2019 Speaker Biographies

Chemistry & Materials

Diagnostics & Monitoring

BMS & Charging

Transportation Safety

Consumer Safety

Recycling & Repurposing

Post-Incident Investigations

Increasing Efficiency and Thermal Stability of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Kyle Crompton, PhD, Scientist, Power and Energy Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division


Bishnu R. Dahal, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physics, South Dakota State University


Jesse C. Kelly, PhD, Team Lead and Research Scientist, Materials Research Group, Technology Development Division, Luna Innovations, Inc. 

Jesse Kelly is a Research Scientist and Team Lead at Luna Innovations where he manages Department of Defense and Department of Energy contract research programs focused on new material technologies. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2008. Following graduation, he was employed as a Thermal Systems Engineer and Research Assistant at Siemens Energy. At Siemens, Jesse worked on the design of advanced power plant concepts and the DOE’s Advanced Hydrogen Turbine Development Program. Dr. Kelly completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Clemson University (2014) with a dissertation focused on responsive polymers for inherently safe lithium-ion batteries. Since joining Luna Innovations, he has served as principal investigator on numerous contract R&D programs. His active areas of research include functional coatings for corrosion protection; advanced sealants and adhesives; high performance gas separation membranes (CO2, O2), and both responsive and bioderived materials for energy and sustainability.

Vilas G. Pol, PhD, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

Professor Vilas Pol is Associate Professor at Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering, USA. He earned his MSc, and M. Phil. degrees from Pune University, India and PhD from Bar-Ilan University of Israel. He was a materials scientist at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, IL, USA (2007-2013). Pol has 19 years of research experience in the fields of energy storage, materials chemistry, engineering and electrochemistry. He has authored or co-authored more than 170 research publications (h index 41) and an inventor on 25 US patents/applications. He is ACS Grand Prize winner, was named as ‘Argonne Scholar’, MRS science as art first prize, Intel prize, Argonne’s Near Hit Safety award, 2013 British Carbon Society’s Brian Kelly Award and is a ‘Gold Medalist’ in Sports. He won R&D 100 award in 2015 and was honored with the American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s Sustainable Engineering Forum Research Award in 2016. Purdue University honored him with ‘Seed for Success’ award in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Pol was named as ‘Purdue Faculty Scholar’ in the year 2018 and in 2019 he received Richard M. Fulrath award from the American Ceramic Society. Pol is a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record holder for the fastest time to arrange all the elements of the periodic table. https://engineering.purdue.edu/ViPER/index.html

Mark E. Roberts, PhD, Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Clemson University

Dr. Roberts received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University in 2002 and went on to work as a Process Engineer at Semitool, Inc. Roberts received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University (2009) with Prof. Zhenan Bao, where he was awarded the NASA GSRP Fellowship. He later worked as a Postdoc at Sandia National Lab on various energy-related topics. In 2010, Roberts joined Clemson as an Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His group is investigating conducting polymeric materials and nanostructures and responsive polymer electrolytes for energy storage devices.

Dee Strand, PhD, CSO, Wildcat Discovery Technologies

Dr. Dee Strand is a Senior Scientist at Wildcat Discovery Technologies. Dr. Strand has over twenty years of experience in materials research, development, and commercialization, primarily in the areas of energy storage and electronic applications. Prior to joining Wildcat in 2013, Dr. Strand served as a Research Fellow at Dow Chemical, where she was the technical lead in Dow Energy Materials, as well as the Principal Investigator on external research programs with universities and national labs on battery materials. Dr. Strand also has extensive experience in patent analysis and technical due diligence of new technologies. Dr. Strand completed her PhD in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the supervision of Professor John Schrag. Her PhD research focused on rheology and birefringence of polymeric solutions. Dr. Strand also holds a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from North Dakota State University.

Xiao-Guang Sun, PhD, Research Scientist, Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Xiao-Guang Sun is a Senior Research Scientist in the Chemical Science Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received his PhD degree from Arizona State University in 2001. His main research interests are developing salts, liquid, and solid polymeric electrolytes, as well as organic electrode materials for energy storage devices such as Li-ion, Mg-ion and Al-ion batteries. He is also interested in applying ionic liquid electrolytes on metal deposition for various applications. He has won two R&D 100 awards, published more than 80 peer-refereed papers and one book chapter, and has been awarded 15 US patents with 12 pending applications.

Joseph Sunstrom, PhD, Senior Applications Development Chemist, DaikinAmerica

A battery professional with hands on experience in all aspects of the battery business - basic research, product development, manufacturing, and technical sales/marketing. I have experience in the battery industry encompassing consumer, aerospace/defense, medical and automotive applications. In addition, I have also interacted extensively in the battery materials markets. My main objective is to contribute to moving the battery industry towards a more widespread and profitable position.

Akiyoshi Suzuki, Engineer, ISET/GMTS, ULVAC, Inc.

Mr. Akiyoshi Suzuki received M.S. degree in Engineering from Shizuoka University, Japan in 2007 and then joined the Institute of Semiconductor and Electronics Technologies(ISET) in ULVAC, Inc. He has been developing manufacturing technology for all-solid-state thin-film secondary batteries based on vacuum technology such as sputtering, evaporation and polymerization techniques since 2010.

Venkataraman Thangadurai, PhD, Professor and Associate Head, Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary

Dr. Venkataraman Thangadurai is full professor of chemistry at the University of Calgary, Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom. He received his BSc from Sacred Heart College in Tirupattur, India in 1989 and his MSc from Muthurangam Government Arts College in Vellore, India in 1991. He received his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India in 1999 and did his PDF at the University of Kiel, Germany. He received a prestigious PDF fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany. Dr. Thangadurai received his Habilitation degree from the University of Kiel in 2004 and started his independent career in Calgary in 2005. He received the prestigious Keith Laidler Award from the Canadian Society of Chemistry in 2016 for his outstanding contributions to physical chemistry. His current research activities include discovery of novel ceramic membranes and mixed ion and electron conductors for all-solid-state-Li batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, solid oxide electrolysis cells, and electrochemical gas sensors.

