He currently works in the optoelectronics, solar energy and energy policy fields. He is owner of a consulting firm in these areas and has been instrumental in bringing to market several key educational and environmental products. His professional goal is to develop, implement and analyze products that utilize advanced materials and provide a higher environmental quality to their users and to society.

From 1985 to 1990, Dr. Smestad was employed by the Hewlett-Packard Company, first as a Materials and Process Engineer, and later as an LED Optics Design Engineer. There, he proposed, developed, and implemented novel LED optics that are now used extensively in automotive and energy efficiency applications. From 1990 to 1992, he created and managed the optics and semiconductor characterization lab at the Hahn-Meitner Institute Solar Energy group in Berlin, Germany, and conducted research on novel solar cells.

In 1992, he became part of the Solar Chemistry group of the Energy and Process Technology department at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland. In 1994, he was employed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as an electrochemist and researcher on the topic of thin film electrochromic (switchable) energy efficient windows.