Dirk E. Smith

Senior Vice President, Transportation and Products Division / Ph.D., P.E., ACTAR / Houston

Background

Dr. Smith holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a focused research area on vehicle dynamics and control. He is a licensed professional engineer in 18 states and Board Certified Forensic Engineer as a member of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. He is also a certified Traffic Accident Reconstructionist through the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists (ACTAR #985).

Dr. Smith has taught courses in machine design, vibrations, and vehicle dynamics. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he worked for Hughes Aircraft Company designing satellite structures. While at Louisiana State University, Dr. Smith was the Faculty Advisor for the SAE Mini-Baja Team where he supervised the design, fabrication, and testing of the off-road vehicle.

Dr. Smith’s research, engineering, and consulting backgrounds have provided him with experience in machine design, vibration analysis, vehicle dynamics, accident reconstruction (including cars, trucks, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and construction vehicles), and event data recorders. He also has experience evaluating trailer loading / unloading accidents. Dr. Smith is an avid motorcycle rider giving him special insight regarding motorcycle accidents and rider actions.

Dr. Smith has reconstructed accidents involving: commercial tractor/trailers, high-speed fatality collisions, daytime and nighttime pedestrian accidents, car-bicycle and car-motorcycle collisions, vehicle rollovers, and construction vehicles/machines. Dr. Smith evaluates traffic signal timing relating to intersection collisions. He has also worked on product liability cases involving: vehicle systems, motorcycles, scaffolds, ladders, forklifts, aerial lifts and machine components. He has testified in state and federal courts.

Education and Certifications

  • Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.: Purdue University
  • Mechanical Engineering, M.S.: University of Southern California
  • Mechanical Engineering, B.S.: Purdue University
  • Registered Professional Engineer: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas
  • Certified Traffic Accident Reconstructionist: The Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists (ACTAR #985)
  • Board Certified Forensic Engineer: National Academy of Forensic Engineers
  • Certified Forklift and Aerial Lift Operator