Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Chicago, 2011
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Chicago, 2006
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer, Illinois, #62066403
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
Professional Honors
  • Art Adamson Award Nominee for fuel nozzle design (GE), 2012
  • Art Adamson Award Nominee for combustor testing (GE), 2012
Professional Affiliations
  • Principal Member: Technical Committee on Internal Combustion Engines, NFPA 37 Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines, National Fire Protection Association International

Dr. Garner applies his expertise as a mechanical engineer to the scientific investigation of incidents, both domestically and internationally, involving failures of combustion and mechanical systems, thermal fluid systems and heat exchangers, and boilers, as well as the investigation of fires and explosions. He has analyzed failure in a wide range of equipment, applications, and industries including, agricultural, agrochemical, petrochemical, power generation systems including concentrating solar power system, mining equipment, mineral processing, raw material production, boilers and boiler safety devices, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, and turbine and turbomachinery equipment.

Further, Dr. Garner has investigated claims related to alleged incomplete or incorrect commissioning of plant systems in a variety of industries. In addition to these industrial applications, he also has experience with various consumer products and residential appliances.

Dr. Garner is active in the field of combustion safety and he sits as a principal voting member on NFPA 37 — Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines; he is an alternate member on four separate committees within NFPA 85 — Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code as well as NFPA 86 — Standard for Ovens and Furnaces.

As a retired NCAA Division 1 gymnast, Dr. Garner has also investigated and opined on various aspects related to gymnastics equipment and trampolines.


Dr. Garner's work in power generation systems encompasses a number of different thermal and mechanical systems and equipment including coal fired boilers, natural gas fired boilers, waste to energy (refuse derived fuel) boilers, biomass boilers, various concentrating solar power (CSP), and combustion gas turbines employed in both simple and combined cycle operations. Dr. Garner's expertise includes system-level analyses of process and operational data, evaluation and application of engineering codes and standards, evaluation and analyses of commissioning planning and execution, and analyses of equipment failures.

Dr. Garner has experience designing, testing, and commissioning combustion gas turbines. Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Garner developed next generation aviation propulsion systems, including partial premixed lean burning combustors for gas turbine engines (jet engines), at General Electric. During his time at GE-Aviation, he routinely designed and tested jet engine combustors and combustor components as well as performed root cause analyses on failed hardware and tests.   


Dr. Garner has experience analyzing design, commissioning, and operational issue related to various types of industrial process equipment employed in numerous process applications including agro[1]chemical and fertilizer production, baby formula and food production, agricultural material processing, and pyrometallurgical. Dr. Garner's equipment experience in these industrial processes includes fluid heat exchangers, dryers, ovens, pumps, boilers, boiler water chemistry, fired and unfired pressure vessels, and both liquid and gas fired burner systems.


Dr. Garner has experience analyzing design and failure of various consumer products and appliances including ovens, ranges, cooktops, refrigerators and coolers, refrigerant compressors, dehumidifiers, HVAC systems, residential boiler systems, water heaters, and hot-water radiant heating systems. Dr. Garner experience also includes fires/thermal damage involving exercise equipment as well as leaks/failures of both fuel gas and water valves, plumbing adapters and fittings, and piping systems.