Alevtina White-Smirnova, PhD, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Applied Biological Sciences, Materials Engineering and Science Program, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Director, NSF IUCRC Center for Green Solid-State Electric Power Generation and Storage

Dr. Smirnova’s career is focused on developing efficient and eco-friendly electric power generation and storage devices, such as supercapacitors, fuel cells, and batteries. She authored and co-authored over 200 publications, such as book chapters, patents, and manuscripts in peer reviewed journals. Her research includes investigation of ionic and electronic transport mechanisms in solid and polymer materials, heterogeneous low and high temperature electro-catalysis, and new architectural designs of ionic/electronic conductors and nanocomposites achieved through various materials deposition approaches, such supercritical fluids, physical vapor deposition, and aerosol ink-jet printing. Dr. Smirnova is the Director of the NSF IUCRC Center for Green Solid-State Electric Power generation and Storage (CEPS), with appointments in both the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biological Sciences and the Electrical Engineering Department. She actively participates in the Materials Engineering and Science program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Yuan Yang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University

Dr. Yang is an Assistant Professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia University. He obtained his PhD in materials science from Stanford University and he was a postdoc at MIT for 2012-2015. He has extensive experience on electrochemical energy storage, including solid state batteries, fundamental characterizations, lithium metal anode, and thermal management. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal papers with citation over 15,000 times. After joining Columbia in 2015, he has already published in Science, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, and JACS as the corresponding author. He is a Scialog Fellow for Advanced Energy Storage, awarded for top young scientists in the United States.

Diagnostics & Model Analysis Reveal Safety Strategies

Eric C. Darcy, PhD, Battery Technical Discipline Lead, Propulsion and Power Division, NASA-Johnson Space Center

Eric C. Darcy, PhD, has spent his 32-year career at NASA in the areas of battery design, verification, and safety assessments for the rigors of manned spacecraft applications. As Battery Technical Discipline Lead at NASA-JSC, his main objective has been the development of safe, while high performing, battery systems with a deep focus on understanding, preventing, and mitigating latent defects that could lead to catastrophic cell internal short circuits. With National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) colleagues, he is co-inventor of the patented On-demand Internal Short Circuit Device that has provided significant design insights into the cell response during thermal runaway (TR), enabled valid battery TR propagation assessment, and received the prestigious R&D100 award in 2016 and Runner-up NASA Invention of 2017. He has led NASA’s design and test efforts for providing a path for developing safe, high performing Li-ion spacecraft batteries using small commercial cells. He teaches a Li-ion battery safety course with emphasis on design features and verification measures for achieving passive propagation resistance. He’s been invited to give talks at numerous battery conferences, has over 30 publications and 2 patents, and has participated in audits of numerous Li-ion cell production lines across Asia and North America.

Donal Finegan, PhD, Battery Researcher, Vehicle Electrification, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Donal Finegan is a staff scientist at the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where his work focuses on the application of advanced X-ray techniques as a diagnostic tool for understanding failure and degradation mechanisms of Li-ion batteries. He has worked alongside the NASA Johnson Space Center for the past 3 years to characterize and mitigate the risks associated with failure of high-energy density commercial cell designs. Dr. Finegan completed his PhD at University College London (UCL) where he pioneered the field of high-speed X-ray imaging as a diagnostic technique for characterizing thermal runaway inside failing cells. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received numerous awards for his work, including the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Young Researcher Award, The Royal Society of Chemistry's Sheelagh Campbell Award, the Umicore Materials Technology Award, and The Engineer Safety and Security Award.

Dania Ghantous, VP Technology and Co-Founder, Qnovo

Dania, a Qnovo co-founder, is a battery scientist at heart. She brings a deep base of experience in Lithium-Ion technology and materials from her work at Imara, Nanogram, and Greatbatch. Her expertise enables her to understand the theoretical promise of new materials and technology, yet distill it into practical implementations that can be readily commercialized. Dania’s team develops the core battery science behind Qnovo’s fast charging algorithms.

Mathias Henriksen, MSc, Research Associate, Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences, University of South-Eastern Norway

Mathias Henriksen started his studies in 2006 in Gas and Energy technology (Undergrad) and finished in 2012 with an MSc in Process technology at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN). After working 3 years with modeling and simulation in FMC Technology, he returned to the USN as a Chief Engineer. In 2017, he took leave from his position as Chief Engineer to start as a PhD student within Explosions, Combustion and Process Safety. The PhD is part of a national research center called Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems (www.MoZEES.no), which focuses on battery and hydrogen value chain, system, and application. The goal of the research is to find combustion properties and simulate incidents from vented Li-ion batteries. The results will be used to reduce risk and safely implement Li-ion battery systems. The PhD is within a research group that focuses on combustion, deflagration and detonations, shock waves and simulation at USN.

Ankur Jain, PhD, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington

Ankur Jain is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Texas, Arlington, USA. He directs the Microscale Thermophysics Laboratory (www.uta.edu/mtl), which carries out experimental and theoretical research on heat transfer and energy conversion in Li-ion batteries, microscale thermal transport, etc. He received the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award (2018), UTA College of Engineering Outstanding Early Career Award (2017), NSF CAREER Award (2016), and the ASME EPP Division Young Engineer of the Year Award (2013). Dr. Jain was among a small group of US-based researchers invited by the US National Academy of Sciences to participate in the 5th Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium in 2017. He has published 63 journal articles and delivered 43 invited talks/tutorials on topics related to energy conversion and heat transfer in batteries, microelectronics, and biological systems. His research has been supported by National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research, Indo-US Science & Technology Forum, and several private companies.

