Our mission is providing fact-based research and analysis on injuries associated with product hazards ranging from motor vehicle to consumer and industrial products to medical devices. We are a small multi-disciplinary team that brings together various and complementary skills. The backgrounds of our staff include careers in safety advocacy, biomechanics and biomedical research, engineering, law, library and information science, and journalism.
We blend our core competencies with a dedication to thoroughness and accuracy to efficiently bring our clients the relevant information and insight they need. Our staff is united in its commitment to advancing injury prevention and improved consumer safety – whether it is though civil litigation, rulemaking, legislation or public awareness campaigns. Our diversity and experience give Safety Research & Strategies a flexibility and reach few can match.
Sean Kane, the founder and president of Safety Research & Strategies, is a safety researcher and passionate advocate with two decades experience raising the profile of safety hazards and advancing solutions. He combined his interest in automobiles with social justice in 1991, when he began his work at the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy organization established by Ralph Nader in Washington D.C.
Mr. Kane’s efforts have prompted numerous federal safety probes. His independent investigations and analyses of vehicle defects have led to recalls of tens of millions of vehicles and components that have inflicted serious and deadly injuries to consumers, including from heater core ruptures, engine fires, failed electronics, tires and tire valves. For example, in July 2000 Kane was instrumental in revealing to U.S. consumers the dangers of Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires. His research on Ford’s overseas recalls led to Congressional hearings and the eventual passage of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accuracy and Documentation (TREAD) Act. Mr. Kane’s research into Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration and his report on the issue became the foundation for Congressional investigations in 2010. In February 2010, he testified before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the problem and before the National Academy of Sciences in June 2011. Mr. Kane regularly provides comments, testimony and data to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Mr. Kane is a frequent source for and commentator to the broadcast and print media on product safety matters and the editor of The Safety Record, a publication and blog on motor vehicle and product safety. He serves on the advisory and editorial boards for SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., a national non-profit organization, dedicated to child passenger safety. He is also the co-chairman of the Centers for Disease Control / Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health sponsored multi-disciplinary injury prevention network, Mass PINN, which gives public health and safety professionals around the Commonwealth the opportunity to share information and data, forge partnerships, and advocate for public health and safety initiatives at the state and federal level. Mr. Kane founded and is on the board of The Safety Institute, an organization that examines areas of injury prevention and product safety across a broad spectrum and serves on the board of Safe Kids Massachusetts, part of the Safe Kids USA nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury. Mr. Kane is member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and International Motor Press Association.
Ann Boudreau has worked with Sean Kane since 2001, handling a wide variety of tasks from administration to research. She is adept at government document searches, including crash tests and investigations and manages SRS’s extensive archives.
Lisa Burtan provides administrative and data management for our many database systems. In addition, she maintains our digital and paper libraries. Ms. Burtan is responsible for putting SRS’s work product in final form, ensuring that our research projects reach our clients in easily accessible formats. A bookkeeper and administrative assistant with more than a decade of office-management experience, Ms. Burtan joined SRS, after taking time off to raise her two children. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Rhode Island College.
Felix Click is a research librarian with extensive experience reviewing and analyzing government data and has a particular interest in developing ways to use those data to better understand the scope and character of safety issues. He brings to SRS a belief in the power of facts and data, an enthusiasm for technology, and a passion for meaningfully fusing the two. Prior to joining SRS in 2006, Mr. Click worked as a research assistant in several academic and specialized research settings, meeting project-driven demands and honing his ability to learn new skills on short deadlines. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Roanoke College, a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and completed two years of post-graduate study of sociology with an emphasis on secondary data analysis at Ohio State University.
Tony Di Viesti has nearly 20 years of experience investigating motor vehicle and consumer product hazards ranging from airbag non-deployments to exploding cigarette lighters. His strengths include vehicle and product inspection and defect identification involving motor vehicle crashworthiness and post-crash fires, as well as a wide range of consumer product and machine cases involving bicycles, snowmobiles and ATV’s. Mr. Di Viesti also specializes in legal and technical document review and researching corporate structures. Centrally located in the Chicago area, Mr. Di Viesti has inspected and documented hundreds of crash-involved vehicles and crash scenes.
Mr. Di Viesti holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University. During his eight years of designing and manufacturing in the computer industry, he was granted six U.S. patents on computer connector designs. In addition, Mr. Di Viesti was awarded a patent for fuel system cut-off design. Mr. Di Viesti attended John Marshall Law School and is an attorney licensed in Illinois. He is a member of Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Mr. Di Viesti is also an arbitration specialist for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
Melanie MacDonald is an expert in legal strategies, research and consumer awareness campaigns as well as government agency policy and practices. She began her career in the Washington, D.C. area in 1990 as a researcher for prominent motor vehicle safety advocate Benjamin Kelley while enrolled in the Legal Studies program at the University of Maryland. Ms. MacDonald also worked for the Institute for Injury Reduction, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths caused by defective consumer, industrial, and motor vehicle products. In the late 1990s, Ms. MacDonald used her skills as a paralegal at a Florida litigation practice where she was responsible for drafting a wide array of legal documents, managed discovery databases, performed document discovery reviews and analysis, served as client and counsel liaison, researched legal issues, and led complex investigations. During her tenure in Florida, she supported Multi District Litigation leaderships with an emphasis on deposition/trial exhibits and document preparation. Following the birth of her first child in 2003, Ms. MacDonald returned to the Washington, D.C. area and joined Safety Research & Strategies.
