Ann Arbor 2024 - Sunday Educational Sessions

NAFE Summer 2024 will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


The 2024 Summer Conference of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers in Ann Arbor will begin Friday, July 19 at 8:30 a.m. local/Eastern time with the NAFE Board meeting, which is open to all current members in good standing. The conference proceedings will end at 5 pm on Sunday, July 21, 2024. 

Event Details And Registration >>>


- Sunday Sessions - 


Diamond Decision Process – Managing Cost and Risk of Metallurgical Forensic Cases

Jon D. Tirpak, Metallurgical PE, Fellow ASM International

When reviewing cost curves for litigation or subrogation AND new product development, it is noted that for both processes, although designed for different domains, are remarkably similar. For both processes information is “purchased” along the way. For forensic cases, information is revealed from an incident to trial.  For new product development, information is revealed from ideation to commercialization.  Both processes could incur considerable expense and risk. To manage expense, risk, and outcome, Sabattis, LLC has developed and deployed the Diamond Decision Process to collaborate with and guide clients through a case from incident to trial. During this presentation, attendees will gain insight into both processes and will see the application of select tools from a metallurgical engineer’s perspective as applied to these processes.
This serves as a benchmark to compare and contrast the forensic analysis processes of the attendees with Sabattis, LLC’s Diamond Decision Process (DDP). Invoking a process approach, attendees can continually improve their service offerings while improving labor and cost estimates. The secrets of metallurgy will be revealed. 


Investigating the Claims of Blasting and Construction Vibration Damages

Gregory L. Boso, P.E., DFE, M.NSPE, M.NAFE, M.ASCE

The presentation will discuss various unusual blasting and construction vibration damage claims, including well water, air over-pressure, landslide, and related claims, with recommendations on how blasters and companies can reduce and protect against potential liability. Historical research conducted by the US Bureau of Mines and other agencies will be discussed providing background for practices and laws today.  The presentation will also focus on recommendations for documenting and responding to unusual complaints and include specific examples from claims / cases, including examples of how to address the atypical claim from a scientific and common-sense approach. 
After completing this session, the participant will be able to:

  • Understand treatises and references of historical research for blasting and construction vibrations;
  • Analyze situations / claims that may arise from blasting or construction vibrations;
  • Discuss various options for address the atypical blasting claim;
  • Describe a reasonable protocol for documenting and responding to complaints to adequately address complaints and analyze conditions giving rise to claims; and
  • Review lessons learned from actual cases and claims with engineering-based and common-sense approaches to defending unique claims, and potential modifications to standard operating procedures based on similar situations, including modifications to operations to help alleviate concerns from nearby homeowners.


Wet Arson; Staged Water Losses and the Evolving Face of Insurance Fraud

Nicholas W. Siewert, Partner, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC

With the near-universal investigation of fire claims by private investigators, advancements in investigatory technology, and education of claims handlers, the success of arson for profit is diminishing. As a result, fraudsters have sought new schemes to bilk insurers, including staged water losses. Staged water losses are uniquely overlooked and uninvestigated due to a combination of structural claims handling factors and a general lack of knowledge. Like the education and information campaigns surrounding fire for-profit, attorneys and forensic engineers should lead the charge in educating insurers and claims handlers. This includes pushing to change internal claims handling procedures, the availability and role of forensic engineers in the investigatory process, and the impact upon subsequent litigation or claim denial.

Ethical Standards and Review - An Interactive Seminar

Sam G. Sudler, III, PE, IntPE, DFE, CFEI, CVFI

The Ethical Challenges a Forensic Engineer Faces go beyond the uncomplicated right or wrong scenarios that can be addressed as easily as choosing between what is Black o White. Instead, today’s Forensic Engineer must navigate Ethical Challenges that are many shades of grey that do not have straight forward answers. This interactive seminar will show you how to [properly evaluate those challenging situations using the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics to address Ethical hurdles with an Attorney, who has a different set of Ethical obligations, to a potential manufacturing client that may put the Forensic Engineer in  position that is perceived to have a conflict of interest, or performing Forensic investigations without a P.E. license in a state and a report with a stamp from your home state. The challenging scenarios will come from Ethical dilemmas raised to the Academy by members as well as Real-World cases that were addressed by the NSPE Board of Ethical Review (BER) over the past few decades. Join the Academy in these interactive and real-world challenges that will assist both the novice Forensic Engineer as well as the veteran Forensic Practitioners that have been engaged in this work for half a century.


Beneficial Ownership Interest Reporting Requirements

Rebecca Bowman, Esq., PE, DFE

Preventing Construction Defects: Establishing a Risk Management Program When Your Client is Tired of Being a Defendant

Liberty L. Janson, PE, NAFE, Senior Consultant at Curtainwall Design Consulting (CDC)

After being named in numerous construction defect cases across the country, Façade System Manufacturer decided it was time to change its approach to project planning, actual installation, and claims response. To ensure their program addressed the full scope of their risk, they engaged a forensic engineer to identify the core errors, improve installation standards, and advise on initial claims. The established program initially reduced costs per claim and ultimately reduced total claims and exposure. Ms. Janson will present the development and implementation of this specific internal risk management program, as well as general ways forensic engineering knowledge is used to prevent future construction defects.