Elisabeth Kolp, MSc, Research Associate, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Institute for Electrical Energy Storage Technology, Technical University of Munich

Elisabeth Kolp received the B.Eng. Degree in Renewable Energies – Electrical Engineering from the Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany in 2013, and the MSc Degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from the Technical University of Munich, Germany in 2015. In 2011, she worked with the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, where she investigated the loss currents inside a redox-flow battery. During her master studies she successfully completed her master thesis ‘Developing a thermal-electrical FEM-model for cell connectors of a high voltage battery system’ with BMW in Munich. Since 2016, she has been with the Chair of Electrical Energy Storage Technology, Technical University of Munich, as a Research Associate. Her current research interests include thermal modelling of lithium-ion batteries with the focus of thermal runaway propagation.

Xiang Liu, PhD, Visiting Scientist, Electrochemical Energy Storage Group, Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory

Xiang Liu, now a visiting scientist in Dr. Khalil Amine’s group in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering division of Argonne National Laboratory, graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 2016 with a PhD degree. After that he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy in the Automotive Department of Tsinghua University in Prof. Minggao Ouyang’s group. His research interest was focused on the understanding of battery degradation and safety related issues, as well as the design of battery materials with long-life and high safety for electric vehicles. His has more than 20 publications on lithium-ion batteries and battery safety.

Yuliya Preger, PhD, Senior Member of Technical Staff, Energy Storage Technology & Systems, Sandia National Laboratories

Yuliya Preger is a Senior Member of Technical Staff in the Energy Storage Technology and Systems Group at Sandia National Labs. Her current work is centered on the safety and reliability of lithium-ion batteries for grid-level energy storage applications. This work ranges from cell level cycling and thermal characterization, to development of new power electronics architectures factoring in battery safety. She earned her PhD and BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MIT, respectively.

Wolfgang Schade, PhD, Head, Department Fiber Optical Sensor Systems, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute; Head, Department Applied Photonics, IEPT, Clausthal University of Technology

Wolfgang Schade is a full Professor of physics at Clausthal University of Technology in Germany and also head of the department Fiber Optical Sensor Systems of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Insititute in Goslar/Germany. He is author or co-author of more than 120 papers in journals and books and holds more than 20 patents. His research interests are laser spectroscopy, femtosecond laser materials processing, and applications of fiber sensors to industrial process control and medical. Very recently, he and his team developed a fiber optical 3D shape and tracking system on the basis of fiber Bragg gratings processed in a single-mode optical fiber by point-to-point femtosecond laser direct writing.

Anna G. Stefanopoulou, PhD, William Clay Ford Professor of Technology; Director, Energy Institute, University of Michigan

Professor Anna Stefanopoulou is the William Clay Ford Professor and the Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Michigan. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Technical Specialist at Ford Motor Company. She is an ASME (08), an IEEE (09) and a SAE (18) fellow, an elected member of the Executive Committee of the ASME Dynamics Systems and Control Division and the Board of Governors of the IEEE Control Systems Society. She has received multiple awards in powertrain control technology and has been a member of the US National Academies committees on Light Duty Vehicle fuel efficiency. She has co-authored a book, 21 US patents, and more than 340 publications (7 of which have received awards) on estimation and control of internal combustion engines and electrochemical processes such as fuel cells and batteries.

William Q. Walker, PhD, Aerospace Technologist, Engineering Directorate (EA) Structural Engineering Division (ES) Thermal Design Branch (ES3), NASA Johnson Space Center

Dr. William Q. Walker received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Texas A&M University and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Houston. William is employed by NASA Johnson Space Center where his career primarily focuses on the safe design and optimization of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery assemblies for human spaceflight applications. Specifically, William focuses on the thermal management of Li-ion battery assemblies, battery safety in general, and the development of new calorimetric techniques for thermal runaway characterization. Most recently, Dr. Walker has been involved with and supported the development of Fractional Thermal Runaway Calorimetry (FTRC) techniques which provide the capability to discern the fraction of thermal runaway energy ejected away from the Li-ion cell versus that which remains with the cell. Recently recognized with a NASA Trailblazer award and with the RNASA Stellar Award for his early career contributions to Li-ion battery thermal analysis and calorimetry methods, Dr. Walker continues to be engaged in the academic and professional communities focused on battery safety.

Optimizing Battery Management Systems & Charging Strategies

Yevgen Barsukov, PhD, Head of Algorithm Development, Battery Management Systems, Texas Instruments, Inc

Yevgen Barsukov is the head of the algorithm development in the battery management group at Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI). By applying leading theoretical methods of battery analysis, Yevgen is advancing battery fuel-gauging, health and safety technology used in notebooks, mobile-phones, PDAs and other portable devices. Prior to joining TI, his research was focused on Impedance Spectroscopy based testing and modeling of batteries. He co-authored books on impedance spectroscopy and on battery power management, multiple patents and journal publications and has presented in numerous international conferences. He was recently elected TI Fellow. Barsukov earned a MsC degree in Organic Chemistry at Kiev National University in 1993 and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Kiel Christian-Albrecht University in 1996.

Stefan Butzmann, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Wuppertal

1989 - 1995: study of Electrical Engineering 1995 - 2000: Research Assistant at University of Bochum 2000 - 2008: NXP Semiconductors, Manager Pre-Development of Magnetoresistive Sensors 2008 - 2014: Bosch, Director Development of Battery Management Systems since 2014: Associate Professor for Sensor Technology and Measurement Systems at University of Wuppertal

Thomas Hoeger, Naval Surface Warfare Center

Thomas Hoeger, Senior Electrical Power Systems Engineer; Contractor, Advanced Power and Energy Branch, U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Tom received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University in 1988. The first 25 years of Tom's career were spent in the space industry working at Lockheed Martin Astro Space in East Windsor, NJ, designing high-reliability analog and power electronics for satellites. In late 1995 Tom moved on to Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, VA, where he spent the next 18 years. Tom has supported over 20 space programs ranging from 150 Watt LEO science satellites to 10 kW GEO communication satellites, and the Mars Observer interplanetary mission. As the Lead Power System Engineer for Orbital's Cygnus vehicle, Tom led development of Orbital's first 2-fault tolerant, man-rated power system which included the design of the vehicle's three 6.7kWH lithium-ion batteries. Since June of 2014, Tom has worked as a contractor for the Advanced Power and Energy Branch (APEB) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division. As part of APEB's Battery Safety Group, Tom's primary function is to verify batteries meet the Navy's stringent safety requirements. This is accomplished primarily through a combination of detailed review of battery design, destructive and non-destructive testing.

