Forensic Engineering Staff

Intertek’s multidisciplinary forensic engineers are experts in their chosen field and have decades of experience. They have investigated many high-profile, large-loss incidents and can provide scientific analysis, litigation support and expert testimony.

Meet Intertek's Forensic Engineering team:
 
Nikhil Kumar is an engineering economist with extensive experience providing research and consulting services to electric utilities, merchant power plants and government agencies. He has been working with various system operators, utilities, power plant operators and national laboratories on renewable energy and power plant cycling cost analysis.

In the forensic area, Nikhil specializes in cost of cycling power plants, operations & maintenance (O&M) cost and practices and their impact on power plant reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM), flexible power generation, cost recovery, and emissions regulations. His expertise includes the development and application of advanced methods for asset performance management, power plant operations optimization, electric system planning and dispatch, merchant plant bidding, and smart grid solutions.

Nikhil is a member of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He serves on the ASME RAM Committee for Power Plants and has a B.E. in Engineering from University of Mumbai, an M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from North Carolina State University, and a Graduate Certificate in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

Bill McKeen’s expertise lies in the engineering design of shop fabricated and field installed products for highway departments, municipalities, utilities, marine and petrochemical industries. He has participated in investigations of failures of structures, pipelines, valves and related equipment to determine the root cause of failure.

His forensic engineering experience has included analyzing wind-damaged above ground fuel storage tanks, an explosion in a sulphuric acid tank, and the fracture of a hydraulic cylinder for fabricating prestressed concrete beams.

Bill graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering. He is also a member of several industry bodies including National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Dick Schreiber has over 40 years of professional mechanical engineering experience. He specialises in the failure analysis of mechanical and electro-mechanical equipment, boilers and machinery, piping, appliances, and other devices that are involved in complex accidents, fires and explosions. He also focuses on escaped water losses.

Some of the large losses Dick has investigated include a rocket fuel oxidizer plant explosion (Henderson, NV, 1988), an ammonium nitrate fertilizer plant explosion (Port Neal, Iowa, 1994), a vapor cloud explosion of natural gas at a combined cycle power plant (Middletown, CT, 2010), a meat packing plant fire (Booneville, AR, 2008), a propane explosion in a commercial building (Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 1996), explosions at three oil refineries (Delaware City, DE, 2001 and Big Spring, TX, 2008 and Texas City, TX, 2009).  During these investigations, Dick and his team interacted with the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), federal and state OSHA, the ATF and the NTSB.

Dick graduated from the University of California with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, and is a registered Professional Engineer.

Douglas Hilleman is a Florida professional engineer and a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

He has 46 years of experience in the power generation industry and his expertise includes general boiler design, power plant maintenance, and balance of plant; power plant operation; plant reliability improvements, process management and improvement.

During his career, Douglas has managed design, operation, maintenance, performed plant inspections for reliability assessment, damage assessment, and as a plant representative on a system-wide boiler, he and his team provided support that included predictive and preventative analysis, troubleshooting/failure analysis and countermeasures to manage the cost effective life of plant assets.

In the forensic area, Doug has experience in failure analysis with a focus on disputes between power plant owners and original equipment manufacturers on the suitability for service, remaining life and warranties on boilers and balance of plant equipment.

Eric Sullivan is a registered Professional Engineer and graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering. He has over 37 years of metallurgical engineering experience in the fields of materials, metallurgical and welding engineering, non-destructive testing and failure investigation.

Eric specialises in the analysis of mechanical equipment, engines, combustion, steam turbines and devices that are involved in complex accidents, losses, fires and explosions. He is also experienced in providing testimony for deposition, mediation and trial.  In the past, Eric has performed accident reconstructions and evaluated failures of equipment, devices and systems that have caused accidents, fires and explosions in oxygen and oxyacetylene systems, refiners, industrial boilers and natural gas storage facilities. 

