Director Kurt Mandl was the commander of the terraforming station Velara Base on the planet Velara III. He was assigned, with three other terraformers, to this station by Terraform Command in 2360. He held advanced degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence.
Unknown to them, the planet was not lifeless and their terraforming was actually killing the silicon-based lifeforms that inhabited a thin layer of water between two layers of soil. In 2364, the Federation asked the USS Enterprise-D to visit the terraformers after their communications became erratic. During the visit, one of the terraformers was killed by a sabotaged laser drill. In their investigation of the death, Data and Geordi La Forge discovered the microscopic lifeforms and learned that they were attempting to communicate. After gaining understanding of the consequences of their actions, steps were taken to avoid further harm to the native lifeforms. The planet was placed under indefinite quarantine and the terraformers were transported to starbase aboard the Enterprise. (TNG: "Home Soil")