Thomas H Burtness, PE

Mr. Thomas H Burtness, PE

Burtness Engineering Services
2195 Wagon Trail Rd
White Heath, IL 61884
Mobile: 217-898-8000
Office: 217-687-2000

A Licensed Professional Engineer in 21 states and former licensed electrician, Tom Burtness specializes in electrical and lighting engineering for cases involving death and personal injury, industrial equipment failure, vehicular accidents, fire origin/cause, contract and construction disputes, electrocution, safety circuit failure, construction defects, and control and instrumentation systems in industrial, commercial, and municipal occupancies. One client stated, “Tom…prepared a detailed report that simplified the issues…and does very well in deposition.” Mr. Burtness has been providing forensic engineering services since 1983, and is a specialist in illumination engineering for street, roadway and area lighting; including field verification and photometric requirements.

Areas of Expertise
  • Construction
  • Construction Safety
  • Electrical
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Explosions
  • Failure Analysis
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Lighting & Illumination
  • OSHA
  • Personal Injury
  • Wrongful Death

Expert Background
Q: Please list your professional accreditations, degrees, licenses, and certificates granted:
A: BS in Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois, Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Services available nationwide, licensing available in other jurisdictions by Comity.
OSHA 511 Certificate.
Fire Investigation Certificate, Investigative Engineers Association.
Advanced Fire Investigation Certificate, Investigative Engineers Association.
Traffic Accident Reconstruction Certificate, Investigative Engineers Association.
Q: Please list your affiliations or memberships in any professional and/or industry organizations:
A: Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES).
Illuminating Engineering Society - Street and Area Lighting Committee.
National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI) Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
National Fire Protection Association – NFPA.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – IEEE.
American Association of Mechanical Engineers – ASME.
Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engineering Honors Society.
National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying – NCEES.
Q: Please list any teaching or speaking experience you have had, including subject matter:
A: “Control System Automation for Water Treatment Plants” Hydraulic Engineers, Sept 16, 1998.
“Are LED Streetlights Ready For Prime Time?” American Public Works Association (APWA), February 15, 2008 and June 18, 2010.
“LED's, Plasma, Induction, Oh My! Emerging Technologies in Street and Area Lighting.” APWA Annual Conference, May 6, 2010.
“Navigating the Inevitable Adoption of LED Streetlights.” Illinois Transportation and Highway Engineering Conference, March 25, 2014.
“Maximize Your Savings! Strategies to Economically Justify Your LED Lighting Installations.” LED Specifier Summit, October 21, 2014.
“Economic Development Benefits of Street Lighting Design.” IES – Central Illinois Section, March 11, 2015.
“Automate Your Marketing Funnel using a CRM.” Investigative Engineers Association 2016 Annual Convention, October 10, 2016.
IES Fundamentals of Lighting Intensive Course, “History of Lighting, Professional Practice, Physics and Vision,” October 27, 2016.
IES Fundamentals of Lighting Intensive Course, “Electric Light Sources and Auxiliary Devices,” October 27, 2016.
IES Fundamentals of Lighting Intensive Course, “Lighting for Exteriors,” October 28, 2016.
“Help! I’ve Been Called as an Expert Witness!” Illuminating Engineering Society, 2017 IES Annual Street and Area Lighting Conference (SALC), September 13, 2017; Austin, Texas.
“Managing the Differences Between Investigative Engineering and Expert Witnessing.” Invited Speaker, Investigative Engineers Association 2018 Annual Convention, March 5, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Dealing with Difficult Attorneys.” Invited Speaker, 27th Annual National Expert Witness Conference, SEAK Experts, May 6, 2018.
“Help! I’ve Been Asked to be an Expert Witness!” Seminar Speaker, LightFair International, May 9, 2018; Chicago, Illinois.
Q: Have any of your accreditations ever been investigated, suspended or removed? (if yes, explain)
A: No.
Q: On how many occasions have you been retained as an expert?
A: 87.
