Jim Bishop, Project Engineer

Mr. Bishop received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In his senior year at RPI, Jim was tasked with engineering, fabricating and testing a continuous purge system for General Electric. This system was designed to prevent the collection of nano-sized water droplets present in superheated steam from forming on the tips of instrumentation installed in their steam turbines. The completed system was installed and tested at the GE steam turbine facility in Schenectady, NY and a refined version of the original design was put into production and is currently in use today.

Jim also held a 3 year position in the Combustion and Energy Systems Laboratory, a research group in the Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The purpose of this work was to perform unique research in the areas of combustion, energy, and propulsion with the aim of understanding complex reacting systems via the application of advanced experimental techniques. His primary role was head machinist and fabricator in addition to assisting with testing. He worked with the research teams, providing input from a manufacturing feasibility standpoint, to design and create any test devices, fixtures, or structural supports needed for the test rigs.  Major fabrication projects included a water cooling system for a small scale rocket engine and a combustion chamber with viewing window.

Previous work experience includes 6 years in high voltage substation design, wind farm and solar power generation collection system engineering, and AC and DC power transmission up to and including 765 kV.  Following this, he worked for 3 years in renewable energy and combined cycle power plant design, equipment specifications, and project development and siting.

As a motorcycle and automobile repair and restoration enthusiast as well as an avid Do-It-Yourselfer, Jim has developed a wide variety of hands-on skills including metal fabrication, welding, plumbing, electrical wiring, masonry, and wood working.  At MSI, he puts these skills to use as manager of the Albany Test Cell facility where he coordinates with project teams located nationwide to develop designs, then fabricates the test rigs and conducts testing.

Bob Carr, Senior Staff Technician

With previous work background including Pratt & Whitney East Hartford, Mechanical Technology Incorporated, and Foster-Miller Inc., Bob Carr has an excellent background in rotating machinery development, rig construction, and turbine operation and maintenance. Bob has played an important role in hardware construction and assembly for MSI’s successful ultra-low specific speed pump development for fracking and nuclear services. For US Navy nuclear applications, Bob worked on equipment in radiation areas of the USS Roosevelt, as well as on advanced magnetic bearings on the Trident-class submarine, Tennessee.   He is the lead assembler for all foil bearing development projects, accurately manufacturing both the bump and smooth foils, and performing all heat treating, micro-welding, and assembly.  For a major Navy prime contractor, Bob oversaw all machining and performed final assembly of the mag bearing unit catcher bearings. He is MSI’s primary technician for inspection and repair of installed TEI high-speed steam turbine generator sets. Bob helps design and oversees installation of complex flow loops for turbines, compressors, fans, pumps, and electric motors, including heat exchangers and large cooling tanks/sumps. He has assembled and made operational many advanced refrigeration loops for both energy and power recovery.   Along with his other talents, Bob is also an excellent machinist, fabricating aluminum and steel components in MSI’s Prototype Machine Shop.

Peter Chapman, P.E., Principal Engineer

A Principal Engineer at MSI, Mr. Chapman has been involved with development, testing, and evaluation of machinery systems throughout his career. At Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) he held various engineering positions involved in development of Stirling engines and related mechanical systems. In 1998 Mr. Chapman joined Foster-Miller Inc. (FMI, now Qinetiq North America) when MTI sold much of its technology business to FMI. At FMI, Mr. Chapman was the principal designer of foil bearings and magnetic bearings for a variety of rotating machines ranging from miniature blood pumps and micro gas turbines to energy storage flywheels and high speed blowers. Recently, Mr. Chapman joined MSI following MSI’s April 2009 purchase of the foil bearing business from FMI. He received his BSME Cum Laude from Union College. He is a Certified Category II Vibration Analyst per ISO 18436, a Licensed Professional Engineer, and holds several patents.

