Dale J. Cagwin, P.E., C.F.E.I. Mechanical Engineer & Building Systems Expert

Dale J. Cagwin, Mechanical Engineer & Building Systems Expert

Dale's knowledge in fire protection engineering, HVAC, plumbing, gas, water, sewage and industrial systems is difficult to match. As a Mechanical Engineer, Dale designed and managed construction for HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and process systems in a variety of commercial, industrial and municipal buildings.

He's well versed in all manners of fire suppression and alarm systems, heating and cooling systems/equipment, building energy analysis, natural and propane gas systems, air quality and ventilation in buildings, and municipal/industrial systems such as water and wastewater treatment.

Dale is licensed as a Professional Engineer in various states and the District of Columbia, he's also a Certified Fire Protection Specialist. He's a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning engineers as well as the National Fire Protection Association.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc

Associate

1998 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony for failure analysis, and towards the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving all aspects of mechanical, fire protection and product engineering including design, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation of mechanical systems for water treatment/distribution, educational, health care, industrial, wastewater treatment/collection, dairy plants, warehousing, vehicle maintenance, residential housing, offices, airport, kitchens, cold region, pharmaceutical, and refrigerated storage facilities. Areas of expertise include:

Fire Science and Fire Protection Engineering:

  • Thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, combustion, fire safety, fire spread and development, smoke movement, fire modeling.
  • Flammability of materials, flash point, vapor ignition, explosions, fire origin and cause, textile flammability, textile flammability testing, flame retardant textiles, flame resistant textiles.
  • Wet, dry, and double interlock preaction sprinkler systems, in-rack systems, ESFR systems, Halon suppression systems, fire pump systems, jockey pumps, vertical turbine fire pumps, water storage tanks and ponds, fire hoses and fire hose appliances, hydraulic analysis.
  • Fire alarm systems, heat detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors.

HVAC:

  • Heating equipment: Furnaces, boilers, heaters, flues and chimneys, Unit heaters and ventilators, heat pumps. Heat recovery, heat exchangers.
  • Cooling equipment: DX, closed circuit fluid coolers, chillers, cooling towers.
  • Controls: Temperature and humidity control, safety, energy management, DDC. • Distribution: Air handlers and ductwork, pumps and piping, noise control, fire safety.
  • Ventilation: Outdoor air, sick building syndrome, indoor air quality, air and contaminant movement in buildings, airflow and contaminant modeling.

Plumbing, Water and Sewage:

  • Water treatment/distribution: Treatment plants, pumping stations, distribution systems, valves, pumps, piping, chemical feed systems, filtration.
  • Domestic cold and hot water: Temperature controls, water hammer and surge suppression, washdown systems, water treatment, flooding, scalding.
  • Wastewater treatment/collection: Gravity and pumped, grease interceptors, sludge dewatering, belt filter presses, sludge pumping station, polymer feed system, odor control, chlorination, sand filters, overflows.
  • Gas systems: Natural and propane gas, gas piping, regulators, appliances.
  • Compressed Air Systems: Air compressors, distribution systems, piping, hose, receivers, regulators, controls.

Industrial Systems:

  • Process: High pressure air and steam, hydraulic systems, ammonia refrigeration, flash mixing, pumps and controls, flare systems, digester gas systems, engines, generators. Medical gas systems. Explosion-proof equipment.
  • Air Quality and Ventilation: Fans, ductwork, exhaust hoods, fans, blowers. Clean air systems, wet scrubbers, carbon absorbers, cyclone separators, biofilters, activated carbon filtration, odor control, battery room ventilation.

Fournier Robson & Associates, LLC

Associate

1999 to present

Provide technical assistance and support to contractors and owners on matters involving HVAC and plumbing systems, and troubleshooting water and wastewater treatment plant problems.

Frey Lutz Corporation

Mechanical Engineer – Design Build Division

2000 to 2001

Design, estimate, and manage construction of HVAC and plumbing systems for commercial , institutional, and industrial projects. Member of Safety Committee.

Facilities Design, Inc.

Associate Principal, Director of Mechanical Engineering

1992 to 1998

Supervise engineers and designers. Responsible for all mechanical engineering including HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, and process design for institutional, commercial, industrial, and municipal projects. Develop standards, establish schedules and budgets, review all mechanical work. Manage projects for key clients. Responsible for development and maintenance of company computer network and information systems.

PSC Engineers & Consultants, Inc.

Mechanical Engineer/Project Manager

1989 to 1992

Responsible for HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, and process system design and specifications for industrial and commercial projects. Prepared proposals, developed new work, served as client contact, managed construction projects.

Metcalf & Eddy, Inc.

Mechanical Engineer

1986 to 1989

Responsible for HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, and process system design and specifications for municipal and government (Navy and Air Force) projects. Responsible for final review of all HVAC designs.

Heat Extractor, Inc.

Product Development Engineer

1981 to 1986

Responsible for operation of research and development laboratory for direct contact flue gas heat recovery equipment. Evaluated product safety, performance and materials of construction. Functioned as liaison engineer with Underwriters Laboratories and American Gas Association in obtaining and maintaining equipment certification.

