Speakers 2020

 
Confirmed speakers for 2020 conference:

Jordan Solomon

Jordan has been President and CEO of Ecostrat for over 20 years where he oversees the Biomass Advisory Group and the Biomass Supply Group. He has overseen the supply of more than 5MM tons of biomass feedstock to projects around North America. As head of Ecostrat Advisory, Jordan has led supply chain de-risking teams for JP Morgan, Shell, Enviva, NREL, DTE Energy, Macquarie Bank, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Southern Company, Rentech, Noresco, EDF, Sweetwater, Solvay, McKinstry, LaFarge, PGE, Eastman, Coca-Cola, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and the Canadian government. He is presently the leading partner with US National Laboratory INL in a 5 year project to develop the new US National Standards for Biomass Supply Chain Risk for the US Department of Energy.

President and CEO, ECOSTRAT Inc.

John May

John is a career project finance investment banker who specializes in all forms of debt (taxable, tax-exempt, government guaranteed) and project finance. He has financed a significant number of projects and companies in his 25-year banking career. He is credited with having pioneered the use of bonds as a form of project finance debt in the renewables market. In the past 10 years, he has become one of the top renewable energy bankers in the country, having developed a national practice in renewable energy finance focusing on biofuels, biomass, biochemical and bioproducts. Prior to joining HamiltonClark, he was Founder and Co-Head of Stern Brothers & Co (investment bank) Renewable Energy practice; and Vice President, and Director in Public Finance with Edward D. Jones & Co. both in St. Louis. Prior to his investment banking career, John practiced law at two national firms.

Managing Director, HamiltonClark

Steve Csonka

Steve Csonka is the Executive Director of CAAFI (the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, www.caafi.org) an industry partnership fostering the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).  CAAFI engages in public-private-partnerships designed to assist in bringing together the group of participants needed to stand up an entirely new industrial sector. Steve is a commercial aviation professional with 34 years of broad, strategic airline and aviation OEM experience. For the last decade, he has been a strong industry advocate who has developed pragmatic solutions to the challenges of aviation growth. Steve became CAAFI’s Executive Director in 2012. He continues to serve in leadership, steering committee, consultancy, and BOD roles with multiple aviation industry organizations in areas of applying technology and business concepts to enable the commercial progression of SAF. 

Executive Director of CAAFI (the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

Alex Menotti

As Federal Affairs Manager for NESTE US Inc., Alex is responsible for regulatory and policy issues relating to renewable jet fuel, renewable diesel, and other Neste products. Alex is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization's Fuels Task Group, which developed the framework for including Sustainable Aviation Fuels in CORSIA.  Prior to joining Neste, Alex was the Director of Environmental Affairs at Airlines for America, and was an environmental attorney in private practice.      

U.S. Federal Affairs Manager, Neste

Fred Ghatala

Fred is the Director for Carbon and Sustainability of Advanced Biofuels Canada (ABFC), a national industry association established to promote the production and use of advanced biofuels in Canada. Fred leads ABFC’s work to establish biofuel carbon value, lifecycle analyses in regulations, and sector engagement in sustainability initiatives. Fred has 14 + years experience in the Canadian renewable fuels sector, and is a partner in Waterfall Group.

Director, Carbon and Sustainability, Advanced Biofuels Canada

Brentan Alexander

New Energy Risk is a leading provider of performance risk solutions for breakthrough energy technologies and a pioneer in the development of large-scale technology performance insurance. A serial entrepreneur, academic, and researcher, Brentan combines expertise in electrochemistry and finance to advance clean technology deployment. Brentan holds degrees from Stanford and MIT and has consulted for clients including Shell, Microsoft, BP, and General Motors.

Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Science Officer, New Energy Risk

Mary Solecki

Mary has spent over a decade working with clean energy companies on transportation and climate issues across the Pacific Coast. She has successfully led major campaign efforts to establish carbon programs and refine regulatory measures through strategic business engagement. Her work bridges the gap between the public and private sectors, with a focus on energy, transportation, and water. Solecki’s work has resulted in successful legislative campaigns, business-friendly amendments to public policies, and more robust climate programs.  She has served on California’s Low Carbon Advisory Panel, working closely with members of the California Air Resources Board and staff. Prior to joining AJW, Solecki spent eight years with Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a partner of Natural Resources Defense Council. She has worked in-depth on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and carbon programs in both California and Oregon.

