Speakers 2021

Jordan Solomon


President and CEO, ECOSTRAT Inc.

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.

Wal van Lierop


Executive Chairman & Founding Partner, Chrysalix Venture Capital

Wal is an award-winning business leader and visionary in innovation, sustainability and cleantech, with unique industry insights gained through deep operational experience as a venture capitalist, corporate executive, international consultant and university professor. Wal founded Chrysalix Venture Capital, one of the earliest and most recognised private equity firms focused on industrial innovation, where he has helped raise more than $250M and participated in more than $1B in venture capital funding. He has sourced, invested in and advised numerous startups, assisting them in building breakthrough solutions for the new world economy while working hand-in-hand with large multinational companies on their innovation strategies.

Kyla Morrisseau


Advisory Council Member – ICE (Indigenous Clean Energy) 
Consultation Coordinator/Climate Change Specialist & 20/20 Catalyst 2018 Cohort

As the first point of entry for all industry undertakings, Kyla’s main priority is protecting the rights and interests of Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, along with teaching her community how to adapt in a changing climate. She sees true value in the use of green/clean energy in order to fight Climate Change and lower carbon emissions for upcoming generations. Kyla also works closely alongside the Community Planner and Development Manager researching best practices as they push forward into construction. She has been exploring clean energy initiatives to help her community achieve its vision of a Green Community, and has a profound passion for environmental preservation and protection. Kyla believes if humanity works together to understand and carry out these clean energy initiatives our world will still be here seven generations from now. She is strongly involved in youth engagement, including them in the dialogue, and teaching them new ways of seeing in order to equip them with all the tools of today. Kyla is the proud mother of six Ojibway children, and co-author of The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education.

Derek Nighbor


CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)

Derek joined FPAC as CEO in March 2016.  He is proud to represent Canada’s vibrant and innovative forest products sector and the critical role it plays in over 200 Canadian forest communities. Prior to joining FPAC, Derek served for over 7 years as Senior Vice President with Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC).
Derek represents Canada’s forest products sector on two global boards, the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations (ICFPA) and Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI).

Ian McKay


CEO, Invest in Canada

As inaugural CEO of Invest in Canada, Ian is responsible for the agency’s start-up, as well as delivery of its mandate to position Canada as a premier global investment destination, while making it simpler and more attractive to build innovative and global businesses in Canada. Mr. McKay has led a distinguished career in the international financial markets in London, Tokyo and New York and as a political advisor. Most recently as CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, he accelerated the diversification of Vancouver’s economy and placed it on the global investment map. He also served as Chair of the Consider Canada City Alliance, a network of Canada’s thirteen largest economic development agencies collaborating to promote Canada as an ideal destination for global trade and investment. He served as Special Envoy, assisting with negotiations that resulted in the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in March 2018. Fluent in Japanese, Mr. McKay studied Political Science and Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia and holds a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University.

Sarah Van Exan

Sarah Van Exan.jpg

Executive Director, GreenPAC

Sarah has worked with or for all levels of government, managing environment, governance, and justice files. As Managing Director of Green Economy Canada, she led the expansion of a non-profit network dedicated to supporting business sustainability. Sarah first joined GreenPAC as part of the 100 Debates on the Environment team to make sure the environment was a top issue in the 2019 federal election. She sits on the board of a youth-focused charity in Kenya, and co-chairs a climate action group in her community.

Ziyad Rahme


Vice President, Investments,
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (STDC)

Ziyad joined SDTC in 2016.  As Vice President, Investments, Ziyad ensures that the organization is sourcing and nurturing innovative clean technology companies that have the potential to deliver strong environmental and economic benefits to Canada.  He oversees the day-to-day operation of the SDTech Fund investment process, from intake through to assessment, selection and recommendation of investments to SDTC’s Project Review Committee and Board (approximately $90-100M/year of allocated investment). Prior to joining SDTC, Ziyad spent 18 years at Iogen Corporation. As EVP Operations and Engineering, and General Manager of Iogen Energy, he successfully led the commercialization of Iogen’s cellulosic ethanol technology, and completed construction and start-up of a US$105M industrial scale facility with its partner Raízen. Ziyad holds an M.B.A., an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering.

Jamie Stephen, PhD

Jamie Steven.jpg

Managing Director, TorchLight Bioresources

Dr. Jamie Stephen is the Managing Director of TorchLight Bioresources, Canada’s leading bioenergy strategy adviser. Clients include national, provincial, and municipal governments, First Nations, utilities, airlines, large industrial emitters, and national industry associations. TorchLight has completed multiple contracts for the Government of Canada on the role of bioenergy, including its use in combination with district energy, in reaching Net Zero. Dr. Stephen holds a PhD in Forest and Bioenergy Economics and a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Mahima Sharma

FPAC_Mahima_ML627 1-crop .jpg

Director, Environment, Innovation and Mill Regulations, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)

Mahima manages industry positions on specific environmental regulatory topics at the mill-level including climate change, water, air, and chemicals, and also oversees the innovation file to help position the sector in leveraging the power of biomass to support a low-carbon economy. In addition, Mahima oversees the analysis and reporting of key sustainability performance indicators including energy, environment, and health and safety parameters for the pulp and paper and wood products sectors. Her work is instrumental in ensuring FPAC maintains its reputation for housing the latest and most relevant scientifically verified data on environmental performance. She has completed a Master of Chemical Engineering, as well as two undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. She also completed a Master of Health Administration, where she held an internship position with the senior leadership team at The Ottawa Hospital. Mahima is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Volunteer Ottawa in the National Capital Region.

