Dr. Ralph G. Oesterle, S.E., P.E.
President, RGO Structural Investigations, LLC
Dr. Oesterle has more than 39 years of experience in experimental, analytical and field investigations of the response of structures to gravity, seismic, and wind loading. He has specific expertise in the structural behavior of reinforced and prestressed concrete structural elements, particularly in response to loading beyond normal service level conditions. This expertise has been gained through years of testing and observing structures in the laboratory and in the field and expanding the knowledge gained through computer simulations of observed behavior. Dr. Oesterle has applied his expertise to structural evaluation and failure analysis of reinforced and prestressed concrete, steel, wood, and masonry structures, including foundations, high-rise buildings, parking structures, building facades, bridges, industrial structures, sanitary engineering structures, cooling towers, large-diameter prestressed and reinforced concrete pipe, and residential construction. Primary focus of his research work has included experimental and analytical investigations of the response of structural walls to earthquake loading, and the effects of inelastic strains, including creep, shrinkage and thermal strains, on reinforced and prestressed concrete structural behavior. Dr. Oesterle is a licensed Structural Engineer in the State of Illinois, a licensed Professional Engineer in the States of Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wisconsin and has NCEES certification. His objective as Principal at RGO Structural Investigations, LLC is to continue to provide his high levels of engineering skills for forensic investigation, consultation, and litigation support for structural engineering issues.
Material Science, Coatings and Chemistry
Dr. Jason Babcock
Senior Consultant, Engineering Systems, Inc. (ESI)
Dr. Babcock received his doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1998, and followed that up with a postdoctoral stint in the Department of Materials Science at Northwestern University. He has 17 years of experience conducting advanced materials research and consulting on projects involving materials failures, intellectual property infringement, and toxic substance exposures. Much of his consulting practice has involved the forensic evaluation of building construction materials, such as spray polyurethane foam (SPF), gypsum-based materials, roofing materials, portland cement and other cementitious products, as well as a wide variety of coatings. He has formal training in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and materials property analysis. He has specialized throughout his career in the role that materials and chemical compounds contribute to the limitations and failures of products and systems. He has substantial experience in a variety of polymeric, metal, ceramic, and composite materials. Studies have focused on corrosion, measurement instrumentation, materials testing, processing and processing equipment. Dr. Babcock has a broad General Chemistry knowledge that is invaluable to understanding the interaction of materials on a molecular level. He has experience conducting testing to determine the strength, physical, chemical, and wear properties of metals, ceramics, composites, polymers, plastics and coatings. Dr. Babcock is the author of over forty technical papers and holds five patents.
HVAC, Plumbing and Building Systems
Mr. Keith O’Higgins, P.E., CFC, LEED AP
President, O’Higgins and Arnold Sustainability, LLC
Mr. O’Higgins is President of OAS, LLC, a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consulting engineering firm. He has over 45 years of experience in the design of mechanical HVAC systems and plumbing systems for all types of buildings including educational (K through 12 and Higher Education), industrial, commercial, institutional, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, hospitality, medical, and residential buildings.
He specializes in the investigation, testing, evaluation, and design of repairs for non‑performing building mechanical systems including hot water and steam heating systems, central chilled water cooling systems, direct expansion air conditioning systems, exhaust systems, geothermal systems, and plumbing (water, sanitary and storm) systems. These investigations have used testing and balancing instrumentation, infrared scanning, and video analysis of underground piping, etc. He has led large field investigations, many involving litigation support activities, for many HVAC and plumbing system operation problems, installation deficiencies, and/or product defects. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Instrumentation and Building Monitoring
Mr. Thomas Weinmann
Vice President and Practice Area Leader – Structural Monitoring, Geocomp Corporation
Mr. Weinmann is Geocomp’s Vice President and Practice Area Leader in Structural Monitoring. He has over 36 years of experience related to instrumentation design, installation and software control for the performance monitoring of large structures and buildings. This has included extensive field instrumentation of structures such as major buildings, long-span bridges, tunnels, stadiums, wind towers and other unique structures to evaluate performance resulting from construction activities, environmental or event-based conditions or for long-term maintenance assessments.
In the area specifically related to buildings, Mr. Weinmann was the Instrumentation Consultant during the Central Artery Tunnel project for the two largest buildings in Boston immediately adjacent to the CAT excavation. He has designed and implemented structural monitoring systems for building protection during construction retrofits, stadium roof systems for asset management, and environmental monitoring systems for façade re-design and replacement. He has also led the field investigations and litigation support for major multi-story façade evaluations and replacements including wind load-testing of façade panels.
He is currently the Principal-in Charge for the Geotechnical and Structural Instrumentation Monitoring program for the LAX/Crenshaw and LA Regional Transit projects which require the development and implementation of the building protection system for these cut-and-cover excavation and tunneling construction projects.
Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy
Mr. Aaron Jones, P.E.
Principal Engineer, Caulfield Engineering, LLC
Mr. Jones is a highly experienced mechanical engineer who specializes in failure analysis, engineering analysis, and accident investigation involving engineered systems and components. His specific expertise include metallurgy and material science, engineering mechanics, fracture, fatigue, corrosion, and design analysis. Mr. Jones has also conducted numerous complex, multidisciplinary failure investigations involving structures, vehicles, pressure vessels, boilers and piping, machinery, and consumer products. Mr. Jones’ professional activities focus on understanding how applied forces, environment, and material properties influence the performance and failure of engineered components and systems in service. His experience includes engineering failure analysis of structures, construction materials, plumbing, fire suppression piping and sprinkler heads, automotive equipment, machinery, firearms, truck and bus equipment, and many other system components and assemblies.
Court Exhibits, Graphics, Animations
Mr. Greg Baker
President, Baker Graphics, Inc.
With over 18 years of experience, Mr. Baker specializes in the production of exceptional visual exhibits for litigation. His skills include video production as well as video analysis, photography and photo analysis, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D animations, simulations, life-like textured and color graphic illustrations, technical drawings, and the synthesis of these productions into interactive multimedia presentations that bring simplicity and clarity to complex issues for trials, arbitrations, and mediations.
Laser Scanning, Field Testing, Photography/Videography
Mr. Thomas Long
President, Expert Technology Services, Inc.
Mr. Long has over 30 years of experience in failure analysis, inspections, field testing, product development, and design and integrity studies. He also has 10+ years of experience in the use of laser scanning and total stations measurement equipment used to verify as-built or existing construction conditions or to provide emergency response site documentation of accident scenes. This information is used for 3D mapping and preservation of evidence and artifacts to allow quick site rehabilitation. His expertise also includes photography, videography, the use of computer-aided design, three dimensional surface and solid modeling, and computer animation/simulations software. Mr. Long is proficient in using a multitude of field test equipment for the evaluation of building systems including water testing of exterior cladding and fenestration.