Uwe Kirchner, Senior Expert, PMM ATV Application Engineering, Infineon Technologies Austria AG

Uwe Kirchner was born 1969 in Sonneberg Thuringia. 1996 he finished the technical university of Ilmenau as graduate engineer for automation and control with specialization in power electronics. At Siemens Transportation Systems he worked in the areas power electronics, absolute and structured programming, database design, trouble shooting and initial operation of systems. In 2006 he joined Infineon Technologies Austria AG. As technical marketing high volt and concept engineer he was responsible for Silicon, Silicon Carbide and Gallium Nitride based devices with specialization on application fields Solar, Telecom, Server, UPS and Drives. Since 2016 he changed the focus to automotive applications covering application fields Charging Stations, Onboard Charger, DCDC converter and Solid State relays as Senior Expert Technical Marketing and Application Engineering.

Naoki Matsumura, Senior Technologist, Intel Corporation

No bio available.

Partha Mukerjee, PhD, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

Dr. Mukherjee received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2007. Prior to PhD studies, he worked as an engineer for four years at Fluent India Pvt. Ltd, a fully-owned subsidiary of Fluent Inc., currently Ansys, Inc. Immediately before coming to Purdue he was an Assistant Professor and Morris E. Foster Faculty Fellow of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M; University (TAMU). Before joining TAMU in 2012, he worked for four years at the U.S. Department of Energy Labs; as a staff scientist (2009-2011) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and as a Director’s research fellow (2008-2009) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Young Leaders Award, American Ceramic Society Future Leaders recognition, and Texas A&M; Engineering Young Faculty Award. His research interests are focused on mesoscale physics and stochastics of physicochemical transport, chemistry and microstructure interactions, including an emphasis in the broad spectrum of energy storage and conversion.

Rengaswamy (Srini) Srinivasan, PhD, MD, Applied Physics Laboratory, The John Hopkins University

No bio available.

Thomas Waldmann, PhD, Accumulators Materials Research, ZSW

No bio available.

Chao-Yang Wang, PhD, William E. Diefenderfer Chair Professor, Director, Electrochemical Engine Center (ECEC), Co-Director, Battery & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center, The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Chao-Yang Wang is William E. Diefenderfer Chair in Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science & Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He has been the founding director of Penn State Electrochemical Engine Center (ECEC) and Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) center. Dr. Wang holds over 50 patents (U.S., China, EU and Japan) and has published two books, “Battery Systems Engineering” by Wiley and “Modeling and Diagnostics of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells” by Springer. His recent work on all-climate battery (ACB) technology was published in the journal Nature, later selected by 2022 Winter Olympic Games to power electric vehicles serving the Games, as well as adopted by several carmakers. His more recent invention on fast charging batteries appeared in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and was covered by mainstream media such as Popular Mechanics. In 2011 he founded AutoLion, a Li-ion battery simulation software business that was later acquired by Gamma Technologies. Dr. Wang’s research interests cover the transport, materials, manufacturing and modeling aspects of batteries and fuel cells.

Sheldon Williamson, PhD, Professor, University of Ontario

Sheldon S. Williamson received his Bachelors of Engineering (B.E.) degree in Electrical Engineering with high distinction from University of Mumbai, India, in 1999. He received the Masters of Science (MS) degree in 2002, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree (with Honors) in 2006, both in Electrical Engineering, from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL. From June 2006 to June 2014, Dr. Williamson held a tenure-track Assistant Professor position, followed by a tenured Associate Professor position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Concordia University, in Montreal, Canada. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering, at the University of Ontario-Institute of Technology (UOIT), in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. He also holds the prestigious NSERC Canada Research Chair in Electric Energy Storage Systems for Transportation Electrification. Dr. Williamson’s research interests include electric energy storage systems, power electronics, and motor drives for e-transportation and autonomous e-mobility applications. Dr. Williamson is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society.

Jun Xu, PhD, Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, University of North Carolina Charlott

Dr. Jun Xu obtained his PhD degree from Columbia University in 2014 majoring in Engineering Mechanics. Dr. Xu then joined Beihang University in 2014 and served as Professor in the Department of Automotive Engineering and Director of Advanced Vehicle Research Center (AVRC). In 2018, he joined Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science at The University North Carolina at Charlotte as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Xu has authored/co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal papers and conference papers with total citations over 1060 times. Now, he is the Vice Chair of ASME multifunctional material technical committee and ASME electrochemical energy conversion and storage technical committee. Dr Xu’s research focuses including lithium-ion battery safety and lightweight design of structures.

Lithium Battery Transportation Safety

David Anderson, Director, Transportation Logisitcs, Logistics and Maritime Operations, ProteQ

Transportation consultant and subject matter expert in shipping hazardous materials with 25 years experience. Developed LiO and LiM battery training programs for consumer electronics and medical device manufacturering companies.

Thomas Barth, PhD, Senior Accident Investigator and Biomechanics Engineer, Office of Highway Safety Board, National Transportation Safety Board

Dr. Barth is an investigator and biomechanical engineer at the NTSB. He has 8 years’ experience investigating major transportation crashes and emerging technology incidents, and 20 years industry experience in occupant safety, crash dynamics and regulatory compliance in all modes of transportation. Note that Mr. Swaim is an alternate presenter Mr. Swaim is the NTSB National Resource Specialist for Aviation Systems

Judith Jeevarajan, PhD, Research Director, Electrochemical Safety, Underwriters Laboratory Inc.

