Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

President-elect - Election 2013


The SWAFS Board of Directors are elected annually and serve for the following terms:

Board of Directors (2 years)
Treasurer (2 years)
Secretary (2 years)
President-elect (1)
President (1)
Chairperson of the Board (1)

Persons elected as President-Elect, in essence serve a three year term because they automatically transition from President-Elect to President, and then from President to Chairperson of the Board.

SWAFS committees are appointed annually by the President.

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BOD Photo
Brandon Conrad [Elected]
Regional Laboratory Manager

Texas Department of Public Safety

Hello! My name is Brandon Conrad and I am honored to have been nominated for the office of President-Elect of this prestigious organization.

Currently, I am the Regional Laboratory Manager of the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory located in Amarillo. Prior to arriving in management I was assigned to the controlled substance section as a Forensic Scientist. I have had the opportunity to not only perform casework but to also train new employees in the art of drug chemistry. I have also given lectures to law enforcement organizations on the production and dismantling of clandestine methamphetamine operations. I have been selected to serve on the controlled substance advisory board and I have served as chairman of the laboratory’s safety board.

I have been a member of SWAFS since 2003 and I have attended nine of the last 10 training conferences. I have volunteered to serve on the SWAFS Website Committee and more recently I had the honor of serving as President and as the Chairman for the Board of Directors.

One of the reasons I am a member of SWAFS is the networking that is obtain from our training conferences. City, county, state, and federal laboratories from California to the Bahamas attend, allowing the analyst or manager to expand their knowledge beyond the office/bench. Our organization has always had many exceptional instructors covering the vast disciplines of the forensic community. It will be the focus of my tenure as President to ensure the training conferences continue to maintain this high caliber of instruction for our members and guests. As President I look forward to representing the organization in a professional and dignified manor as the predecessors of the office have done in the past. I hope to see everyone in Santa Fe!

BOD Photo
Jay Hopenwasser 
Senior Forensic Chemist

Drug Enforcement Administration’s South Central Laboratory

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Afterward, I earned my Masters of Science degree in Forensic Science from Sam Houston State University in 2003.

I began my forensic career as an Assistant Toxicologist at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office for a year. My duties included, but were not limited to, instrument maintenance and analyzing biological matrices for the presence or absence of drugs. Soon after, I moved to New York City and worked two years as a criminalist in the controlled substance section of the New York City Police Crime Laboratory. My primary responsibilities included analyzing evidence for the presence or absence of controlled substances, instrument maintenance, and providing expert testimony in local court. I also served as a member of the safety committee for the NYPD laboratory.

Since 2006, I have been employed by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s South Central Laboratory. I currently serve as a Senior Forensic Chemist. My primary responsibilities include analyzing evidence for the presence or absence of controlled substances, providing field support for clandestine laboratory investigations, providing field support for trace evidence collection and analysis, and providing expert testimony in court. Furthermore, I am a Level A certified chemist for the investigation of level A clandestine laboratories (i.e. LSD and PCP). I currently serve on our Quality Assurance committee, Instrument Committee, and Forensic Chemist Technical Advisory Committee. I routinely conduct training to students, law officers, and fellow forensic scientists.

My experience with SWAFS started as a college student providing a poster presentation at the 2002 SWAFS meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. Since then, I have attended several SWAFS annual meetings and have been a Regular Member since 2008. I served as the Vendor committee chair for the 2010 SWAFS annual conference in Grapevine, TX. I was responsible for organizing the vendor day, communicating with the vendors, delegating responsibilities to committee members, and handling of vendor related finances. I currently serve on the SWAFS vendor advisory committee for our annual meetings.

I am humbled by my nomination for president-elect of SWAFS. As president-elect, I would try to encourage the growth of SWAFS, while maintaining our core principles. I believe our commitment to ethics and our love of our careers is what defines us as forensic scientists. SWAFS allows us an opportunity to network with one another so we can grow as a community. I hope to explore all our opportunities to grow as a community so SWAFS can continue to progress and evolve as a forensic organization.