Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2016
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2013
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2010
  • A.S., Automotive Chassis Systems, De Anza College, 2005
  • A.S., Automotive Engine Performance, De Anza College, 2005
  • A.S., Engine Machining and Service, De Anza College, 2005
Licenses & Certifications
  • ASE Master Certified Automotive Technician
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
  • Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI)
  • Fire Investigation 1A (Cause and Origin), California Office of State Fire Marshal
Professional Honors
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2011-2014
  • Alternate Member: Technical Committee on Automotive and Marine Service Stations (AUV-AAA), NFPA 30A Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages, National Fire Protection Association , 2018-present
  • Alternate Member: Technical Committee on Internal Combustion Engines (INT-AAA), NFPA 37 Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Engines and Gas Turbines, National Fire Protection Association, 2017-present
Professional Affiliations
  • National Fire Protection Agency
  • The Combustion Institute
  • Society of Automotive Engineers

Dr. Lillo is a mechanical engineer who specializes in failure analysis and the assessment of issues involving vehicles, engines, machines, fires, explosions, or any combination of those topics. His professional background is in mechanical engineering, automotive technology, and the thermal sciences. Dr. Lillo often investigates the root cause of failures, as well as claims of defect and issues involving automobiles, trucks, buses, tractors, ATV's, and other types of vehicles or machinery. Dr. Lillo obtained his Ph.D. in the fields of thermal sciences and combustion. He has experience investigating the cause, origin and progression of fires, explosions, and other thermal events in a variety of environments including residential and commercial structures, vehicles, and machinery. As an expert in both vehicles and fire, he often analyzes complex vehicle fire incidents or issues.

Dr. Lillo is trained in the field of automotive repair and he practiced as a master certified technician. He is also a professional mechanical engineer. He has diagnosed the cause of thousands of vehicle failures and issues and has been solving automotive problems for more than twenty years. He has expertise in the fields of engines, fuel systems, emissions control devices, automatic and manual transmissions, brakes, steering and suspension systems, HVAC systems, electrical and computer systems, driveability, among others. His experiences include working with many different types of light and heavy-duty vehicles, tractors, as well as engines in both mobile and stationary applications. He has performed smog related inspections and repairs in the state of California. He often analyzes records and data to gain an understanding of real-world failure modes, failure rates, repairs, and their outcomes, as well as to assess vehicle or machine performance and trends. He has extensive experience inspecting and testing vehicles and their components. He consults on best practices, standard of care, warranty issues, preventative maintenance, or other topics in the field of vehicle service and repair. He frequently investigates and determines the root cause of vehicle and engine failures and issues.

Dr. Lillo also carries out work relating to combustion, fluid flow, thermodynamic, heat transfer processes, mechanical engineering, and product safety. For example, he performs engineering analysis of power producing devices such as engines and turbines, as well as appliances, gas utilities and pipelines, consumer devices, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, boilers, heating/cooling systems, and combustion emissions issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. He conducts proactive work, such as product evaluations and testing, as well as reactive work, such as failure analysis and product recall investigations. Dr. Lillo has extensive experience designing and performing scientific tests, measurements, and research. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the topics of engines, combustion strategies, fuel sprays, ignition processes and mechanical and optical diagnostics.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Lillo completed his A.S. (De Anza College) in Automotive and Engine Technologies, and then B.S. (U.C. Berkeley), M.S and Ph.D. (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) in Mechanical Engineering. While at the University of Michigan, he used advanced laser based optical diagnostics to study flame, airflow and fuel spray development inside automotive engines. He has also worked in combustion laboratories at both Sandia National Laboratories and UC Berkeley.