speech, Jonathn praised the man who the award is named after, Victor Lindner, who received a Firepower Award in 1981.

Paul Manz was the third person to receive the Victor Linder Development Award. Manz currently supports two full time senior technical leadership jobs in parallel in his “dual-hatted” capacity as the Program Executive Office Ammunition’s Chief Scientist, and Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems (PM CAS) Technical Director.

Manz thanked John Hedderich, a 1998 Firepower winner, for hiring him and bringing him to Picatinny. Hedderich is the Director of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, at Picatinny.

Col.  Willie Coleman from PM CAS accepted the Firepower Management Award.  In his acceptance remarks he thanked retired Lt. Gen.  William Phillips, former Principal  Military Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, and a 2013 Firepower recipient. Coleman said, “Phillips came to my office and said ‘You should be at Picatinny Arsenal.’”

Representing ARDEC, Brian Fuchs accepted the Firepower Technology Award for his work on Insensitive Munition Technology. He thanked his wife and many of his peers.

Chris Grassano, Chief of Staff for Picatinny’s Program Executive Office Ammunition (PEO Ammo), received a Firepower Management Award and added that, “Acquisition is a team sport and there is no ‘I’ in team.” He also thanked his father, who Grassano credits for passing on his work ethic.

Col. Moises Gutierrez, Project Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems received a Firepower Management Award.  He said, “If there were 110 of these (awards), for everyone in MAS that’s where they would go.”
Another representative of ARDEC, Larry Sotsky, accepted the Wilfred Hosking Production Award for his work in energetic materials. He thanked Curtis Anderson, Jr., who was a 2000 Firepower Award winner, for his help throughout the years.

Four other individuals from the private sector also received awards from the Picatinny chapter:

• Peter Altavilla, who received the Chapter Appreciation Award for his work in the chapter scholarship program. Altavilla is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and is employed by Alion Science and Technology.
 
• Donald Chrans, who took home the Firepower Management Award. He is retired from the Army and then became an Army civilian. He is currently the Senior Principle Business Development Director for General Dynamic Ordnance and Tactical Systems.

• Dennis Diehl accepted the Wilfred Hosking Production Award. He is currently employed as the Senior Director of Operations for production of ammunition for General Dynamic Ordnance and Tactical Division. 
• Dan Olson received a Firepower Technology Award. He is Vice President and General Manager for Orbital ATK Armament Systems Division.

Special mention was made of the late Saif Jaber Musalli, 66, who passed away on Sept. 27, 2016.
A 2003 NDIA Firepower awardee, Musalli was the Chief of Munitions Systems and Technology Division at Picatinny Arsenal.
 
A native of India, Musalli came to the United States in 1972. His contributions expanded the technology in tank ammunition, which was a game changer during Operation Desert Storm. In 1988, he became a recognized leader in this field by both government and industry partners and was recognized with the Army Research Development Achievement Award.

Musalli was also a mentor to many young Picatinny engineers and was a member of the American Islamic Academy, where he assisted in the education program of many young children.
  
The firepower awards are presented annually by the chapter to individuals employed by either government or industry whose contributions to the armaments community have distinguished their service to the national defense.