Ian Thomson


President, Advanced Biofuels Canada

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.

Brian Foody


President and CEO, Iogen Corporation

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.

Chris Hessler


Managing Partner, AJW Inc.

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

Ralph Torrie


President, Torrie Smith Associates

Ralph Torrie played a central role in putting global warming on the international environmental agenda.  He conducted the first low carbon scenario analysis for Canada, pioneered the methods now used internationally for local climate change response strategies, and continues to help public and private sector clients identify and pursue the opportunities being generated by the current global energy transition.

Chris Henderson


President, Lumos Energy

Chris is Canada’s pre-eminent Clean Energy Advisor to Aboriginal communities. where he advises how to effectively secure and leverage partnership positions in clean energy projects across Canada.  Chris also guides utilities, financial firms, corporations and governments on engaging and partnering with Aboriginal communities. His book, Aboriginal Power, was published in 2013. Chris is also Program Designer of the Indigenous Clean Energy 20/20 Catalysts Program, and Chair of the GLOBE Series of Conferences and Exhibitions. He is an honorary member of several Aboriginal communities.

Don Roberts


President & CEO, Nawitka Capital Advisors Ltd.

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.

Chad Joshi


CEO, Advonex International Corporation

Chad is a seasoned executive who specializes in building technology companies through collaboration and strategic partnerships. He has led privately-held and venture-backed companies from pre-revenue through market and product development to significant revenues.  Dr. Joshi is responsible for overall corporate strategy.  He negotiated and leveraged strategic investments from lubricant and feedstock suppliers to launch Advonex and build the company into an award-winning innovator in bio-based chemicals with ingredients that exceed the performance characteristics of their petroleum-based counterparts. Previously, he served in operating positions with Owl Power Co. and Resolute Marine Energy, and founded Energen, a motion control solutions company which sold its image stabilization technology to Panavision Federal Systems. Chad holds a Sc.D. from MIT, and has over 60 patents and peer-reviewed publications.

Sandy Ferguson


Principal, SF Consulting

Sandy heads up SF Consulting, an independent forest and bioeconomy advisory company.  Throughout her career she has worked in senior business development and strategic roles with private, not-for-profit, and government organizations. She most recently served as VP Corporate Affairs at Conifex Timber Inc. a Canadian forest products and biomass power producer, and the Director of Marketing at the BC Bioenergy Network. She is a board member of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference. 

Susan Rohac

Susan Rohac.jpg

Vice President, Growth & Transition Capital, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Susan Rohac has twenty five years’ experience in the financial services, banking and venture capital sectors. She provides support and guidance to teams dedicated to client success in the Ontario and Atlantic regions, in addition to leading projects with a national scope. An involved leader, she strives to ensure that BDC provides not only financing but genuine value in terms of insight, counsel and ongoing business guidance. In 2014, Susan was appointed Acting Senior Vice President, Financing and Consulting for Ontario overseeing BDC’s lending and consulting activities in the province. Susan sits on the Board of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Most recently, Susan is also a member of an interdepartmental Federal committee looking at how various departments and Crown Corps can best meet and coordinate the needs of Clean Tech companies and is spearheading BDC’s Clean Tech Scale Up Initiative.

Perry Toms


CEO, Steeper Energy

Perry co-founded Steeper Energy in January 2011. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s School of Business, he has held various executive management positions related to corporate and business development within the conventional and renewable energy industries. He has over 25 years senior executive experience with such companies as Noranda Gas, Murphy Oil, TransAlta, Novera Energy, Enmax, ABG Biodiesel, and Ignite Energy Resources.

Derek Griffin

Derek Griffin_edited.jpg

Risk Management Consultant, Corporate Insurance Partner, Munich RE

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.

Martin Pudlas


CEO, Red Leaf Pulp

Red Leaf Pulp is looking to establish Canada’s first non-wood pulp and bioproducts facility. Prior to joining Red Leaf, Martin was VP Operations and Innovation for Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (CFX-TSX). Martin was responsible for the production of NBSK and BCTMP Pulp, High Performance Paper and Renewable Energy. He has more than three decades of industry experience, with knowledge ranging across Silviculture, Engineering, Operations and Management, Low Carbon Fuels, Renewable Energy and Bioproducts. He has served on the boards of Premium One Paper, the College of New Caledonia, and is a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the UBC Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Martin holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in British Columbia.

Sophie Dumoulin,

Sophie Dumoulin-Mondoux-2858.jpg

Director, Cleantech, International Growth Capital, Export Development Canada

Sophie joined Export Development Canada (EDC) in 2001.  In her current role as Director of Cleantech, she oversees a team of specialized Global Accounts Directors responsible for managing a portfolio of cleantech clients of all sizes as well as developing new opportunities and relationships in the sector. Prior to this role, Sophie was Director of EDC’s bonding program responsible for providing guarantees to Financial Institutions for Canadian exporters of all sizes, for the issuance of standby instruments. That program, with a total exposure of over CAD 10 billion, served clients in all sectors. Sophie also spent years in the credit insurance product group underwriting for a multitude of sectors. Sophie has a finance degree from the University of Sherbrooke and has been a CFA chartered holder since 2003.

Interested in speaking at our conference? Let's Talk.​