Sharon Mitchell is a certified litigation paralegal who specializes in tire failure cases. She is well-versed in tire construction, manufacturing processes and failure mechanisms, enabling her to help our clients navigate the details of their cases. Ms. Mitchell is also seasoned in discovery in vehicle and product cases. Detailed-oriented and organized, Ms. Mitchell helps our litigation clients understand the significance of the research we provide and how to use it in their cases effectively. She joined SRS in 2008, with more than twenty years experience in the legal arena, including a stint as the in-house paralegal for the general aviation manufacturer, Piper Aircraft. Based in Florida, Ms. Mitchell is active in her local paralegal organization and stays abreast of civil litigation issues.
Ellen Liberman is a researcher and writer with 28 years of experience gathering and organizing information. Ms. Liberman’s specialties include authoring regulatory histories, congressional testimony, web content and white papers on safety issues from rollover occupant protection to the hazards of metal-on-metal hip replacements. She holds a Master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a B.A. degree from Johns Hopkins University and a M.A. in Instructional Design from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has worked in newspaper, magazine, radio and television journalism. Her print work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Providence Journal, The Baltimore Sun, Mother Jones, Yankee, and Child magazine, among other publications, and has won local and regional awards. In addition to her work for SRS, she writes a politics and policy column for Rhode Island Monthly magazine.
Sue Longacre has worked in consumer safety in Washington, D.C. since the late 1970s. Over 35 years, she has developed an extensive network of safety advocates and current and former government employees, as well as an insider’s view of the innerworkings of government agencies. Ms. Longacre has worked on safety issues regarding hazardous materials handling and aviation, pipeline, drugs, medical devices, marine and industrial defects.
After a brief stint at The White House under the direction of Consumer Affairs Director Esther Peterson, Ms. Longacre joined the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as a communications liaison. For five years, Ms. Longacre was the Director of Research for an expert witness company specializing in safety across a wide spectrum of fields – motor vehicle, consumer product, medical and environmental. In 1983, she started her own safety research consulting business.
Ms. Longacre joined SRS as a consultant in 2010, where her ability to access information from the CPSC and other government agencies and her contacts in the government and private industry has proven invaluable. After 27 years of working with expert witnesses and attorneys nationwide, Ms. Longacre added her extensive research archive to the SRS library collection. Based in Annapolis, she is the author of The Product Safety Handbook: the Manufactures Guide to Legal Requirements and Management Strategies published by the Government Institute in 2001.
Lauren Plews brings to SRS her experience working in the medical research field. Ms. Plews worked at the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. In addition, she worked for CATIE, Canada’s primary non-profit organization dedicated to producing and disseminating HIV and Hepatitis C information. Ms. Plews assisted CATIE staffers with scholarly research on everything from anti-viral drugs to the epidemiology of the diseases. Besides boosting the depth of our research capabilities, Ms. Plews is passionate about locating information that our clients can use effectively and efficiently. She received her Bachelors of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and a Masters in information science from the University of Michigan.
Brad Pugh is a research analyst who specializes in locating and retrieving documents from government agencies. Mr. Pugh, based in Arlington, Virginia, has more than ten years of experience tracking down hard-to-locate documents and archival materials from the many Washington, DC area government repositories.
Salena Zellers is a biomechanical engineer with extensive experience evaluating injuries related to consumer products with an emphasis on the evaluation of medical products and injury prevention in the automobile crash environment. Her specialties include research and analysis of injury tolerance and injury prevention, evaluating federal requirements, and developing marketing strategies and funding opportunities for new products. Ms. Zellers, a consultant with SRS, analyzes biomedical products from the research phase through to their real-world performance, including potential or alleged product defects, product design and premarket research/clinical studies, FDA approval, adverse reports, recalls, and the management of product failures in the face of ligitation.
Ms. Zellers received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University and her Master of Science Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As an adjunct faculty member of the Biomedical Engineering Department and a Senior Scientist at the CDC’s Injury Control and Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ms. Zellers lectured on the biomechanics of injury, total joint replacement, and vehicle safety issues. She also developed and implemented research projects that included mechanical and experimental testing, analysis of injury/accident databases, and evaluation of case studies to examine product effectiveness and injury reduction. Ms. Zellers worked closely with UAB’s Injury Control Research Center (ICRC) and the Southern Consortium for Injury Biomechanics (SCIB) as an Editor of the recently published textbook Pediatric Injury Biomechanics, which documents the current state of the art in pediatric injury biomechanics focusing on injury prevention in the automobile crash environment.
Safety Research & Strategies also works with contract partners with a range of engineering and research backgrounds.