Fire Technology Staff
Fire Technology Services

A full-time professional staff is employed by the Fire Technology Department at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Staff have extensive experience in:

  • Physical chemistry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Chemical engineering
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Fire protection engineering
  • Computer science
  • Fire services technology
  • Toxicology

Jason P. Huczek
Principal Engineer
(210) 522-3632

List of Publications

Jason Huczek’s primary responsibility is evaluation of fire protection systems and system components by way of small-, large-, and full-scale testing. These systems include ceiling and in-rack sprinkler systems, smoke detection systems, and fire alarm systems. Applications include protection of warehouse-style storage of commodity, protection of machinery spaces on commercial and government marine vessels, and protection of aircraft cargo spaces.

Alexandra Joyce
Senior Research Engineer
(210) 522-6423

In her role in the Engineering and Research Section of the Fire Technology Department, Research Engineer Alexandra Joyce performs a broad range of scientific and engineering investigations in the areas of fire technology, combustion, and material explosibility using standard fire testing techniques and procedures. She is responsible for small-scale laboratory dust and vapor explosibility testing. She also assists with the research and custom testing of alternative fuels, ignition hazards, energetic materials, combustible metals, explosive atmospheres, and safety systems.

Eugene F. Horton
Principal Engineering Technologist
(210) 522-3457

Gene is a principal engineering technologist in the Material Flammability Section. He has 36 years of experience, and his responsibilities include the management of cone calorimetry, IMO (International Maritime Organization), Part 6, 7, 8, 9, small-scale Bunsen burner testing and the development of new small-scale testing programs.

Nick Middleton
Research Technologist
(210) 522-2406

Nick is a research technologist in the Material Flammability Section. His work includes a multitude of fire performance evaluations of materials and material systems in accordance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ASTM International, Uniform Building Code/International Code Council (UBC/ICC), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard tests as well as International Maritime Organization (IMO) Fire Test Procedures.

Karen Carpenter, M.S., P.E.
Manager, Fire Resistance
(210) 522-3718

Karen Carpenter is the manager of the Fire Resistance Section. In this position, she oversees and performs engineering and scientific investigations requiring applications of standard fire testing techniques and procedures, and calorimetry and small-scale testing.

Bill B. Bendele
Principal Engineering Technologist
(210) 522-2728

During more than 29 years of employment with SwRI, Bill Bendele has participated in numerous large-scale standard and nonstandard fire tests and product evaluations. He is responsible for program development of testing automotive fuel systems when exposed to fire, Network Equipment Building Systems (NEBS) fire resistance programs, and development of the department’s remote test site.

Natasha J. Albracht
(210) 522-3971

Natasha is an engineer in the Fire Resistance Section. In this position, she performs a variety of medium- and large-scale fire performance tests including both standard and custom evaluations. Natasha currently performs tests in accordance with ASTM International, UL, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and CA State Fire Marshall.

Abel de Hoyos
Research Technologist
(210) 522-3539

Abel is a research technologist in the Fire Resistance Section and has worked in the Fire Technology Department for 17 years. He oversees the design, operation, and program management for NFPA 285, ASTM E2307, MIL-PRF-32161, and MIL-STD-3020 as well as several other standard and custom Fire Resistance tests. Abel is also responsible for coordinating and performing IMO Part 3 fire resistance tests for “A”, “B”, and “F” class divisions.

Jeremy McDonald, P.E.
Research Engineer
(210) 522-5469

Jeremy McDonald is a research engineer in the Fire Resistance Section and a licensed fire protection engineer in the state of Texas. He oversees testing for hoses and pipes for the oil and marine industries per International Organization for Standardization (ISO), American Petroleum Institute (API), SAE International, and International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards; jet fire testing of plastic pipes and passive fire protection systems per International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards; and energy storage devices such as ultracapacitors and batteries to SAE International and ECE standards.

Tim Koebke, M.S.
Manager, Listing, Labeling & Follow-Up Inspections
(210) 522-6976

Tim Koebke manages the daily operations and administration of Listing and Labeling programs. His duties include marketing and promotional activities, developing proposals, writing quality control manuals, scheduling and conducting initial and follow-up inspections of manufacturing plants, coordinating activities of domestic and international inspectors, and assisting clients in the approval process of their products by authorities having jurisdiction: IMO/US Coast Guard, building code compliance, etc.

Julie Garcia
Senior QA Engineer
(210) 522-5832

As a Senior QA Engineer in the Listing, Labeling, and Follow-Up Inspection Section of the Fire Technology Department, Julie Garcia conducts initial and routine plant inspections. In addition, develops QC Manuals and/or Follow-Up Procedure (FUP) Documents.

Thomas Skaggs
QA Technologist
(210) 522-6511

As a quality assurance (QA) technologist in the Listing, Labeling, and Follow-Up Inspection Section of the Fire Technology Department, Thomas Skaggs conducts initial factory inspections for manufacturers who wish to pursue a third-party quality inspection program with SwRI. He manages a number of listing and labeling programs, including those for standby generators and marine insulation boards.


Our support staff is well versed in construction, machining, electronics, gas analysis, and instrumentation. The diversity and abundance of research programs undertaken by the Department of Fire Technology Department staff members put us in a unique position to provide the highest quality research to meet your needs.

Related Terminology

code compliance  •  engineering design  •  fire and explosion investigations  •  fire resistance  •  fire testing laboratory  •  material flammability  •  product development  •  risk and hazards  •  suppression  •  third-party certification  •  listing and labeling

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.