Mr. Melvin E. Burcz was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 30, 1929. He was educated at the Detroit Institute of Technology (B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1952), the University of Detroit (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1961), and Central Michigan University (M.A. in Industrial Management, 1974).
He has been the chief architect of modernization of the Army's tactical vehicle fleet, and his efforts have resulted in the acquisition of modern vehicles used by virtually every Army unit, as well as the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Navy, domestic government agencies, and a number of our foreign allies. Mr. Burcz was a key player in the development and fielding of the HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) family of vehicles and no less than five other series of wheel vehicles. He was also instrumental in guiding the Palletized Load System (PLS) through development and production phases, and studied and implemented several vehicle safety initiatives, to include the antilock braking systems in the M915 line haul tractor fleet.
His excellent rapport with the automotive industry here and abroad was of enormous benefit to the Army. The use of antilock brakes, steerable axles for greater mobility, and the use of the "family of vehicles concept" on Army vehicles, and the overall improvement of Army acquisitions through the sharing of information have all been a part of this fruitful relationship. Over the years, he has been a prime player in developing the strong balance that exists today between the military and private sector in the development of equipment and weaponry.
In retirement, Mr. Burcz has continued to work toward the goal of a modern well-equipped defense force with a tactical vehicle fleet of the first quality. Since his retirement in 1989, Mr. Burcz has continued making valuable contributions to the Army as a consultant.