Jason Coppola, Project Engineer

Mr. Coppola earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from The College of New Jersey. During his time there, he took part in a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which brought together students from their respective majors with the goal of designing and building a non-human conductor capable of leading an orchestra, using a combination of robotics and screen-based interfaces. Jason’s main contribution was in the development of robotic movement and synchronization.

At MSI, Jason has had extensive experience with FEA software such as Pro/Engineer, Pro/Mechanica, ANSYS Multiphysics, and ANSYS Workbench. He has performed stress, modal, fatigue, and seismic analyses for various turbomachinery applications. Jason has also been an active member in the development of MSI’s active RPG defeat system. His contributions include construction and analysis of lab and field test hardware.

Outside of the office, Jason has acquired experience with field testing and data acquisition methods, including the use of MSI’s 52 channel B&K Pulse system, accelerometers, strain gauges, microphones, and optical probes. Jason has also gained experience using LabVIEW software for data acquisition as well as writing some custom code.

Richard Cronin, P.E, Senior Staff Engineer

As an MSI Senior Staff Engineer, Mr. Cronin has more than 20 years experience in the design, analysis, and testing of rotating mechanical equipment, performing FEA to minimize equipment vibration at start-up, and evaluation of equipment versus best practices and customer requirements. He is a former OEM design engineer skilled in all aspects of rotating machinery design. At Ingersoll Dresser Pump he worked in the new product development cycle for both vertical turbine and submersible solids handling pumps. He is familiar with NFPA 70 (National Electric Code) and its application to submersible pumping equipment. Mr. Cronin is skilled in AutoCAD and Pro/Engineer computer aided design packages. He also has extensive experience in Finite Element Analysis and has applied that knowledge to minimize component testing and warranty issues with new equipment. He has verified analysis work through field-testing of installed units. As a Marine Engineer with Designers and Planners in Crystal City, Virginia, Mr. Cronin worked on a number of projects for the US Navy and Coast Guard, including condenser re-tubing, turbo generator replacement, shipboard NBC wash down system, ship’s power transmission, design manual for gas turbine intakes and uptakes, condition monitoring, and sea trials with vibration measurements. He holds a BSME from the University of Maryland, three patents, and is a licensed Professional Engineer

Front Removable Bearing Housing; U.S. Patent 5,944,482; Issued 31 Aug 99
Open Bowl; U.S. Patent 5,993,153; Issued 30 Nov 99
Multi-Stage Vertical Turbine Pump with Comminution; U.S. Patent 6,089,823; Issued 18 Jul 2000

Erik Fillebrown, Engineer Specialist

Erik is an Engineering Specialist with a degree in applied sciences and a concentration in photo and video imaging. He is responsible for running high speed cameras for use with the VibVue™ vibration analysis system, using video to diagnose vibration issues.  He also has a vast knowledge of automotive and machine fabrication with over 20 years experience as a technician.

Brian Fletcher, Senior Staff Technician

Mr. Fletcher has an excellent professional background in photography, as well as experience in off-road vehicle construction, operation, and design improvements. Brian is responsible for operating MSI’s 20,000 frame/second Redlake (Kodak) high speed camera and software. Brian applies this ultra-high speed photography, for example, to document non-lethal munition impacts to determine energy-dispersal effectiveness and reliability, and to study centrifugal pump impeller flow streamlines and cavitation bubble formation and collapse.

Individual particles, fragments, or bubbles (among thousands) can be tracked in terms of trajectory and velocity. Brian has also played an important role in hardware construction for MSI’s successful RPG (Rocket-Propelled Grenade) Defeat project for the U.S. Marine Corps. funded through the Office of Naval Research.

Brian is also a proficient machinist, fabricating steel and high-strength aluminum components and assemblies. Brian also uses MSI’s 35-channel PULSE FFT analysis hardware and software to determine vibration levels and frequency spectra for pumps, turbines, compressors, and all types of turbomachinery operating in the field. On the analytical front, Brian performs 3D solids modeling using Pro/Engineer software.

