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, Colorado, #PE.0064373
  • Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062.074295
  • 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Certification (HAZWOPER)
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
Additional Education & Training
  • Dr. Hietala has extensive experience with computational software including Excel, Matlab, Mathematica, Aspen Properties, Aspen Plus, and Aspen HYSYS.
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 involving reaction engineering and heat- and mass-transfer for a variety of industries and applications. His core areas of expertise include energy, sustainability, industrial chemistry, chemical process safety, and the investigation of fires, explosions, chemical releases, and equipment failures.

Dr. Hietala consults on numerous industries within the energy sector, including renewables, biomass processing, waste-to-energy, and automotive catalysis applications. He applies his knowledge and experience to the origin and cause investigation and to the prevention of fires, explosions, chemical releases, and equipment failures at the residential, commercial, and industrial scales. Dr. Hietala's expertise includes a variety of industrial chemistry topics, such as fluoropolymer and refrigerant manufacturing, air fresheners, industrial cleaning products (e.g., caustic), and heat transfer fluids. He also consults on occupational and process safety-related cases involving chemical exposure, slip-and-fall, and OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM). 

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Hietala completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His doctoral thesis focused on experimental characterization and model development for biocrude oil production from microalgae using high-temperature, high-pressure water. 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 experience with wind turbine operation and maintenance from previous employment at General Electric.

A selection of Dr. Hietala's project experiences can be found below.