Paul Merluzzi, E’66
Paul Merluzzi chose Northeastern for the co-op program, and when he started that first co-op with The Bristol Company, Merluzzi says, he knew he’d made the right choice. At Bristol, Merluzzi found the kind of mentoring help that is so valuable to students trying to work in demanding technical environments. One in particular—and engineer named Joe Wiencko—stands out to this day.
“He took me under his wing,” recalls Merluzzi. “He really was a great mentor and tutor. He even gave me homework when I was on co-op. He’d give me stuff to read and then he’d quiz me on it the next day.
“I learned an amazing amount of stuff from him and some of the stuff I learned from him made some of the courses that I took at Northeastern quite easy because I was learning on the job,” Merluzzi would do all of his Northeastern co-ops with the firm.
After Northeastern, he attended Case Western Reserve University, where he earned MS and PhD degrees in systems and control engineering. Merluzzi worked at three engineering firms before founding his own company, Sequential Automation Consultants, in 1983.
The Pennsylvania-based company provides control systems engineering services, does system integration, and develops software, among other things.
Outside of his career, Merluzzi is president of Music at Gretna, a chamber music series held at Mt. Gretna in Pennsylvania, and is on the board of the Kennett Symphony Orchestra. He lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his wife Irena.
On his first co-op at The Bristol Company: “It was right at the beginning of the solid-state age in electronics and the Bristol Company was building one of the first solid-state process controllers. A process controller is something that’s installed at a manufacturing operation and it helps to regulate whatever operation they’re doing, like controlling flow or controlling temperature. I was a technician with a group that was developing that first solid-state controller.”
On meeting his mentor, Joe Wiencko, while on co-op: “He took me under his wing. He really was a great mentor and tutor. He even gave me homework when I was on co-op. He’d give me stuff to read and then he’d quiz me on it the next day. I learned an amazing amount of stuff from him and some of the stuff I learned from him made some of the courses that I took at Northeastern quite easy because I was learning on the job.”
On his company, Sequential Automation Consultants: “We do consulting and what’s called system integration work. We take hardware and software components that are provided by other manufacturers—some hardware components bought from one company and a software component from another company—and we engineer them and make them all work together. And that’s used to solve some type of manufacturing automation problem that the customer has.”