Chris Grant, Senior Software Developer

Mr. Grant received his MSc. in Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is a software developer and engineer with 10 years of experience designing, optimizing, and building software/hardware solutions.

Working as a senior Full Stack developer, Mr. Grant has experience building the front-end using HTML5/CSS/JavaScript as well as WPF and QT. When working on the back-end of mobile/desktop applications he has experience coding in Node.js, C++, Python, and Java.

At MSI his area of focus is on creating applications enabling Real Time Communication over the web (webRTC), as well as developing computer vision algorithms utilizing data acquired by high speed sensors.

Joseph Gruener, Project Engineer

Mr. Gruener received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior experience included Howmet Castings, where he was involved in the investment casting of turbine components. Joe’s work at MSI has included FEA analysis, machinery on-site field testing, and DoD defensive munition development. Joe has extensive experience with FEA software such as Pro/Engineer, ANSYS Multiphysics, Workbench, LS-Dyna, and Pro/Mechanica.

Joe’s biomechanical projects have included analysis of hip replacement concepts and related surgical instruments, including design optimization and in situ fatigue life evaluation. Joe has performed a large number of projects involving advanced finite element analysis for modal and forced response analysis, typically of various turbomachinery components or systems. Many of these analyses have been conducted on a wide range of pumps including horizontal barrel and split case pumps, and vertical turbine pumps as well as vertical volute style pumps.

Involvement in field testing jobs has given Joe experience on MSI’s 35 channel B&K Pulse system as well as MSI’s high speed (20,000 frames/sec) video camera. Accelerometers, pressure transducers, and proximity probes, as well as other sensors have been used by Joe with the Pulse system. Field test jobs involving this test hardware included troubleshooting of rotating machinery for either OEM’s or End Users, and evaluation of munition performance for various military projects.

Joe has been a leading engineer in the development of an active RPG defeat system. His work on this successful project has included the design and construction of lab and field test hardware. The design of these systems involved extensive use of solid modeling and finite element analysis techniques. Data from these tests was collected with a combination of the Pulse high speed data acquisition system as well as high speed video. Joe also played a key role in the planning and execution of successful testing of the system against live fired RPG’s.

Paul Guthrie, Technician Supervisor

Mr. Guthrie came to MSI with a background in electrical and hydraulic equipment, obtained while he was serving in the U.S. Navy. Following his Navy activities, Paul graduated from the Chubb Institute, where he majored in computer and networking technology. While employed with MSI, Paul has become skilled in the use of the ROMAC rotordynamics computer programs, and the ANSYS Multiphysics and Pro/Mechanica 3D finite element programs. At MSI, Paul has been involved in military projects, and was a the lead technologist in one of MSI’s nonlethal projectile projects involving magnetorheological fluid viscosity changes in the presence of variable strength magnetic fields. Most of Paul’s efforts have been in the commercial area, and have focused primarily on computer-aided analysis, and onsite modal and ODS vibration and acoustic testing of turbines and compressors at worldwide locations.

Christopher Hurrell, Technician Supervisor

Mr. Hurrell graduated from the Chubb Institute, where he majored in computer system technical support, maintenance and network administration. His computer hardware and software skills have played a key role in many projects that MSI has performed on behalf of worldwide customers. Chris’s extensive testing and analytical experiences at MSI have included on-site and remote testing of 64 high speed data channels troubleshooting a large steam turbine for a Southeast Asia power plant, 3D Finite Element Analyses using Pro/Engineer and ANSYS, rotordynamics evaluations of all types of rotating machinery using ROMAC RotorLab, and performing site ODS & impact modal testing and post-test data animations with ME’scope.

Chris participates in many of MSI’s field troubleshooting projects and assists in a variety of commercial and defense analytical projects. He has constructed various types of apparatus for laboratory tests, from biomedical equipment seal tests to nonlethal projectile tests. Along with his lab and field duties, Chris is also Assistant Administrator of MSI’s high speed network and Itanium parallel processing/ Intel servers.