Fatma Faham is a senior project manager with experience in performing stress analysis, design calculations and remaining life estimations for power generation components, e.g. tubing, piping systems and pressure vessels.

She also has experience in performing failure analysis of power plant components associated with turbine, boilers and piping systems as well as pressure vessels, heaters and condensers. She also has experience performing metallurgical and mechanical laboratory analyses of power plant components using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), optical microscopy and stress rupture testing methods. She has experience performing metallurgical evaluation, failure analysis, inspections and weld repairs of Grade 91 material. Fatma graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Middle East Technical University, obtained an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and is a registered Professional Engineer in California, Rhode Island, and Texas.

Dr. Egan graduated from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and gained a Ph.D. from the University of London. He is a member of several industry bodies including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Welding Society (AWS) and the American Society of Non-destructive Testing (ASNT).

Dr. Egan has provided expert witness testimony in a range of forums including state and federal courts, mediations, arbitrations, and federal and state licensing hearings. He has also been retained and served as an arbitrator under the rules of the American Arbitration Association.

Dr. Egan is a world-renowned expert in the area of mechanical integrity assessment of pipelines and petrochemical plant process equipment.

He has worked on projects in numerous locations around the world including Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

Grant Lanthorn is a licensed professional engineer with over ten years of experience in power generation with a focus on achieving economic system reliability. Grant has specific expertise in combustion and steam turbine/generator O&M as well as all associated auxiliary equipment.

In the forensic area, he focuses on identifying the drivers of equipment failures, determining the design, maintenance, and operational inadequacies that cause the failures as well as the organizational and human performance factors that contribute.

Grant holds B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics & Optical Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Henry Vaillancourt has over 35 years of experience in the fields of metallurgical engineering, welding and failure analysis.

In the forensic area, Henry has testified in matters involving boiler material selection criteria and welding defects in structures. Henry graduated from the California Polytechnic State University with a B.S. in Metallurgical/Welding Engineering.

Dr. Kim Clark has over 40 years of experience in solving equipment and system problems in mechanical engineering and thermosciences using engineering analysis and testing. He has conducted many investigations into the origin and cause of complex fires and explosions in chemical process plants, industrial facilities, and commercial and residential buildings. Dr. Clark has provided testimony for deposition, mediation, arbitration and trial.

Dr. Clark has co-authored a book on the procedures, techniques and lessons learnt from origin and cause investigations of large losses. During his career, he has investigated ethylene plant heat exchanger shell catastrophic failure; stationary, truck and marine diesel engine failures; origin and cause of numerous fires and explosions in chemical plants, refineries, steel and metal heat treating plants, warehouses, commercial and residential buildings, and ships.

Dr. Clark graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and gained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. 

Mr. Jim Yavelak is a senior metallurgist, and is experienced in the research and development of advanced nondestructive examination (NDE) techniques for critical boiler components. Research includes investigating changes in material properties reflective of long operating time stressed aging of microstructures and the kinetics of precipitation in microalloyed steels. Work experience includes failure analysis of boiler pressure parts, material evaluation, electron microscopy, troubleshooting, degradation rates, root cause determinations, and boiler tube failure reduction programs, Developed recognizable microstructure “scale” for estimating the failure temperature of carbon steel tubes in-service in power generating equipment. Also participated in developing nondestructive oxide measurement techniques and internal tube damage ultrasonic measurement methods.
 
Past experiences include participation on due diligence teams during evaluation of New England Electric, Montana Power, and Southern California Edison systems. Specialized in power boiler evaluations, and development of degradation-based capital and maintenance spending forecasts.
 
Recent experience includes estimating the cost of cycling boilers; boiler condition assessment; monitoring the development of new condition assessment techniques; participating in field trials and commercialization of these new techniques; and project management of boiler condition assessment strategies and recommendations.

Martín Gascón earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at the USC (Spain) in 2010. His Ph.D. thesis was centered in the construction of a gamma-ray and light charged particles detector for the study of nuclear reactions with radioactive beams at relativistic energies.