Dr. Jeevarajan is the Research Director for Electrochemical Safety at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. She has worked in the area of battery safety for more than 22 years and serves on several standards committees for battery safety.

Sean Luo, PhD, Research Lead, R&D, Pyrophobic Systems Ltd.

Dr. Xiaoxiong (Sean) Luo received his doctorate specialized in polymer processing from the University of Alberta, is a P.Eng in Ontario Canada, and works as the research lead in Pyrophobic Systems Ltd. His research interests are in hybrid polymer composites / nanocomposites, multi-phase polymer materials, interfacial phenomenon and phase stability in polymer blends and composites, fire resistant materials, fire retardants and intumescent fire-retardant polymer composites / nanocomposites. He developed polymer nanocomposites for the applications of EMI shielding and radiation absorbency and designed several certified proprietary systems to improve the fire safety of electrical boxes, light fixtures, multi-storey building through penetration systems and lithium batteries.

Romeo Malik, M.Tech, Research Assistant, WMG, University of Warwick

Romeo Malik is currently a Research Assistant and also in my final year of PhD degree at the University of Warwick. He is a material scientist with a great interest in energy storage systems especially Lithium-ion Batteries.

Bob Richard, President, Hazmat Safety Consulting

As president of Hazmat Safety Consulting, Bob provides dangerous goods regulatory assistance to customers worldwide by drawing on his vast experience, knowledge of the hazardous materials (dangerous goods) regulations and extensive network of dangerous goods professionals worldwide. From 2006-2010, Bob served as the deputy associate administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he was responsible for directing approximately 150 hazardous materials transportation specialists and the day-to-day operation of the U.S. Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Program, including overseeing the regulatory development, technical review and classification, international standards, outreach, special permits and approvals and enforcement offices. In this position, Bob was involved in the development of domestic and international regulations and gained not only an understanding of the regulations, but the intent and meaning behind the words.

Lars Ole Valøen, PhD, CTO, Corvus Energy

Lars Ole Valøen obtained his masters degree in 1995 and his Doctoral degree from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2000. He continued combining academic research and external consulting until he joined E-One Moli Energy, Vancouver, Canada in 2002. At that time the only volume manufacturer of Li-ion battery cells in North America. After being part of the product development team at Moli for more than 5 years, he joined Miljøbil Grenland in 2007 to take up the technical lead for the Tata Indica EV battery system development. In 2013 He was part of the team establishing Grenland Energy, a company focusing on delivering battery related services and hardware. Since merging with Corvus Energy in 2019 he has held the CTO position in Corvus Energy.


Lithium-Ion Battery Consumer Safety

Adam Barowy, MS, Research Engineer I, Fire Research & Development, UL LLC

Adam Barowy is a Fire Protection Engineer in UL’s Fire Research and Development group. Adam works to develop and implement UL Standards and Test Methods, and support UL’s testing of new and innovative fire protection products. Adam is currently involved in testing li-ion products, including the development of UL 9540A and large-scale testing of ESS. Prior to UL, Adam worked in the Fire Fighting Technology Group at NIST where he developed data from full-scale fire experiments of acquired structures to enable improved firefighting tactics, reconstructed line of duty death/injury fire incidents, and evaluated PPE technology.

Kevin Fok, Director, Operations, LG Chem Michigan, Inc.

Kevin Fok is Director, Operations for LG Chem in the Americas and leads the team in the delivery, project execution, and operations & maintenance of battery energy storage systems for the electric grid. He has over 22 years of sales, business development, marketing, engineering, and project management experience in renewable and alternative energy, including lithium-ion batteries, solar photovoltaics (PV), nickel-metal hydride batteries, fuel cells, and hydrogen storage. His customers have included the military, state governments, systems integrators, energy companies, and utilities. Mr. Fok has been a presenter and panelist at numerous conferences, as well as having moderator and session chair roles. Mr. Fok has been a presenter and panelist at numerous conferences, as well as having moderator and session chair roles. He has been active in education roles, including presenting tutorials, developing an alternative energy curriculum for a university, and being involved with major industry conferences as a member of educational committees and as an abstracts reviewer. He is regularly involved with industry organizations for the implementation of energy storage and is acknowledged in written publications. He is a Member of the Technical Committee for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 855 - Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems. He has advisory roles for several NFPA projects covering firefighter safety and sprinkler protection. Mr. Fok is a co-inventor of 13 US patents. He has Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has a Michigan Ross Distinguished Leader Executive Certificate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

George A. Kerchner, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Wiley Rein LLP

George has extensive experience with U.S. and international hazardous materials and dangerous goods transportation regulations. He also serves as the Executive Director of PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association and represents the PRBA and other battery trade associations at domestic and international transportation forums such as the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). He has experience in the environmental law, policy, and regulatory fields and focuses on issues affecting the rechargeable battery industries as well as the portable electronics and electric vehicle industries. He conducts hazardous materials/dangerous goods training programs for shippers of lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries, portable electronic equipment, and electric vehicles.

Bhavya Kotak, MEng, Research Associate, Safe Electromobility, University of Applied Science Ingolstadt

Bhavya Kotak has been working as a Research Associate at the Center of Automotive Research on Integrated Safety Systems and Measurement Areas (CARISSMA) at the University of Applied Science Ingolstadt (Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt), Germany since April 2018. Within University, he works with the group known as, Safe Electromobility. This group is actively engaged in the theoretical and experimental investigation of LIB technology. He closely works with the national and international organizations such as AUDI AG, AVL Deutschland GmbH, BMW AG and TÜV Süd Battery Testing GmbH. He is also the author of the number of publications related to LIB and E-mobility and has participated in numerous conferences. In 2017 he completed his MEng in Automotive Engineering from Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (University of Applied Science Ingolstadt), Germany with a Distinction grade. His expertise involves research on battery safety standards and regulations, the experimentation on battery failure and second use, electric vehicles and vehicle simulation, and application of sensors in vehicles.

