Laurel is the Principal and Laboratory Director at Analytical Forensic Associates where she developed and manages the operation of the forensic laboratory where her responsibilities include the direction of laboratory services pertaining to chemical analysis of ignitable liquids in fire debris, reporting of the results, protecting the evidence and testifying as to the results of those analyses. She routinely conducts additional chemical analyses of fire evidence including the recovery and identification of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) in self-heating fires, evaluates the validity of the work of other scientists through review of reports, testimony and other data as well as providing litigation support. She is responsible for laboratory management, training, and quality assurance. Laurel conducts preliminary evaluations of the client’s problems, evaluates the chemical interactions and reactions of components specific to fire losses. She is also capable of performing many types of chemical and instrumental analyses, including GC-MS, FT-IR, light microscopy, and giving expert testimony as to the results of those analyses.
She has analyzed or supervised the analysis of over one hundred fifty thousand fire debris samples since 1981 and has testified as an expert witness in the analysis of evidence from the fire scene in more than one hundred and fifty criminal and civil matters in both Federal and State courts throughout the United States.
Laurel holds the Certification of Fellow in the specialty field of Fire Debris with the American Board of Criminalistics. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the Southern Association of Forensic Scientists, the International Association of Arson Investigators, NAFI, NFPA, ASTM, and the American Chemical Society. She was a former President, Vice President, Treasurer, and T & E Committee Co-Chair of the Georgia Chapter (GFIA) of the IAAI and was honored to be presented with Life Member of the GFIA for her dedication to the Association and the fire investigation community. She is the author and co-author of several publications relating to fire debris analysis and has traveled extensively lecturing on evidence collection, preservation, and laboratory analysis. In her downtime, Laurel enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling with her husband, painting, keeping Koi, and gardening.