Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2005
  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000
  • B.S., Physics, University of California, Davis, 1999
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer Civil, California, #76562
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, California, #33403
  • FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Program
  • NAUI Certified Open Water Diver
  • University of Southern California Aviation Safety and Security Certificate including: Aircraft Accident Investigation
Academic Appointments
  • Stanford University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Invited Lecturer
  • University of California - Davis, Department of Physics, Advisory Board
  • University of Michigan, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Advisory Board
Professional Honors
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Top Conference Paper, International Society of Air Safety Investigators, 2006
  • Best Student Paper Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2004
  • Rollin M. Gerstacker Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Michigan, 1999
  • Citation of Excellence in Physics, University of California, Davis, 1999
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
  • Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society
Professional Affiliations
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Society of Materials
  • International Society of Air Safety Investigators

Dr. Rakow serves as Group Vice President and Principal Engineer in Exponent's Mechanical Engineering and Thermal Sciences practices. He advises clients on complex engineering problems, from design, manufacturing, and qualification, to field use and field failures, with particular expertise in failure analysis. He leads diverse multidisciplinary investigations to deliver scientific answers to clients' technical challenges. 

Dr. Rakow has expertise in the areas of mechanical, structural, and aerospace engineering, with extensive experience involving a wide variety of devices and components: gas, steam, and wind turbines; aircraft and spacecraft; industrial machinery; pumps, tanks, and pipelines; cars and trucks; cranes and lifts; consumer products; sporting equipment; and a variety of civil structures. Dr. Rakow employs laboratory experimental methods supplemented with theoretical and numerical analysis to identify and illustrate scientific solutions for clients.

Dr. Rakow has published a number of scientific articles and is frequently invited to present at national and international technical conferences, where he is well known for the failure analysis of composite structures. These include high-performance carbon and glass fiber composites as well as commercial-grade fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) and fiberglass. He is a contributing author to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Manual of Accident and Incident Investigation, having contributed the chapter on composites. He teaches introductory composites courses to the Department of Defense and to professional engineers through the American Society of Materials. He is also a Visiting Lecturer in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at Stanford University.

Dr. Rakow is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Prior to joining Exponent, he held teaching and research positions at the University of Michigan and Sandia National Laboratories. As a volunteer, Dr. Rakow is a Structures Specialist with FEMA Urban Search & Rescue.