Joshua Lamb, PhD, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Power Sources R&D, Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Joshua Lamb is currently a Principal Member of the Technical Staff with the Advanced Power Sources R&D organization at Sandia National Laboratories. He primarily oversees the Battery Safety and Abuse Testing Laboratory (BATLab) team. The team focuses on the development of inherently safe lithium-ion batteries by understanding the consequences and mechanisms of failure, developing cradle-to-grave battery testing, and developing new materials for use in battery systems. Joshua earned his PhD in Metallurgical Engineering in 2008 and his BS in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from the University of Nevada. Since joining Sandia in 2011, Joshua’s research interests include advanced techniques for determining the stability of lithium-ion batteries and the development of advanced battery abuse and safety tests.

Amy Marschilok, PhD, University Instructional Specialist, Research Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering & Research Professor, Chemistry, Stony Brook University; Joint Appointee, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Amy Marschilok is a University Instructional Specialist and Research Professor at Stony Brook University, with a joint appointment as a Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Her area of research interest is electrochemical materials science, with several current research goals centered on new material and electrode concepts for high power, high energy density, extended life primary and secondary batteries. She serves as Deputy Director for the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties (http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/m2m/index.html), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Marschilok was previously employed as a Senior Scientist in Medical Battery R&D at Greatbatch Inc., where she was recognized as a Visionary of the Year. She has mentored over 50 student researchers and co-authored over 150 publications.

Matt Paiss, Standards Representative, IAFF

Matthew Paiss, Fire Captain (Ret) spent 23 years with the San Jose Fire Department. He is the IAFF primary representative to NFPA 70 (NEC) and NFPA 855 Energy Storage Systems standards. He is a subject matter expert for the National Fire Protection Association on energy storage, and President of Energy Response Solutions, Inc (a training and consultation firm). He has contributed to the IFC & NFPA1 fire code sections on PV & ESS. CA Paiss has delivered electrical safety training to over 8000 firefighters nationwide including the FDIC and the National Fire Academy. He has spoken in Europe on fire safety and PV design and holds certificates as Registered CA State Fire Instructor, and Certified State Fire Officer. He is a member of UL Standards Technical Panels 61703 & 1741, and 3741. He has written for Fire Engineering, Home Power, SolarPro and SFPE magazines.

More information can be found at: EnergyResponseSolutions.com

Joong Sun Park, PhD, Solid State Technical Manager, Saft America

Joong Sun Park is a Solid State technical manager at Saft America. He manages SAFT Solid State Battery Program (advanced high-density lithium-ion and Solid State new generations of batteries) activities in the United States. His areas of expertise include research in design and synthesis of novel cathode materials as well as high power, high energy anode materials for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. Prior to joining Saft, he worked at Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he was a member of various DOE funded programs. He completed his PhD at Stanford University in 2012.

Paul Rogers, Principal, PGR Group LLC

Paul Rogers is a retired FDNY lieutenant that has worked in the field for over 25 years. As a Hazardous Material (Haz Mat) Specialist, Lt. Rogers supervised the NYC FDNY premier Haz Mat team. Lt. Rogers also serves as a Haz Mat manager for the FEMA NY Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team where he responded to emergencies around the country. During high profile events he was assigned as a liaison on joint teams with the FBI, Secret Service, US Military, NYPD, and other local, state and federal agencies. During his tenure with the fire service in his finals years, Lt. Rogers was assigned to the Bureau Fire Prevention to lead a project on Energy Storage Systems (ESS). Through this effort he collaborated with the NFPA, UL, Con Edison, FM Global, DOE, EPA, DOT, and many other regulatory entities becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in this area. As a SME, the FDNY utilized him to train all the Incident Commanders within the department as well as the command staff including FDNY Commissioner Nigro. His respect as the FDNY subject matter expert was widely known to the upper ranks of the FDNY and NYC Buildings Dept. Upon retirement, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) encouraged him to work as a consultant to help guide local code officials in New York State on the safe installations of ESS. Lt. Rogers has become very well-known and respected in this area and he currently sits on the NFPA 855 (Energy Storage Systems Installations) standard. Lt. Rogers is also a member of the International Fire Code Action Committee for ESS installations.

Elham Sahraei, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director, Electric Vehicle Safety Lab (EVSL), Temple University

Elham Sahraei is an Assistant Professor and Director of Electric Vehicle Safety Lab (EVSL) at Temple University. She is also a Visiting Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the co-director of the MIT Battery Consortium, a multi-sponsor industrial program supported by major automotive and battery manufacturers. She is also the PI for a project with Office of Naval Research (ONR) and USAID SHERA on Safety of Lithium-ion Batteries. Additionally, she has been a co-investigator of multiple Ford-MIT Alliance projects, and a DOE project with National Renewable Energy Lab on the same topic. Her current research is focused on characterization and computational modeling of advanced energy storage systems (Li-Ion batteries) for electric vehicles. She earned her PhD degree from the George Washington University, and completed two years of post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she became a Research Scientist afterwards. Besides characterization and modeling of Li-Ion batteries, her expertise includes full-scale vehicle crash analysis, occupant protection, and analysis of roadside safety structures.

