Team Bios

About Charles

Charles (Chuck) Keith, PE, CFEI, CGE has more than 25 years of engineering and field service experience. Chuck has worked in industrial settings his entire career and brings a very broad range of knowledge and experience to Keith-Pfaendtner Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering (BSChE) from the University of Minnesota, a diploma in Computer and Digital Systems from Dunwoody Institute, and he is a licensed Professional Engineer (emphasis in mechanical engineering and thermodynamics) for the State of Minnesota. He is also a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and a Certified Gas Engineer.

Chucks’ expertise includes engineering custom combustion control systems, natural and propane gas burner systems for the industrial marketplace, and process control systems.  Chuck works on or handles an average of 30 fire and explosion investigations a year. His work included managing and facilitating the private party investigation and inspection of the 2013 West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion per NFPA 921. The West event was the second largest loss of first responder lives after the attacks on 9/11. 

Chuck commonly performs incident evaluations and failure analyses in the areas of gas and oil-fired equipment. He has investigated fires and explosions in the Bakken Oil Field, chemical plants, ethanol plants, manufacturing facilities, refineries, agricultural facilities, commercial and industrial facilities; as well as residential fires and explosions. He regularly utilizes the principles and methodology found in NFPA 921 to assist in carrying out his investigations of fires and explosions.

Chuck has participated in a number of professional associations including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society of Gas Engineers (ASGE), the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers (MnSPE) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). He has been a member of the NFPA 85 Single Boiler Burner committee.

Chuck enjoys hanging out with his family, camping, waterskiing, rebuilding engines and driving his old Ford F100.

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ABOUT JEFF

Dr. Jeff Pfaendtner, PE, CFEI brings more than 20 years’ engineering and failure analysis expertise and experience to Keith-Pfaendtner Engineering. Jeff’s education and experience broadly include the field of materials and metallurgical engineering and many aspects of mechanical engineering. He began his engineering career at the University of Pennsylvania obtaining both a BSE and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. His Ph.D. thesis work advanced the fundamental understanding of the fracture of nickel-based superalloys at high temperatures. These high-temperature alloys are critical to the function and performance of jet engines, land-based turbines used for power generation and many other technologies.

Jeff continued his engineering career at General Electric in their Aviation business, a leading worldwide manufacturer of jet engines for commercial and military aircraft. In his nine years at GE he co-authored 23 US and European patents for inventions related to state of the art high-temperature metallic and ceramic coatings for jet engine turbine and hot section components.

Jeff joined Crane Engineering (Plymouth, MN) in 2007 and began his career as forensic engineer. He held positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President and Chief Technical Officer while serving insurance and attorney clients in many types of products liability and other litigation/subrogation matters. During this time Jeff also provided materials and process engineering support to companies in many different manufacturing industries, including medical device, automotive/transportation, aviation, agriculture, heavy industry and any other company needing expertise in the selection, trouble-shooting, development and implementation of metals, alloys, ceramics, plastics and glasses.

Jeff is a former elite athlete who competed at the collegiate, national and international levels in rowing. He won several national championship titles with the University of Pennsylvania Crew Team and competed internationally on nine US National Rowing Teams including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where he won a bronze medal as a member of the US Olympic Team.

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ABOUT CAZ

Casimir A. “Caz” Sienkiewicz
President/Founder of Caztek Engineering
Springfield, Massachusetts, gave American industry its first lathe, musket, motorcycle, and kitchen match. It also produced Cazimir Sienkiewicz. After earning a degree from Springfield Technical College, Caz moved to Minnesota to work for Kurt Manufacturing. There he worked his way up to become program manager for subcontract manufacturing for Boeing. He went on to become director of engineering at Filtration Products Corp.

Caz’s portfolio of projects include the rocket motor valve used on the XCOR Lynx suborbital space vehicle, a pulse jet engine, and the world’s most powerful tee-shirt cannon (which he demonstrated on several national television programs.)

Anxious to get out on his own, Caz began consulting on engineering projects for XCOR Aerospace, a private developer of rocket engines in Mojave, California. As his workload and client base grew, he founded Caztek in his garage back in 2004. It wasn’t long before Caz moved his fledgling company into a larger space (equipped with its own CNC machine!) in the funky Lowertown district of St. Paul, Minnesota. Since its founding, Caztek has matured into a proven engineering and design firm, and the company’s clients have expanded to include producers of aerospace, medical, industrial and consumer products.