Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2018
  • M.S.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 2013
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062.074295
  • 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Certification (HAZWOPER)
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
Professional Honors
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2017-2018
Professional Affiliations
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Dr. Hietala employs chemical engineering principles to help solve complex problems from clients in a variety of industries. He has expertise in solving problems involving reaction engineering and heat- and mass-transfer for a variety of industries, including consumer products, float glass manufacturing, automotive catalysis, and renewable energy. 

Dr. Hietala also specializes in fire and explosion investigation and process safety management. As a certified fire and explosion investigator, he has assisted with the investigation of numerous fires, explosions, and chemical releases at the residential, commercial, and industrial scales. Dr. Hietala has experience with both site inspections and laboratory testing during the investigation process.

Through his graduate studies, Dr. Hietala has extensive experience with experimental and computational characterization of hydrothermal systems with chemical-reaction and heat-transfer phenomena. Dr. Hietala also has experience with wind turbine operation and maintenance from previous employment at General Electric. At Exponent, Dr. Hietala has assisted with the investigation of complex industrial fires and explosions.

Dr. Hietala completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His thesis focused on developing models for biocrude oil production from microalgae via hydrothermal liquefaction. Dr. Hietala examined the effects of reaction conditions and microalgal characteristics on biocrude oil properties and created a quantitative reaction-kinetics model describing the process. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Hietala collaborated with ecologists, geneticists, and microfluidics engineers to quantify the impact of microalgal biodiversity on process sustainability for biocrude production. Dr. Hietala also has extensive experience with computational software, including Matlab, Mathematica, and Aspen Plus.