Artem Ivashchenko, P.E., Project Engineer

Mr. Ivashchenko is a graduate of Cornell University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MEng in Aerospace Engineering. He also studied abroad for a semester at Berlin’s Freie Universität. At MSI, he works on a variety of projects, including pump structural and CFD fluids analysis, machinery diagnostics through acoustic imaging, and munitions development. He has good knowledge of various CAD and FEA major software programs, including Pro/Engineer Wildfire, Pro/Mechanica, and the ANSYS Workbench suite, and is also at home in the laboratory.  Artem is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey.

While English is his first language, Artem is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian.

Travis Jonas, Manager of Mechanical Design and Manufacturing

As Manager of Mechanical Design and Manufacturing, Mr. Jonas brings 17 years of experience to MSI in the development of advanced propulsion applications including liquid rockets, hypersonics, and military gas turbine engines. Mr. Jonas’ experience base includes design and development of liquid rocket engine turbopumps for upper and main stage pump fed engines, accomplished during his tenure at Gencorp Aerojet. Mr. Jonas later served as a Development Program Engineer at Rolls-Royce/LibertyWorks where he was responsible for technical and managerial aspects of development programs for military-related propulsion.

The developmental aspects of Mr. Jonas’ career resulted in a wide breadth of proficiencies including program management, system and vehicle level integration, requirements definition, design and analysis, test, and manufacturing. Mr. Jonas has authored multiple turbomachinery related publications for AIAA, ASME, Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF), and Nuclear applications. Mr. Jonas received NASA’s Space Flight Awareness (SFA) Award in 2000 for his contribution in the development of the Space Shuttle’s High Pressure Fuel Turbopump/Alternate Turbopump (HPFTP/AT). The SFA is considered one of the highest awards presented to NASA and/or significant industry partners related to the human space flight program.

At MSI, Mr. Jonas performs project management, as well as finite element analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) of complex flowpaths within turbomachinery.

Andrew Lerche, Business Development & Project Engineer

Mr. Lerche has nearly 20 years of experience in the design, testing, analysis (fluid and structural), and troubleshooting of mechanical equipment and machinery. In addition to his analysis and testing/troubleshooting experience, he has led product development teams in the research and development of new products. He has worked in both research and production environments and is skilled at producing products using a variety of manufacturing methods, including 3D printing and multi-axis machining. He is experienced in the areas of turbomachinery, high pressure fluid control equipment, and shipboard electronic equipment. He has extensive experience with flow-induced vibration of turbomachinery blades, as well as shock and vibration testing and analysis of shipboard electronic equipment. Mr. Lerche has authored and presented several technical papers in the area of turbomachinery and holds two patents in the areas of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio, respectively. At Mechanical Solutions, Inc., Mr. Lerche is responsible for business development and providing solutions to the most challenging issues with industrial machinery.

William Loffredo, Project Engineer

Mr. Loffredo earned his BSME degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014.  Before joining MSI in 2018, he worked in Pittsburgh with engineering consultants on problems relating to electric rotating machinery for power generation.  He has performed various in-depth stress and fatigue evaluations on rotating components of large turbo/hydro generators and induction motors.  His finite element and classical analysis skills also include modal and thermal modeling, and he has supported mechanical failure root cause determinations as well as inspection & repair recommendations.  Bill has also frequently traveled on-site to perform impact testing, modal analysis, ODS analysis, heat & ventilation testing, and measure/modeling of machine assemblies.  In addition to testing and analysis, Bill has become a proficient MATLAB programmer to assist in analyzing vibration data.