Brian Sisk, PhD, Vice President, Cell Product Development, A123 Systems

Dr. Brian Sisk is Vice President of Cell Product Development at A123 Systems. Brian oversees global lithium-ion cell design for low-voltage and high-voltage vehicle applications. During his time at A123, Brian’s team has launched cells for global automakers, including EV, PHEV, 48V MHEV, and starter batteries. Brian also leads research into the relationship between vehicle applications, regulatory requirements, and their impact on battery design. Brian received his PhD in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology, focusing on thin-film chemical vapor detection systems. Prior to joining A123, Brian was Director of Design Analysis at Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

Grigorii Soloveichik, DSc, Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik currently serves as a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). His focus at ARPA-E includes developing electrochemical processes and advanced materials for energy electrochemical and chemical storage and conversion. Prior to joining ARPA-E, Soloveichik worked as a GE Global Research as a Senior Staff Chemist, in addition to being the Director of the Energy Frontier Research Center for Electrocatalysis, Transport Phenomena, and Materials for Innovative Energy Storage. While there, he developed novel rechargeable liquid fuel cells and high energy density flow batteries, designed catalytic and electrochemical processes for functionalization of arenes and phenols, and developed novel electrolytes and electrocatalysts. His previous work included development of catalysts and lithium-sulfur rechargeable batteries. He is the author/coauthor of 74 issued US patents and 125+ papers in peer-reviewed journals. He holds degrees of MS in Chemistry, PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, and DSc in Chemistry from Moscow State University.

Recycling & Repurposing Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lauren Crandon, PhD, Researcher, OnTo Technology, LLC

Lauren performs research and development for OnTo Technology, a startup company developing cuttingedge technology for recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

Eric Frederickson, Director, Quality & Process Excellence, Call2Recycle, Inc.

Eric Frederickson is the Director of Quality & Process Excellence for Call2Recycle, Inc., the country’s largest and most reliable consumer battery collection and recycling program. He has more than 18 years of engineering and operations management experience, including UPS and XPO Logistics. With a background in logistics planning and corporate compliance, Eric helps corporations, municipalities and individuals safely and compliantly manage their end-of-life batteries

Linda Gaines, PhD, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Linda Gaines is an Environmental Scientist/Systems Analyst in Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Systems division, where she examines energy use and the flow of materials and processes in the energy production cycle. More recently, her research has focused on analyzing process options for recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Dr. Gaines received a BA in Chemistry and Physics from Radcliffe College; MA and MPhil in Physics from Columbia University; and PhD in Physics from Columbia University.

Jack Lifton, MS, Vice President, Business Development, Resource Conservation and Recycling Corporation, Pty Ltd.; CEO, Jack Lifton LLC

Jack Lifton’s work career began at Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan in 1962 with the preparation and study of the electronic properties of ultrapure technology metals’ their compounds, and their alloys. He first examined the electronic uses of lithium and its compounds for energy storage; ambient sensing, and thermoelectric potential. In 1964 Jack Lifton produced the first thin film phase change memory cell, which resulted in the invention of the recordable CD/DVD and is today the basis of SSD computer memories. At ECD he also worked on the development of the first commercial europium based cathodoluminescent phosphor and participated in the first work on rare earth based hydrogen storage alloys that led ultimately to the development of the nickel hydride battery in the period 1965-67. He was also at that time a volunteer member of the team at the Ford Motor Company developing alkali-metal sulfur molten salt batteries for vehicular traction use. After receiving his MS Chemistry degree from Wayne State University (Detroit) in 1967 he began his employment by ITT Advanced Electro-Optical Laboratories in San Fernando, California, where he developed a method for the deposition of thin films of photoactive materials along the walls of microchannel plate tubes that resulted in the successful creation of a type of solid state image intensifier device still in use today. Returning to ECD in 1970 he began a new career in developing and manufacturing engineered materials for the OEM automotive and electronics industry. Between 1972 he served as production manager; technical sales director; VP operations, and finally CEO of a Detroit based private production materials manufacturing company and then of a AngloFrench joint venture. His industrial career ended when he retired as the CEO of a wholly owned American OEM engineered materials subsidiary of Germany’s MetallGesellschaft, but he continued as a business operations consultant as Jack Lifton LLC, which he founded in 1999 and which continues in operation today. Jack Lifton coined the term “technology metals” in 2007, and has become one of the best known “popular” expositors in print and on the lecture circuit of the global markets for technology metals in the world. He consults to public and private companies, institutional investors, and governmental organizations on the sourcing, refining, fabricating, and marketing of the technology metals and materials. He has been a technology metals trader for two generations and has travelled extensively to visit mines, refineries, and fabricators on every continent. He is on the advisory or main boards of companies in the lithium, cobalt, graphite, rare earths, niobium, and process engineering ventures.

Kunal Phalpher, Chief Commercial Officer, Business Development and Operations, Li-Cycle

Kunal Phalpher is Li-Cycle’s Chief Commercial Officer and has extensive international experience in the lithium-ion battery and renewable energy sectors, with a focus primarily on strategy and business development. His experience includes time as the former Director of Product Development at a residential solar company and Director of Business Development with a lithium-ion battery manufacturer. Kunal initially served as an Advisor to Li-Cycle before becoming a Director in calendar Q1 2018 and subsequently joining the executive team. Kunal holds a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, with a Masters of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management.

Marco Romero, President & CEO, Euro Manganese, Inc.

Romero currently is President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Euro Manganese, Inc. In the past he held the position of Senior Vice President-Corporate Development at Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Director at Polaris Materials Corp., President & Chief Executive Officer of Delta Gold, Inc., President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Delta Gold Corp., Senior Vice President-Corporate Development for Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. and Executive Director at Eldorado Gold Corp.

Steven E. Sloop, President, OnTo Technology, LLC

Steve Sloop founded OnTo Technology LLC in 2004 to provide recycling service for the LGChem/Apple battery recall. Steve has pioneered lithium-ion recycling approaches including direct recycling, cathode-healing™, battery deactivation and whole battery rejuvenation. The company performs contract research and development for federal agencies and private industry. He was a visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Willamette University (1995-97) and received his PhD in inorganic chemistry from Oregon State University in 1996.

Jeff Spangenberger, Materials Recycling R&D Program Lead, Applied Materials Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Jeff Spangenberger is the Materials Recycling R&D Program Lead in the Applied Materials Division at Argonne National Laboratory. His program works to solve material separation, recovery and recycling challenges resulting in cost effective and environmentally sustainable processes that are then transferable to commercial installation. Through close collaboration with industry, Spangenberger and his team have demonstrated the recovery of plastics, metals and materials from numerous waste streams such as auto shredder residue and electronic waste from bench to commercial scales. He has received four patents related to this effort. In recent years, his research has focused on lithium-ion battery recycling and is leading Argonne’s advanced battery recycling program to evaluate and advance the cost effective and sustainable recycling of end-of-life advanced batteries.

