Dr. Maffia spent the first 20 years of his career working as a process engineer and manager in the petrochemicals, mostly with the large oil company Atlantic Richfield, Inc. A few key projects included the Alaskan Pipeline and alternative fuels. In 1992, he joined academia at Widener University coming on as chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
He has broad research interests in environmental, energy and biotechnology areas. For example, a specific topic being researched at Manhattan College is the development of environmental and biomedical technologies based on collagen nanofibrils (USP 6,660,829, USP 8,329,091). While at Widener, Dr. Maffia founded the Collagen Research Group, which has involved more than 300 students, industrial and government researchers, and faculty colleagues. In 2010, he retired from Widener as emeritus professor, and shortly after, joined his alma mater, Manhattan College as professor of chemical engineering.