Partner, AJW

Brian Foody

Brian joined Iogen in 1982 and became the company’s CEO in 1986. He has been responsible for the formation and operation of the company’s strategic alliances and overseen Iogen’s technology development and positioning. Under his leadership, Iogen became a world leader in cellulosic ethanol, and built a successful business manufacturing industrial enzymes. Brian holds Bachelors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all received in 1980.

President and CEO, Iogen Corporation

Debbie Reed

ESMC is a member-based organization launching a national scale ecosystem services market for agriculture to recognize and reward farmers and ranchers for their environmental services to society. ESMC members represent the spectrum of the agricultural sector supply chain. Debbie previously led the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a national multi-stakeholder coalition, supporting the development of tools to improve quantification of GHG from agriculture. She previously worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Agricultural Policy; and in the U.S. Senate as Senior Staff on natural resource and agricultural issues for U.S. Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska. While at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she was special assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, and special assistant to the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service. She has graduate and undergraduate degrees in human nutrition/dietetics, chemistry, and communications.

Executive Director, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC)

Michelle Passero

Michelle is currently leading The Nature Conservancy’s climate policy efforts to ensure successful implementation of California’s landmark climate policies, with a focus on the intersection of climate change, conservation and land use. She has led and advised processes to develop greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting standards for California’s natural and working lands, as well as GHG project standards published by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Michelle served as a Business Development Executive in Forest and Land Use for EcoSecurities; Director of Policy Initiatives for the Pacific Forest Trust; and environmental law attorney for The Natural Heritage Institute and Heller, Ehrman, White and McCauliffe. She holds an LL.M. in Sustainable International Development from the University of Washington, a J.D. from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont. 

Climate Change Program Director, The Nature Conservancy, California

David Golden

David’s areas of interest include ESG, synthetic biology, economic development, strategy, and STEM education. David is also a co-founder of ReOrigin, a science-based firm that provides climate insight to companies, cities, and professional service firms. David recently retired as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal & Sustainability Officer, and Corporate Secretary of Eastman Chemical Company--a multinational, materials innovation company headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee. While at Eastman, Golden had overall responsibility for Legal, Corporate HSES, Product Safety & Regulatory Affairs, Sustainability, ESG, Government Relations, Communication, Community Affairs, Public Policy, Privacy, Global Business Conduct, and International Trade Compliance functions, with personnel in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. David holds a Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Order of the Coif and served on the management committee of the BYU Law Review. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School having completed Harvard’s Advanced Management Program in 2012.

Allen and Ruth Harris Chair of Excellence, East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology; Immediate Past Chief Legal & Sustainability Officer, Eastman Chemical Company

Derek Griffin

Derek is a Chemical Engineer working in the GreenTech solutions group of Munich RE, which offers innovative technology risk-transfer solutions for industrial clients in the bio-circular economy space. A key benefit of the insurance is the transfer of technology performance risk from project investors & lenders to the insurer to enable and improve project financing. The GreenTech focus on the circular economy is aligned with Munich RE’s global decarbonization strategy by providing unique insurance solutions for companies with bioenergy, waste to energy, carbon recycling, and other green technologies. Derek previously worked for LanzaTech as a Technology Manager focused on scale-up and commercialization of a novel gas fermentation technology.

Risk Management Consultant, Corporate Insurance Partner, Munich RE

Mark J. Riedy

Mark heads Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s Energy, Project Finance & Clean Technologies Practice of more than 80 attorneys. For more than 42 years, he has focused his practice on complex project development and finance, private placement, M&A, investment fund structuring and related investments, and regulatory and legislative compliance representation in more than 60 countries for renewable and conventional energy and chemicals, clean energy technology, energy storage, data center, environmental and infrastructure clients. His clients represent developers, bondholders, lenders, EPCs, O&Ms, equipment providers, private equity, venture capital and infrastructure funds. Mark is Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Project Finance and Program Committees in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Section. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum laude from the University of Michigan. Mr. Riedy also is one of five founders and longstanding General Counsel of the American Council On Renewable Energy.

Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Sue Yang

As part of the investment team at Orion Energy Partners, Sue evaluates numerous opportunities across renewable fuels as well as cleantech, alternative energy, conventional energy infrastructure and related sectors. Orion Energy Partners is a credit-oriented private capital partner founded in 2015 with over $2.0 billion in assets under management that provides highly flexible and customized debt to middle market companies and projects across the broadly defined energy landscape. In June 2020, Orion Energy entered into a $365 million capital partnership in Bakersfield Renewable Fuels for the retooling of an existing refinery into a renewable diesel bio-refinery.  Prior to joining Orion in 2017, Sue was at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets where she was involved in the firm’s power, midstream, and transportation investment activities. Sue began her career with McKinsey & Company’s Middle East Office, where she worked on engagements across infrastructure, real estate, industrials, banking, and private equity.

Vice President Orion Energy Partners

Allison Larr

Allison is a Vice President in Citi’s Project Finance / P3 investment banking group within the Municipal Securities Division. In her current role she provides day-to-day, analytical, and quantitative support to clients developing industrial and infrastructure projects across the US. Recent private activity bond experience for corporate borrowers includes CalPlant I LLC, Arch Resources, AMG Vanadium, Waste Pro, Natgasoline, and Iowa Fertilizer Company Project, among others. Allison has a Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health Policy from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University.

Vice President, Public Finance Department, Citi

Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May is an Officer of the Order of Canada, lawyer, writer, activist, and served as the leader of the Green Party of Canada from 2006 – 2019. She was the first Green to be elected at either the federal or provincial level in Canada, and has served as Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands since 2011. There are now 17 elected Greens across Canada (federally and provincially), including three in the federal Parliament.

Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands, Immediate Past Leader, Green Party of Canada

Mark Gainsborough

Mark stepped down as Executive Vice President of Shell New Energies business in April 2020, where the oil giant has been investing in renewables, biofuels and other low carbon technologies. Over the course of a 39 year career in the energy business Mark gained first-hand experience with most of the levers we can pull to deliver on the goals of the Paris Climate Change agreement. He continues to be a passionate advocate of the transition to a lower carbon economy, and is actively involved through board memberships, Angel Investing and advisory roles.

Immediate past Executive Vice President, Shell New Energies

Neeraj Nandurdikar

In his role as Global Director, Oil & Gas Practice, Neeraj provides strategic direction to the business area and oversees the global Oil & Gas practice including customer relations, intellectual property development, research development, and project evaluation services. Neeraj has spent the past 15 years providing strategic advice to EVP’s, VP’s, Heads of Projects, and Functional leaders of more than 30 different oil and gas operators around the world.  In his new book, Leading Complex Projects (John Wiley & Sons, April 2018), he and co-author Ed Merrow, Founder and President of Independent Project Analysis, Inc. (IPA), explore the human side of major project leadership

Global Director, Oil & Gas Practice, Independent Project Analysis (IPA)

Jim Philp

Jim is a microbiologist who has worked as a policy analyst since 2011 at the OECD, specialising in industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology and biomass sustainability. He was an academic for sixteen years researching environmental and industrial biotechnology: bioremediation, biosensors, wastewater science and engineering. He spent 8.5 years working for Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia as an oil biotechnologist, investigating field problems related to chemistry and microbiology, and developing biotechnology solutions for improved oil recovery and exploitation. He has authored over 300 articles. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015, and an Associate Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 2016.

Industrial Biotechnology Policy Analyst, OECD

Chris Hessler

Christopher Hessler founded the government relations firm AJW and is recognized as one of the country’s foremost experts in environmental market mechanisms and renewable fuels policy. With three decades of experience, he specializes in leveraging public policy to help clean technologies enter and thriv.e in energy and environmental markets

Managing Partner, AJW Inc.

Elin Bergman

Elin has a reputation as the “Circular economy queen of Sweden.'' She works as the circular economy expert at WWF Sweden, is one of the initiators of the Nordic Circular Hotspot, and is the Vice President and spokesperson of the Swedish circular economy network Cradlenet. At WWF she has developed a new international circular- and bio economy enterprise, The Baltic Stewardship Initiative, to enable recirculation of all nutrients in the region from the agri-food sector. Elin has previous experience as Marketing and Communications Manager at the sustainability consultancies Tricorona and Respect

Manager Corporate Partnerships, WWF/WWF Sweden

Mohammed (Mo) Memfis

As a senior at Williams College, Mohammed is studying politics and environmental studies. In 2020, he won the Udall Scholarship, a Congressionally funded honour that recognizes his leadership and commitment to environmental issues. He has advocated for and supported climate and environmental justice-related policies within the United States and abroad. He recently worked to advance carbon reduction policies and technologies while interning for a DC based national consulting firm. While at E2, a partner of Natural Resources Defense Council, he led stakeholder meetings that advanced critical policies regarding plastic pollution, recycling markets, California’s 100% clear energy program, and electric vehicle charging. Mohammed additionally leads community-based efforts to address criminal justice and voting rights issues throughout the United States.

