Partacz’s mentorship inspires others to help future generations succeed
Early in his time working at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, Matthew Partacz said he learned how invaluable having a mentor can be and how rewarding paying his knowledge forward is. During a Naval Air Systems Command ceremony on Jan. 30, Partacz was named Lakehurst’s Mentor of the Year for his work guiding new employees to successful careers.
Partacz, who recently transitioned into the role of lead systems engineer for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) Foreign Military Sales, started at Lakehurst in 2015 as an in-service engineer working with the Aircraft Handling Support Equipment Branch. From there, he moved to the Aviation Data Management and Control System (ADMACS) program as a systems engineer and, just last year, was appointed as lead systems engineer for the Marine Aviation Data Management System (MADAMS) program before moving to his new role at the end of 2023.
Partacz said recognition from his peers was “flattering.”
“To be recognized for the efforts that I’ve been making to try to help the up-and-coming generation of the workforce is great,” Partacz said. “I’m all about trying to help the organization as a whole and help us get it where it needs to be, and you can’t do that without mentorship.”
Whether the mentorship is formal or informal, Partacz said the mentor/mentee relationship remains the same, and it all starts with having good communication.
“I think a lot of us go through our daily business without second guessing or challenging the way we’ve always done things. I think by being a mentor and trying to teach or convey things to others, it forces you to take a moment to slow down and reconsider everything,” Partacz said. “This not only helps the person being mentored, but also the mentor because now I’m rethinking and challenging assumptions I’ve had for years.”
Having worked at Lakehurst for almost a decade, Partacz said he still turns to his mentors for guidance when he needs clarity or faces a challenging situation, and he hopes his mentees would do the same. Currently, Partacz said he has five “official” mentees, and a “handful” of unofficial mentees. With several mentors to rely on, Partacz said he appreciates their willingness to go out of their way to help him and tries to pay that forward with his mentees.
Tim Albano, an ADMACS system engineer, said that as a mentee of Partacz’s, he has been very appreciative of his help during their time together, including weekly meetings and addressing any questions he has.
“Matt was one of the first people I met at NAWCAD Lakehurst, and he quickly addressed how overwhelming it can be to understand our organization early in one’s career. His passion for engineering, naval systems, the team he works with, and the organization he is part of effortlessly shines through his every interaction,” Albano said. “His positivity, willingness to assist, generosity with his time, and personal ownership of his mentee’s development set a high standard for what a mentor can be.”
Albano added that seeing how impactful Partacz’s mentorship has been for him has also inspired him to want to mentor others.
“His constant ability to go above and beyond expectations in advocating for, empowering, and supporting his mentees creates a culture of continued mentorship where the mentee has both the ability and desire to become a mentor,” Albano said. “In other words, Matt promotes a mentoring culture by altruistically providing a positive and impactful mentorship experience that drives valuable development outcomes and organically trains the next generation of mentors.”