NCDMM Honors John Olewnik as the Recipient of the 2016 Lawrence J. Rhoades Award

Prestigious Award Recognizes Achievement in Dedication to Advancement of Manufacturing Technology

Blairsville, Pa. — May 5, 2016. The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) proudly announces that yesterday at its annual SUMMIT event, it awarded its highest honor, the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award, to John Olewnik. NCDMM awards the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award to an individual who shares Mr. Rhoades’ tireless commitment, futuristic vision, and unwavering dedication to the defense manufacturing industry.

Mr. Olewnik has extensive experience in administrative and leadership positions within engineering, manufacturing, and management of highly technical projects and programs in both government and private sectors. Currently, Mr. Olewnik provides consultation and technical support to the Department of Defense (DoD) Director of Manufacturing Technology, the Missile Defense Agency Manufacturing Producibility Branch, and the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Program (JDMTP) Directors.

In summarizing Mr. Olewnik’s career and comparing his contributions to those of the late Mr. Rhoades, NCDMM President and Executive Director Ralph Resnick said, “John has had a similarly impactful career on the Defense Manufacturing community. In deference to John’s Naval roots, I equate him to the keel on a ship—contrary to a few that may say anchor—the foundation and stabilizer of any organization or important initiatives that he has been engaged with. For several decades, John has provided that steady guidance to the DoD ManTech community with a true sense of purpose, clear focus, and utmost dedication. Not once, have I ever experienced him to be self-indulgent or politically motivated, rather he is steadfast in his execution, yet tolerant and mindful of conflicting input.

“The assistance and guidance John has provided all of us at NCDMM and the defense manufacturing community at large epitomizes the purpose and spirit intended for the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award, and is an individual that Larry would have been proud and pleased to have his name immortally associated with,” continued Resnick. “In recognition of his tireless commitment, dedication and actions on behalf of the defense and national manufacturing community and the mission of NCDMM, please join me in welcoming our new Rhoades Scholar, the Keel of the Defense ManTech community, and the 2016 NCDMM Lawrence J. Rhoades Awardee, the ‘Organizer’, Mr. John Olewnik.”

NCDMM established the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award to honor the memory of Mr. Rhoades whose entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the advancement of manufacturing processes was known industry-wide. Mr. Rhoades was one of the founding fathers of the NCDMM, and an inaugural member of the Board of Directors where he served until his untimely death in 2007.

Mr. Olewnik first joined as the Program Manager for Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) ManTech/JDMTP in 2003. In those roles, he is responsible for assessing and identifying advanced technologies and their applications for improving U.S. military and industrial capability; conducting and supporting strategic planning involving a wide range of diverse technologies; participating in factory surveys and manufacturing issue identification. He also actively participates in annual OSD Buy Plan and Institute discussions for commitment of ManTech funding and advises OSD’s leadership on matters of investment and leveraging opportunities, provides an industry’s perspective on defense manufacturing, and acts as a mentor and advisor for junior personnel.

From 1993 to 2003, Mr. Olewnik was a Program Officer for the Office of Naval Research’s Navy ManTech program. In that capacity, he provided expert engineering advice for electronics manufacturing technology within the DoD; identified and integrated service requirements, conducted joint service component program planning, developed joint strategies, and directed the execution of the Navy’s Manufacturing Technology Electronics and Electro-Optics Centers of Excellence. Concurrently, he chaired the DoD JDMTP Electronic Processing and Fabricate Sub-panel (1996-2001) and served as Special Assistant to the JDMTP (2001-2003).

Prior to his work at OSD, for nearly 30 years, from 1965 to 1993, Mr. Olewnik worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities.

Mr. Olewnik graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and has Graduate Management Courses from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also an alumnus of Penn State University’s Executive Management Program.



NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industry, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies. NCDMM also manages the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3DP printing (3DP), America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. For additional information, visit NCDMM at