Senior, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Stephanie Batchelor

Stephanie is an experienced government affairs professional and esteemed advocate for companies advancing the biobased economy. As VP of the Industrial and Environmental Section, Stephanie provides policy, regulatory, and strategic support and guidance to technology companies that are leaders in the production of biofuels, renewable chemicals, biobased products, and biomanufacturing processes. Stephanie specializes in sustainability, renewable chemicals, biofuels, and biobased products policy. She has also led BIO’s Industrial and Environmental state government portfolio, key climate and sustainability initiatives, and international advocacy efforts within the sector. Stephanie also serves as the team leader for below50 USA, and was a founding member of the California Air Resource Board’s low carbon fuel standard advisory panel. She is the Chair for the Women in Industrial Biotechnology group. Prior to joining BIO, Stephanie focused on EU energy and transportation policy at the European Economic and Social Committee. Stephanie holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and Politics from New York University. 

Vice President, Industrial & Environmental Section, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Dan Wicklum

Dan became the first President and CEO of The Transition Accelerator (TA) upon its founding in September 2019. The TA collaborates with targeted groups across the country to solve major business or social challenges where significant greenhouse gas reductions can be built into the solution. Prior to accepting this position, he was CEO of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance for seven years, was Executive Director of the Canadian Forest Innovation Council, and has been a senior manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada. Dan has 25 years’ experience managing research, driving innovation, and fostering collaboration in and among industry, government, academia and civil society. He has a PhD from the University of Montana, an MSc. from the University of Calgary, and a BSc. from the University of Guelph. His initial career was football, as a linebacker for the Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

President and CEO, The Transition Accelerator

Ian Thomson

Ian has been President of Advanced Biofuels Canada (ABFC), the national trade association for advanced biofuel producers and developers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors in Canada, since its inauguration in 2016. Its members have 14 billion litres of installed global capacity, and include both Canadian and global biofuel producers, and the leading next generation technology developers. ABFC, and its predecessor organization Western Canada Biodiesel, has provided over 15 years of guidance in Canadian federal and provincial fuels, carbon pricing, and climate policy. Ian currently chairs an advocacy coalition of non-fossil clean fuel trade associations and NGOs focused on an effective federal Clean Fuel Standard.

President, Advanced Biofuels Canada

Tammy Klein

Tammy Klein is a strategic adviser to global automotive and oil industry clients, as well as governments on global low carbon fuels and vehicle fuels issues and runs her own consultancy, Future Fuel Strategies. She has over 20 years’ experience on global conventional fuels, biofuels and alternative fuels and vehicles policy and market issues.

President, Future Fuel Strategies

Doug Hooper

Since 2005, Doug has helped lead the development of Canada’s advanced biofuels sector. He has worked directly on all key federal/provincial energy and climate action policies, including program support to build biofuel production capacity and expand clean fuel use in Canada. He is the Past Chair of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

Director, Policy and Regulation, Advanced Biofuels Canada

Tim Reiter

Tim has worked in the refining and chemical industry for more than 27 years, and has spent more than 15 years with Haldor Topsoe in Canada. In his years outside of Topsoe, Tim worked as a Process Engineer, Production Engineer and Subject Matter Expert in the methanol, hydrogen, hydrotreating and hydrocracking areas. Within Topsoe, Tim has worked as a Sales and Technical Service Engineer, managing customer relationships and providing technical service. He has been involved in the start-up of many process units. Today, Tim is a Senior Principal Engineer, providing support to our clients in North America.