Steve Tolen, President/CEO, Indie Power Systems

Steve Tolen is the founder and president/CEO of Indie Power Systems. Under his leadership, Indie Power Systems has earned 6 patents in energy management and is the first to integrate secondary-use batteries into a commercial energy storage system. Indie Power Systems' technology is a key enabler for the integration of secondary-use batteries in energy storage applications. Mr. Tolen holds a BS degree in finance from the University of Illinois and has experience in successful turnaround and startup situations. He serves as Chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Secondary Battery Use Committee and has presented at major conferences such as NAATBatt, The Battery Show and the Electrical Energy Storage Applications and Technologies (EESAT) Technical conference.

Post-Incidence Forensics & Investigations

Thomas Barth, PhD, Senior Accident Investigator and Biomechanics Engineer, Office of Highway Safety Board, National Transportation Safety Board

Dr. Barth is an investigator and biomechanical engineer at the NTSB. He has 8 years experience investigating major transportation crashes and emerging technology incidents, and 20 years industry experience in occupant safety, crash dynamics and regulatory compliance in all modes of transportation. Note that Mr. Swaim is an alternate presenter Mr. Swaim is the NTSB National Resource Specialist for Aviation Systems

Mike Eskra, CFEI, CFI, PMP, President, Eskra Technical Products, Inc.

Mike Eskra has been in the battery business since 1977, starting with Globe Union working on lead acid batteries for EV’s. He has run manufacturing facilities, R&D programs at Johnson Controls, General Motors, USABC, PNGV, USCAR, Electro Energy and his own company, ETP. He has experience in nearly every electrochemical couple and had been involved in the development of nickel metal hydride and lithium ion and polymer chemistries. Mike started his own company in 1996 and since then, he has been involved in the development of advanced batteries, processes and failure modes and effects analysis. His company has developed a completely dry process for manufacturing lithium ion and other battery systems, utilizing PVDF. For the past 10 years, Mike has also been involved in the investigations of fires caused by failures of batteries or battery systems. Mike has investigated over 250 battery related incidents, and provides consulting and expert witness services regarding battery fires and failures. Mike is the author of numerous papers and holds several battery related patents. He also holds the following certifications: Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator, Certified Investigator Instructor, PMP

C.J. Flaherty, PE, CFEI, FORCON International


Ankur Jain, PhD, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington

No bio available.

Kevin L. McNesby, PhD, Team Leader, Detonation Science Team, Energetics Technology Branch, Lethality Division, Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory

Dr. McNesby received a BS in Chemistry from Washington College (1981) and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Georgetown University in 1987. Following a year as an instructor in General Chemistry at the US Naval Academy, Dr. McNesby was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL). He joined the permanent technical staff of the BRL (now ARL) in 1989. From 1998-1999, Dr. McNesby was a Visiting Researcher at the University of California at Davis. From 2005-2006 he was an interim program manager (Propulsion and Energetics) within the Mechanical Sciences Division at the Army Research Office (ARO) in Durham, NC. Since 2010 he has been Team Leader, Detonation Science, ETB/LD/WMRD.

Joe Nowikowski, Division Manager, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.

With over 30 years of experience, Mr. Nowikowski has a diverse background in electrical engineering, construction and management in the private sector and also in the public sector where he served as an Officer in the United States Air Force. He is a Professional Engineer in 15 states as well as a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and a Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator. He is also a part time college Instructor where he serves as the Lead Faculty Area Chair of the Mathematics Department. Mr. Nowikowski’s forensic engineering experience includes building and underground wiring, electric substations, residential and commercial appliances, battery-operated vehicles and devices, traffic signals, lighting, aquarium components, power taps, printed circuit boards, generators, variable-frequency drives, batteries, HVAC units, and service entrance sections. He has experience in industrial, commercial and residential fire and explosion scene examinations and fire analysis on recreational vehicles, boats, farm equipment, forklifts, and passenger cars.

Paula Ralston, Research Specialist, Eskra Technical Products, Inc.

Paula Ralston has more than 30 years of broad, hands on experience moving products through the research and development stage into manufacturing. She was part of the team that developed laser keratectomy (Lasik), bipolar nickel metal hydride, metal plating of nickel oxides, and solvent free lithium ion processes. Paula has served as Operations Manager, Research Engineer, and Program Manager for multiple U.S. Government and Military projects. As Operations Manager at ETP, Paula provides day to day operational support, input on manufacturing methods and expertise in cell and battery development, as well as forensics research for battery fire cases, and testing support. Paula is the author of numerous papers and holds several battery related patents.

Michael Stichter, PhD, Mechanical Engineer, Failure Analysis, ARCCA

Dr. Stichter is a Mechanical Engineer at ARCCA with extensive experience in automotive, recreational, transportation, agricultural, commercial and industrial equipment and systems. He specializes in failure analysis of automobile components and systems, piping and manufacturing equipment, and mechanical devices, including industrial equipment such as forklifts and scissor lifts. He also investigates transportation and food service equipment related fires, and the failure modes of lithium-ion batteries in consumer devices, including e-cigarettes and hoverboards. He has also been involved in the testing and development of player safety components for the National Hockey League. Dr. Stichter has B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and is a Licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator.

Matthew Wagenhofer, PhD, PE, FORCON International

Dr. Wagenhofer has over 20 years of forensic engineering experience encompassing a broad range of topics under the umbrella of mechanical engineering and materials performance accidents and failures. His area of expertise also includes investigating the role that materials and mechanical components play in such multidisciplinary events as fires, explosions, transportation accidents, business interruption, and personal injury and loss of life incidents.