He had a 2-year postdoctoral position at Stanford and after, he was a 3-year Physicist Research Fellow at Berkeley National Laboratories. His research activities involved studying radiation detectors for homeland security applications.

He was a fellow of the Insight Data Science program where he built numerous tools and websites to analyze big data from different fields. His current job involves statistical analysis and machine learning techniques for the Energy Sector.  

Marvin Cohn has over 35 years of experience in the fields of engineering mechanics, stress analysis and metallurgy. He graduated with a B.S. in Physical Metallurgy from the University of Washington and obtained an M.S. in Engineering from the University of California. Marvin is an author of more than 50 technical papers, including eight professional journal papers, and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as well as a member of the ASME B31.1 Power Piping Section Committee.

His recent work involves simulation of high energy piping calculated displacements to field measurements for more accurate stress predictions and remaining creep life estimates of main steam and hot reheat piping systems.  Marvin has provided litigation support for disputes involving the contracted design of high energy steam piping.

Mike Cronin specialises in material stress analysis, fracture mechanics analysis and non-destructive testing. He is an expert with ANYSYS computer modelling software for stress analysis.  The accuracy of his analysis results is enhanced by the combination of his theoretical background with his knowledge of mechanical systems. He has over 40 years’ experience and is a member of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and American Welding Society (AWS). Mike graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Mathematics.  In his spare time, he gained an A.A. in Computer Studies, Programming and an A.S. in Computer Science from Ohlone College.

His recent work has involved fracture mechanics based suitability for service analyses of large high pressure steam turbine rotors and research on the effects of residual weld stresses on fractures.  

Mike’s forensic engineering experience includes analysing and testifying on failures of pressure vessels and piping, buried and undersea pipelines, solar plant support structures, wind turbine blades, and turbine rotors.  

Michael Liu is a project engineer who specializes in root and direct cause analysis, with specific project experience in heat transfer, flow-induced vibration, thermal-hydraulic analysis, and lifecycle projection. Mr. Liu also specializes in PWR steam generator analysis (tubing integrity, aging management, and computational fluid dynamics with ATHOS), 10CFR50 Appendix B quality assurance, nuclear procurement, receipt inspection, vendor auditing, and scheduling and cost estimation. He is an active member of several ASME B&PVC task groups for Section XI.

A member of the California Conference of Arson Investigators, Phil Wheeler has provided investigation and expert testimony in cases involving electrical equipment and systems. He has over 40 years of electrical engineering experience in the fields of design, construction, operation and maintenance of electrical power systems, and specialises in failure analysis and prevention.

He has investigated failures in electrical equipment such as high voltage capacitor switches, air conditioning controls, underground cables, appliances and overhead conductors. In addition, Phil has also performed fire and explosion investigations in plastics recycling, oil field, rocket fuel storage and residential appliances.

Phil is a registered Professional Engineer and has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the California State Polytechnic University and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Mr. Gialdini is a registered Professional Engineer (Mechanical) with experience in failure analysis, mechanical testing, instrumentation, and data acquisition. His experience includes analysis of steady-state and transient stress, strain, and temperature fields using ANSYS finite element software; fatigue and fracture analysis of mechanical components. He has designed and fabricated testing equipment for the investigation of various mechanical failures; including a high cycle fatigue tester for cast aluminum components, a bolt torsion and tensile strength fixture, and a boiler ignition system.  Mr. Gialdini is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Tom Burnett has over 40 years of experience in the field of fossil power plant design, construction, start-up, controls, operation, maintenance, system upgrades and performance analysis. His extensive experience includes lignite, coal, oil and gas combustion in utility and industrial boiler applications.

Tom has testified in matters involving the effect of operation and maintenance practices on the reliability and condition of power plants, including an industrial cogeneration plant and a large coal-fired supercritical boiler. Tom graduated with a B.S. in Marine Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).  

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