Indian Castle Tire Service

1975 to 1980

Provided 24 hour roadside repair and replacement of commercial truck and agricultural tires

Professional Credentials

  • Professional Engineer: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia
  • Certified Fire Protection Specialist, CFPS
  • Certified Oil Burner Technician: Massachusetts (1985-1988)
  • Chairman, Lancaster Township Building Code Board of Appeals, Lancaster, PA
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), No. 9413-6237
  • Certified Fire Investigator Instructor (CFII), No. 9413-6237I

Education

  • A.A.S. in Civil Engineering, Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, NY
    • Additional study in Solar Engineering, 1978-1980
  • Certificate, Comprehensive Oil Heat Installation and Maintenance Course,
    • New England Fuel Institute, 1985
  • Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, PA campus, 1990
    • (Experimental Methods for Engineers)
  • Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 1982-1986
    • (Calculus Review, Physics Review, Differential Equation 1&2, Dynamic 1&2), Structural Mechanics, Strength of Materials, Economics, Numerical Methods, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Thermal Design)

Continuing Coursework

  • Ethical Issues in Forensic Engineering (Live Webinar), PDH Online, April 2017
  • Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Metal Corrosion, Decatur Professional Development, April 2017
  • Skyscrapers (Live Webinar), PDH Online, April 20
  • Construction Layout (Live Webinar), PDH Online, April 2017
  • Human Behavior in Fire, Society of Fire Protection Engineers, December 2016
  • The Lac-Megantic Railway Disaster - A Town Destroyed and 47 Killed, Lessons Learned, NFPA, June 2015
  • Cigarette Fire Safety: What's Next, NFPA, June 2015
  • Marina and Boatyard Protection - Compliance Challenges, NFPA, June 2015
  • Inspecting Facilities for Combustible Dust Hazards, NFPA, June 2015
  • NFPA Standard 13-2016, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, Changes, NFPA, June 2015
  • The Research Road map for Smart Fire Fighting, NFPA, June 2015
  • NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations - Developing the Science of Fire Investigation, NFPA, June 2015
  • The Fire Investigator as Expert Witness: A Review of NFPA 921 and NFPA 1033, NFPA, June 2015
  • The Drones are Coming: Incorporating Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the Fire Service of the Future, NFPA, June 2015
  • Evaluating Flameless Venting Devices for Dust Explosions, NFPA, June 2015
  • Transient Thermal Response of Fire Fighter Clothing and Helmets in Heated Flow Path Conditions, NFPA, June 2015
  • Flammability Testing of Plastic Pipe, NFPA, June 2015
  • NFPA's Combustible Dust Standards, NFPA, June 2015
  • NYS Ethics Self Study Course, New York State, April 2015
  • Indiana Rules and Statutes, ACEC Indiana, 2015 Ethics, ACEC Indiana, 2015
  • Fire Science and Litigation Seminar, Defense Research Institute, 2014
  • Fire Protection Fundamentals, Decatur Professional Development, 2013
  • Valve Fundamentals, Decatur Professional Development, 2013
  • Psychrometrics and its use in HVAC, Decatur Professional Development, 2013
  • HVAC Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems, Continuing Education and Development, 2012
  • Thermal Stress and Brittle Fracture of Material, Continuing Education and Development, 2012
  • Fundamentals of PID Control, Decatur Professional Development, 2012
  • Fire Cause Determination Using the Revised Chapter 18, NFPA 921, National Fire Protection Association, 2011
  • Natural Gas Piping and Purging: Safe Work Practices, NFPA, 2011
  • Flammable and Combustible Liquids in Plastic Containers: Understanding the Code, Case Study Implementation, and New Research, NFPA, 2011
  • New Requirements in the 2012 NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA, 2011
  • NFPA Combustible Dust Standards Update, NFPA, 2011
  • Residential Fire Tenability, NFPA, 2011
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Introduction to Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview, 2010
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Principles of Fire Protection Engineering, 2010
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Engineering Technology Conference, 2010
  • National Institute of Standards & Technology, 2009 Building and Fire Research Annual Fire Conference, 2009
  • ASTM International, Major Testing Techniques for Plastic, 2008
  • 2007 National Fire, Arson & Explosion Investigation Training Program
  • Investigation of Gas and Electric Appliance Fires, 2002
  • Natural Gas and LPG Fire/Explosion Investigation Seminar, Public Agency Training Council, 2001
  • National Electrical Code Seminar, National Fire Protection Association, 1999
  • Automatic Sprinkler System Seminar, National Fire Protection Association, 1993

Professional Memberships

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
    • Technical Peer Reviewer, ASHRAE Journal, 1996-present
    • Current member of Technical Committee (TC) 9.8 Large Building Air Conditioning
      • Applications, TC 1.4 Control Theory and Application, TC 9.1 Industrial Air Conditioning, and Standard 62.1 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
    • Central Pennsylvania Chapter, past president
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), member
  • American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), member
    • Technical Editor, Plumbing Systems & Design Magazine
    • Technical Editor, Illustrated Plumbing Code Handbook
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), member
  • American Society for Testing and Materials Committees:
    • E05 – Fire Standards
    • E05.15 – Furnishings and Contents
    • E05.23 – Combustibility
    • E05.33 – Fire Safety Engineering
    • E05.44 – Fire Safety Engineering
    • D13.52 – Textile Flammability

Presentation/publications

  • “Fire/Explosion Origin and Cause Investigations,” Lorman, 2006
  • “Fundamentals of Fire Science & Engineering," Robson Lapina, 2001
  • “Fundamentals of Fire Science & Engineering," Robson Lapina, 2000
  • “HVAC Design Wastewater Treatment Plants,” Water Environment Federation, 1991
  • “Control Technologies for VOC Emissions,” Water Pollution Control Federation, 1990
  • “Design Considerations for VOC Emission Control Systems at Wastewater Treatment Plants,” Water Environment & Technology, June 1990

v. 10/1/20

Related Resources

Investigating Fire Sprinkler Systems

By Dale J. Cagwin
Expert Overview

When fire sprinkler systems activate and/or release water we are frequently retained to determine if the systems worked as intended. In the course of these investigations there are common questions…

Carbon Monoxide Exposures

Thursday, October 07, 2021
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Dale J. Cagwin
Webinar

Carbon monoxide affects human health at relatively low concentrations and can become fatal at sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm. In forensic investigations, our experts are often tasked…