Jim Netzel, Senior Consulting Engineer

As an MSI consultant, Mr. Netzel has more than forty years of experience in the design, application and troubleshooting of mechanical seals and sealing systems for rotating equipment.  This experience includes twenty years of service as chief engineer for John Crane Inc.  His project work has included all types of seals for liquid as well as gas applications for pumps, compressors and pressure vessels.  He has authored chapters for the McGraw-Hill Pump Handbook, Centrifugal Pump Handbook, and Compressor Handbook, and numerous presentations and technical papers published through the International Pump Symposium, STLE, ASME, BHRA, AISE, SAE and various trade publications.  His primary professional focus has been on improving equipment reliability.  He is a Fellow of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), and a past member of the Board of Directors of STLE.  He is also past chairman of the ASME/STLE International Tribology Conference, and past chairman of the Seals Technical Committee for STLE.  He is a long time member editorial advisory board for three trade publications, including Pumps & Systems magazine.  He holds a BSME from the University of Illinois, and five patents in seal technology.

Keith Olasin, Senior Staff Engineer

A Senior Staff Engineer at MSI, Mr. Olasin, began his career at Picatinny Arsenal performing munitions development, and over the last 25 years has gained experience in a wide variety of analysis and test validation projects, much of this effort on behalf of Defense and Aerospace prime contractors.  Mr. Olasin has also held engineering positions at Allied Signal Aerospace, where he preformed finite element stress/vibration analyses of Hubble Space Telescope and Space Shuttle electronics; at G.E./Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Co., where he performed satellite structure finite element analyses that included coupled loads and thermo-elastic stress; at Howmedica, Inc., where he assessed skeletal-implant fatigue via combined finite element analysis and testing, as well as non-linear and super-element techniques; and at KDI Triangle, Inc., where he assessed thermal stress of microwave telecommunications equipment.  At MSI, Mr. Olasin has led MSI’s nonlethal penetrator program for the Army, and is manager of MSI’s project to develop advanced thermo-electric energy conversion modules for fire protection systems and energy recovery systems.   He holds a BSME degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology.  He is Past Chair of the North Jersey Section of ASME.

Daniel Owens, Senior Staff Technician

Dan Owens has an excellent background in off-road vehicle construction, operation, and design improvements. Dan has played an important role in hardware construction for MSI’s successful RPG (Rocket-Propelled Grenade) Defeat project for the U.S. Marine Corps. funded through the Office of Naval Research.

Dan’s hands-on work includes rig and prototype construction, and on-site testing. He is an excellent machinist, fabricating aluminum and steel components in MSI’s Prototype Machine Shop. Dan also uses MSI’s 35-channel PULSE FFT analysis hardware and software to determine vibration levels and frequency spectra for pumps, turbines, compressors, and all types of turbomachinery operating in the field.

Dan has an Associates Degree in Science.

Chad Pasho, Business Development Manager

As MSI’s Business Development Manager, Mr. Pasho combines his 20 years of technical and business background to identify and execute on market opportunities for MSI’s services and innovations.  He is responsible for commercialization of MSI’s research, and corporate partnerships.  Previous employers include Schlumberger, NextEra Energy, and Octave Communications (now Polycom).  He holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College, and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Michael Piekarz, Project Engineer

Mr. Piekarz received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While at RPI, he completed a co-op on the Design Engineering team at Ashcroft Inc. and an internship at MSI.

During his time at Ashcroft, Michael designed fixtures in Solidworks to streamline the gauge assembly process. His internship at MSI focused on an IRAD project to improve seeded fault recognition in MSI Sentry. As a Project Engineer at the Albany Test Cell facility, Michael applies both his hands-on and software experience while building test rigs, performing tests, and collecting data for vibration and performance analysis.

Charlie Prisco, Senior Principal Engineer

A Senior Principal Engineer at MSI specializing in laboratory and field testing, Mr. Prisco has 30+ years of experience in the development and test of all types of machinery and electrical equipment.  He has managed the design, manufacturing, testing, and field service start-up of gas and steam turbine electric power generator sets.  He also has experience in the design and test of standby power generators, cogeneration systems and switchgear from his prior tenures at Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI), Foster-Miller Inc., and Sulzer Turbosystems International.  At MSI, his focus is on developing new business opportunities for turbine-generators and foil bearings, and performing field service and troubleshooting activities on turbines, generators, and other plant and process equipment.  Mr. Prisco has a BSEE degree from Lowell University and holds three patents.

