112 113 STRESS ENGINEERING SERVICES because of Three Mile Island which hamstrung the nuclear industry.” (The Three Mile Island accident, a nuclear meltdown that occurred in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania in 1979,was the most significant accident in U.S commercial nuclear power plant history.) Today, Stress Engineering Services has approx- imately 400 employees, and is headquartered in Houston,Texas,with additional office locations in Cincinnati,Ohio; NewOrleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Waller,Texas; Calgary, Canada; and Singapore.“We provide consulting services and help people solve difficult problems,” says Lechinger.“We provide three basic services: design, testing, and analysis.We have some of the largest testing facilities in the oil and gas industry.” More precisely, the company offers: down- stream plant services, such as engineering assessments, field services and monitoring, materials engineering, and testing services; fo- rensic engineering services, including electrical accidents, failure analysis, fires and explosions, intellectual property, litigation support, person- al injury, product liability, and structures and foundations; and industrial design services that include consumer research, human factors and ergonomics, conceptual design, detailed design, and prototyping. It also provides materials engi- neering services and measurement and control services, such as data collection products, field instrumentation,measurement and monitoring, system integration and design, and vibration monitoring, as well medical technology devel- opment services. Stress Engineering Services has clients in the following industries and sectors: aerospace, mechanical connectors, alternative energy sources,medical devices, automotive, chemical and refinery, consumer packaging and products, pharmaceutical, forensics, pipeline, industrial design, plastics, power generation, pressure vessels and piping, locomotive, process technol- ogy,manufacturing, pulp and paper,marine, and transportation. Lechinger believes that the com- pany’s advantages in its field are directly related to the experience of its people–mechanical, civil, electrical, metallurgical, chemical, and marine engineers–as well as the range of its abilities.“A typical person has 15 to 18 years of industry experience,with nine to ten average in the company,” he states.“So,we bring very experi- enced people to the table.And we bring a diverse workforce; we have a number of disciplines represented in-house, so we can look at a problem frommultiple directions.We can look at it from a materials standpoint; we can look at it from the analytical view; we can look at it experientially. Some of the problems that we deal with are complex and they require a good bit of experience to answer properly. There’s a lot of technology out there and if you know how to use techni- cal tools, you can get the answer, but there has to be somebody behind that who knows how to filter the answers. And then there’s the diversity of our facilities.We have some of the largest testing facilities and one of the largest in-house materials groups.All those things play together to give us a lot of different looks at a problem.” Miller adds,“Since we’re employee owned,we’re independent; we don’t have any equipment that we’re trying to sell, so we can offer a true, inde- pendent opinion to our clients.When