Our Team

Joel P. Michel is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gladding & Michel, Inc., a Board Member of the World Association of Detectives, and a Director of Liberty Bank. Mr. Michel specializes in the investigation of complex cases involving automotive, aviation and consumer products liability, insurance fraud, patent and trademark infringement, anti-trust litigation, construction defect litigation, premises liability, and employment litigation involving sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. Under his management, Gladding & Michel has provided a wide range of services to the insurance industry, and corporate community. Mr. Michel has investigated hundreds of high profile products liability cases for a variety of automotive product manufacturers. Prior to founding the firm in 1968, Mr. Michel worked as a special investigator and later as a multi-line adjuster for insurance companies. Through his involvement with the World Association of Detectives, Mr. Michel has engaged the firm in a number of international investigations in Latin America, the Pacific Rim, Europe, and the Middle East. He also serves as a Board Member of Liberty Bank.

Robert D. Hastings is President and Partner of Gladding & Michel, Inc. Mr. Hastings came to Gladding & Michel from his position as Special Investigator for United Airlines in Chicago, Illinois, where he conducted and supervised commercial and employment-related investigations. In his 30+ years with the firm, he has provided investigation and litigation support of high-profile automobile products liability cases for major foreign and domestic automakers. He also specializes in airbag investigation, computer download data retrieval, and insurance investigation. Mr. Hastings is a graduate of Southern Illinois University.

Steve Casteel is Vice President and Managing Partner at Gladding & Michel, Inc. With a background in accounting, finance and theoretical computer science, Mr. Casteel joined Gladding & Michel in 2009. Mr. Casteel has extensive experience in product liability, civil and criminal investigations, insurance fraud, employment litigation, workers comp claims and hardware and data recovery. He began his professional career on Wall Street in finance and investments, transitioning into accounting and later computer science. Mr. Casteel obtained Bachelor of Business Administration Degrees in Economics and Accounting and later studied theoretical computer science. His professional experience includes emphasis on financial asset searches with strong financial audit and compliance background in high-end cases for financial institutions, corporate and insurance companies. His expertise investigative skills are highlighted by his success in locating, establishing contact and completing interviews with private persons living under the radar of social media and communication accounts, including anonymous pay-as-you-go mobile and burner phones.

Travis Hastings is an Investigator with Gladding & Michel, Inc. Mr. Hastings specializes in the investigation of automotive product liability claims. Mr. Hastings has been very successful obtaining information from responding personnel and other witnesses. Mr. Hastings also specializes in photography of collision scenes and involved vehicles, witness locates, collection of DMV and Court records, and social networking, print and TV media research. Mr. Hastings has received training in air bag data retrieval on General Motors Vehicles.

Emily Cochran is a senior investigator with Gladding & Michel, Inc. For the last nine years, Ms. Cochran has been providing investigative and litigation support services for a variety of complex civil litigation matters including high-profile automobile products liability cases for major foreign and domestic automakers. Ms. Cochran specializes in performing complex background investigations including locating and obtaining official records from local, State and Federal agencies throughout the country. Ms. Cochran has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is particularly adept at obtaining information from social networking communities.

Joe Hochman is Vice President of International Operations. Mr. Hochman specializes in the investigation of complex and high-profile cases for Banks, Financial Institutions, and Corporate and Insurance clients involving fraud, counterfeiting, financial asset searches, and Merger/Acquisition matters. He is involved with international trade and the transfer of manufacturing technology, the protection of copyright, patent trademark and other proprietary rights matters. Mr. Hochman served with the Israel Defense Forces and attended the Pitman Business School. He formerly worked with Argus Investigations in Israel. Mr. Hochman has performed special investigations throughout the world on a sub-contractor basis with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Mr. Hochman is a life member, former Director and Area Governor of the World Association of Detectives and a member of the Association of British Investigators. Mr. Hochman is a member of our International Contact Team with respect to counterespionage for clients who are the object of corporate espionage, whether from internal domestic or foreign sources. And, Mr. Hochman offers his expertise in defense of firms whose products are being illegally sold and distributed worldwide. Mr. Hochman is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and French.

Jim Delbridge is a senior investigator with Gladding & Michel, Inc. Mr. Delbridge has more than 30 years investigative experience working as a CA Highway Patrol officer, an insurance adjustor and as a product liability investigator for General Motors. In addition to investigating thousands of auto collision cases, Mr. Delbridge has considerable experience investigating ATV product liability claims.