Timothy Shields, Project Engineer

In the analytical arena, Tim Shields has performed thermal-fluid and mechanical analysis of various sorts. He is also proficient in the lab, using advanced signal analysis methods to devise testing protocols for MSI’s various project efforts. He has experience working mechanical engineering research through from initial concept formation to prototype design, and from there to fabrication and proof-of-concept testing.

In the office, Tim is proficient using both the MATLAB and LabVIEW programming environments for engineering design analysis, and data analysis, respectively. Some of Tim’s work has included evaluating coulomb damping and stiffness characteristics of foil bearing designs, identifying (via data processing techniques) the transient behavior of electrically-coupled high speed gas turbine generators, and creating diagnostic algorithms for the detection of faults in non-rotating machinery such as valves. He also played a primary role in the development, design, prototyping, and testing of a novel high pressure, high temperature impingement jet cooling system which utilized CO2 as an environmentally benign refrigerant, for an insensitive munitions application.

In the lab, Tim has experience creating tests to explore design concepts, validate prototype functionality and simulate common failure modes in machinery. His testing experience includes hydraulics, high pressure and temperature fluid systems, rotating and non-rotating machinery, heat transfer, and energy harvesting “green” technologies. Tim has worked on successful custom instrumentation that has experienced temperatures over 1,200°F, rotor speeds over 90,000 RPM, and radiologically hot zones at a nuclear power plant.

Tim’s capabilities in both the office and lab environments allow smooth project transitions from on-paper design to demonstrable hardware. He holds a BSME from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer.

Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer

Derek Stack, Project Engineer

With over 10 years of experience as an engineer Derek Stack was formerly a lead marine engineer for the United States Coast Guard. Mr. Stack has extensive knowledge testing, troubleshooting, and servicing gas turbine propulsion and diesel engine propulsion systems. Additionally Mr. Stack is skilled the variety of his machinery application experience, with familiarity and understanding of various pumps, diesel generators, compressors and centrifuges. Derek is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of New York Institute of Technology. At MSI he has become familiar with various field testing tools, including FFT analyzers and all types of vibration, pressure pulsation, and stress detection sensors.

Jeremy Weiss, Senior Staff Engineer

Mr. Weiss is heavily involved in troubleshooting rotating machinery problems, routinely traveling across the country to power plants and other industrial facilities to resolve machinery vibration issues. In addition to on-site testing and data collection, he is also deeply involved in post-processing and data analysis, often writing custom software routines to reduce large data sets into select graphical outputs that allow MSI engineers to quickly identify machinery faults and offer quick solutions to customers. He is an expert in data acquisition techniques for vibration applications, with intimate knowledge of DAQ hardware, data sampling methods, and time and frequency-domain mathematical techniques. He has coordinated measurements ranging from one to dozens of channels, sampling from a few Hz up to several Mega-Hz, and recording from a few seconds to a few days.

In addition to field troubleshooting of industrial machinery, Mr. Weiss is also leading the development of several software products using LabVIEW. He is packing the machinery know-how of the entire MSI staff into several software programs currently under development as part of various government-sponsored research programs. His software is used to monitor the health of common turbomachinery installations, to measure the stress and damage accumulation of bladed disks using innovative non-contacting methods, and to provide harmonic excitation to devices under test for experimental modal analysis as well as many other applications.

Mr. Weiss joined MSI part time as a student in 2005, and full time in 2008. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. He is a Certified LabVIEW Architect and lead’s MSI’s membership in the National Instruments Alliance Partner Program.

Certified LabVIEW Architect