One Client wrote: "I am writing this letter to you to thank you for the work you performed on behalf of my client in Memphis. I was highly impressed with your organization and your ability to get to the meat of the issue as expeditiously as possible. I was equally impressed by your ability, while present on site, to work with our other experts. In fact, you were a leader on site and others looked to you for answering questions and leading the charge. I will hope to have a case in the future in which to use your services again. I would recommend you to others and would be pleased to speak to any such person to provide a recommendation." Ed Wallis, Glassman, Wyatt, Tuttle & Cox, P. C., Memphis TN, 901-527-4673.
Q: For what area(s) of expertise have you been retained as an expert?
A: Electrical engineering; lighting and illumination engineering (indoor industrial and commercial, roadway, street, parking lot, and area lighting) including photometric requirements and on-site evaluation and validation; industrial and roadway accidents and injury; electrocution; electrical power (including LV, MV, & HV); electrical controls and instrumentation (SCADA); electrical equipment and machinery installations and failure; fire and explosion origin and cause; electrical equipment explosion; electrical construction design, specifications, and contract documents; construction defects; construction contract disputes; and construction project management disputes.
Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the plaintiff?
A: Approximately 55%.
Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the defendant?
A: Approximately 45%.
Q: On how many occasions have you had your deposition taken?
A: 16 depositions. Many of my cases settle after my report is disclosed.
Q: When was the last time you had your deposition taken?
A: 2019
Q: On how many occasions have you been qualified by a court to give expert testimony?
A: Four. I have never been disqualified. I've withstood two unsuccessful Daubert challenges.
Q: On how many occasions have you testified as an expert in court or before an arbitrator?
A: Four. Most of my cases settle before trial.
Q: For how many years have you worked with the legal industry as an expert?
A: 42 as an Insurance Investigator. 37 as a Forensic Engineer. 29 as an Expert Witness.
Q: What services do you offer? (E.g.: consulting, testing, reports, site inspections etc.)
A: In addition to deposition and trial testimony, the forensic services that I provide include: consulting; case file review; site investigations including protocol development and photometric evaluation and verification; origin and cause determination; technical and investigative report writing; evaluation and comment on opposing expert reports; rebuttal reports; preparation of deposition questions for opposing experts; as well as technical attorney prep for interrogatories, discovery, deposition, and trial. A 2017 client wrote: "I retained Tom Burtness for a very difficult and technical case involving lighting and lighting engineering issues. Tom was instrumental in locating the pertinent standards and publications that helped me craft my case strategy, and in preparing a detailed report that simplified the issues. Tom has a deep and thorough knowledge of lighting and technical issues related to municipal and highway lighting standards and does very well in deposition. Tom also helped me dissect the opposing experts’ theories and helped me develop lines of questioning for deposition. I can highly recommend Tom Burtness." Recommendation by Chris Pinedo, Esq. Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales, Corpus Christi, TX, 361-882-1612.
Q: What is your hourly rate to consult with an attorney?
A: Contact me personally at 217-687-2000 for rates.
Q: What is your hourly rate to review documents?
A: Contact me personally at 217-687-2000 for rates.
Q: What is your hourly rate to provide deposition testimony?
A: Contact me personally at 217-687-2000 for rates.
Q: What is your hourly rate to provide testimony at trial?
A: Contact me personally at 217-687-2000 for rates.
Q: Please list any fees other than those stated above (E.g.: travel expenses, copy fees, etc.)
A: My standard written retainer agreement is required. Travel expenses at cost. Case opening retainer (contact me personally at 217-687-2000 for retainer amount). My travel time is charged from my office to your location (and vice-versa) plus case-related activities (no charges for down-time). See my website for more details:



Christopher Pinedo
Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales,
719 S. Shoreline, Ste. 500
Corpus Christi, Tx. 78401

Richard R. Harden
Thomas, Mamer & Haughey, LLP
P.O. Box 560,
30 E. Main St.
Champaign, IL 61824-0560