LFCC Professor Roy Hoffer is as comfortable in the courtroom as he is in the classroom.
The assistant professor of electrical engineering and electronics is a certified fire and explosion investigator, certified vehicle fire investigator, as well as an expert witness and former private investigator.
Over the course of about the last 20 years, he has been called to testify in a dozen state and federal court cases, both civil and criminal.
Hoffer came to LFCC two years ago to create an electrical engineering and electronics program at the Fauquier Campus, as well as expand mechanical engineering courses to that campus.
Before teaching, he worked in the engineering industry as a licensed professional engineer – which he still is – designing new products, primarily in the energy efficiency field.
“I have 29 patents that I know of,” he says. “Most of them are involved with energy savings devices. The most earth-shattering would be a whole series of patents allowing you to take an existing residential or commercial heat pump and run it on a variable basis, rather than having to cycle it on and off.”
In 2011, he was named Engineer of the Year by the Central Pennsylvania Engineers Week Council.
Hoffer’s experience in forensic engineering has taught him that a lack of knowledge about electricity has led to people being falsely accused of arson. He has been called to investigate alleged arson cases.
“I discovered that I am very good at observing fire patterns, finding evidence that other people don’t see,” Hoffer says. “I apprenticed under a good fire investigator and learned a great deal in the field.”
Mechanical engineering, which can lead to careers in the power distribution and generation field, remains the most popular engineering course at LFCC, but students can go into electrical, civil, or environmental, too. Many transfer to Virginia Tech, according to Hoffer.
Hoffer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Millersville University and a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, teaches engineering and math classes at both the Fauquier and Middletown campuses. This semester, there are a little more than 40 engineering students between the two LFCC sites.
Virginia Tech industrial and systems engineering student Andrew Lambdin had Hoffer for four semesters while attending LFCC.
“I always enjoyed his classes,” he says. “We both sort of began at LFCC at the same time, so that was cool.”
Lambdin’s LFCC classmate Adam Lulis is studying aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech. He, too, really enjoyed Hoffer’s tutelage.
“He’s had real life experience, having worked as an engineer, and he brought that experience into the classroom,” Lulis says.