Principal Engineer, Haldor Topsoe Canada Limited

Martin Pudlas

Prior to becoming CEO of Red Leaf Pulp, Martin was VP, Pulp and Paper Operations and Innovation at Canfor Pulp. Martin began his employment with Northwood Pulp and Timber Ltd. at the Northwood Pulp Mill in 1988 as a Process Engineer. Over the years, Mr. Pudlas held various positions of increasing responsibility within all of Canfor's Pulp and Paper operations, and was the General Manager at the three Canfor Pulp mills in Prince George, BC. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the College of New Caledonia and Premium One Papers. Martin has a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from the University of British Columbia and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

CEO, Red Leaf Pulp

Jennifer O’Donnell

BioNB is a not-for-profit organization responsible for developing New Brunswick’s bioeconomy. Jenn joined BioNB in 2013 following her work in several early-stage biotech companies. Jenn co-authored Canada’s National Bioeconomy Strategy, participates in regional and national scientific funding review committees, and serves on the board of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. As BioNB’s Executive Director, Jenn works across industries and borders to build collaborations and identify opportunities to align assets in research, business and natural resources towards driving economic development. She holds a M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Dalhousie University.

Executive Director, BioNB

Sandy Marshall

A.J. (Sandy) Marshall, Executive Director, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC). Raised on a farm in Ontario, Canada, Sandy graduated from the University of Waterloo in Chemical Engineering. He began his career in 1984 with Polysar Inc., a Canadian rubber manufacturer. He worked in process and product development, and research and market development including time in Germany. In 2005 he became Site Manager for LANXESS ABS manufacturing facility in Cincinnati Ohio. He returned to Canada in 2008 to be President and Managing Director and was responsible for all aspects of LANXESS Canadian operations, providing leadership and overall direction leading the organization to the forefront of the Chemical and Rubber industries. He became Executive Director of BIC in 2016.

Chair, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada

Jean Hamel

Jean has more than 30 years R&D experience in the forest products industry. As Vice President at FPInnovations since 2009, Jean has been leading an innovation program in bio-sourced chemicals and biomaterials and their applications, as well as supporting the operational excellence of the forest products industry. Under his management, four large demonstration plants were brought to pre-commercialisation to produce lignin, nano cellulose, cellulose filament, and cellulosic sugars. Jean is now leading industry relations and partnerships and managing intellectual property rights.

Vice-President, Industry and Partnerships, FPInnovations

Andrew Casey

Andrew became President and CEO of BIOTECanada in August, 2012. He is responsible for the strategic operations of the Association, and is the lead spokesperson for Canada's biotechnology industry - communicating on the industry's behalf with government, regulators, international bodies, media and the Canadian public. He serves as Director, BIOTECanada; Chair, International Council of Biotechnology Associations (ICBA); Director, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, Commercialization of Research (IRICoR); and Director, Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC). Prior to joining BIOTECanada, Andrew served from 2004-2012 as Vice President, Public Affairs and International Trade with the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). From 1993-2004 he was the Assistant Vice-President, Government Relations with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Between 1989 and 1993 Andrew worked on Parliament Hill as a political advisor in the office of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

President and CEO, BIOTECanada

Don Roberts

Don Roberts is President & CEO of Nawitka Capital Advisors Ltd, an investment banking and advisory boutique focusing on the global clean energy and forest products industries.  (http://www.nawitka.com).  Prior to starting Nawitka in 2013, Mr. Roberts was a Vice-Chair of Wholesale Banking, and Managing Director in Investment Banking with CIBC World Markets Inc. In this position, he founded and led the Bank's cross-functional Renewable Energy & Clean Technology Team. He also provided senior coverage for companies in the global forest products industry.

President & CEO, Nawitka Capital Advisors Ltd.

Jeff Passmore

Jeff has worked in the renewable energy, renewable chemicals, and bio-economy sectors for 40 years. His expertise includes strategic investor relations, project capital attraction, site location assessment, and corporate communications. In 2010, he launched the management consultancy Passmore Group Inc. In November, 2016 he created Canada’s inaugural Bioeconomy Conference “Scaling Up” focussing on the commercialization challenges faced by biochemical, bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts technology providers. He has served on the CleanTech Advisory Board of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and on Canada’s National Advisory Board on Energy Science & Technology. He is the Past Chair of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, Past Chair of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Past Chair of the Solar Energy Society of Canada, Past Vice-Chair of the Independent Power Producers’ Society of Ontario, and Past President of the Ottawa Chapter of the International Association for Energy Economics.

CEO, Passmore Group Inc., Chair, Scaling Up 2018

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