Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 2009
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 2008
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1999
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer Chemical, California, #6520
  • 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Certification (HAZWOPER)
  • Certified Corrosion and Materials Professional (API 571)
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
  • Certified Risk Based Inspection Professional, American Petroleum Institute, API 580
  • Competent Person for Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.500)
  • Confined Space Entry (29 CFR 1910.146)
  • Fire Investigation 1A (Cause and Origin), California Office of State Fire Marshal
Professional Affiliations
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • • Principal Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Classification and Properties of Hazardous Chemical Data, which is responsible for NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response
  • • Principal Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Hazardous Waste, which is responsible for NFPA 401: Recommended Practice for the Prevention of Fires and Uncontrolled Chemical Reactions Associated with the Handling of Hazardous Waste
  • • Chair of NFPA 401 Explosives Task Group (2022)
  • International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers (ISOPE)
  • • Session Co-Chair for Asset Integrity: Structure, Asset Integrity Management at the 29th (2019) ISOPE Conference
  • • Peer Reviewer
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)
  • Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

Dr. Ott uses his expertise as a chemical engineer to analyze chemical processes in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries. He has experience conducting investigations of refinery incidents and performs analyses related to the prevention of future failures. He performs hazard and regulatory compliance reviews in the context of OSHA PSM, EPA RMP, and DOT/PHMSA regulations, including safer technology and alternative analyses (STAAs) and off-site consequence analyses.  He reviews and performs gap analyses of corporate practices and procedures against regulations and industrial consensus standards, including API, NFPA, and ASTM.  

Dr. Ott's primary expertise is in the engineering investigation and prevention of loss-of-containment, fire, and explosion incidents involving hazardous chemicals caused during their production, manufacture, storage, transport, consumer use, and disposal.  He has specific expertise in evaluating flammable and reactive chemicals, particularly in relation to fuel concentration, ignition source, flame propagation, chemical reaction, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics involving industrial, commercial, and residential fires and explosions.

Dr. Ott has field experience at chemical processing facilities, including refineries, and analyzes the integrity of crude distillation, vacuum distillation, fluid catalytic cracker (FCC), HF Alkylation, coker, and other refinery units. He analyzes process data such as temperature, pressure, composition, and flow rate and Process Safety Information (PSI) to simulate chemical processes using HYSYS/AspenOne.  He also analyzes winterization practices, hydrogen transformation strategies, RMP incident data, and CSB accidental release reporting data.

Dr. Ott investigates fire and explosion incidents, including industrial incidents at petrochemical, refinery, semiconductor, food processing, and water treatment plants.  He investigates explosions and fires involving explosible dust, natural gas, and reactive chemicals.  He also investigates residential and commercial fires and fires involving large format lithium-ion batteries, recreational vehicles, construction vehicles, and home appliances.     

Dr. Ott performs flammability and explosion testing of reactive and flammable liquids and refined petroleum products. He recreates large scale fires and explosions, including those involving recreational vehicles and lithium-ion battery systems, and analyzes chemical hazards using ARC, DSC, explosivity testing, and supplemental analyses, including GC-MS, FTIR, SEM, and analytical chemistry techniques.

Dr. Ott has testified as an expert witness and presently serves on the NFPA committees on Classification and Properties of Hazardous Chemical Data (NFPA 704) and Hazardous Waste (NFPA 401) and served as the Chair of the NFPA 401 Explosives Task Group.  He is a registered chemical engineer in the state of California and a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (by the National Association of Fire Investigators).  He also holds certifications as a corrosion and materials professional (API 571) and risk based inspection professional (API 580) from the American Petroleum Institute and assists clients with evaluating their process safety management programs, including asset integrity, damage mechanisms, and equipment inspections.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Ott was a Research Assistant at Michigan Technological University's (MTU's) Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Material (CEBFM), where he conducted research on polymerization reactions and polymer/solvent interactions. In addition, Dr. Ott researched point-of-care blood diagnostic systems as a research scientist at Diametrics Medical, Inc..