Presenter Bios – NWT Biomass Week 2023

Home » Presenter Bios – NWT Biomass Week 2023

Sheena Adams

Program Coordinator, Arctic Energy Alliance

Sheena Adams is a Program Coordinator and has been with Arctic Energy Alliance for 8 years. She holds a Masters in Environmental Education and Communication and has rounded out her education with 21st Century Leadership and Advanced Sustainable Energy Management.

Jean Blair

Director of Planning and Outreach, TorchLight Bioresources

Bio coming soon.

Eric Chalker

Senior Coordinator, Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, GNWT

Eric Chalker works with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Department or Infrastructure, Energy Division and is responsible for coordinating the delivery of the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. A portion of this fund is dedicated to the Greenhouse Gas Grant Program – an application-based grant program designed to support greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction projects and initiatives within the NWT. Industrial sized biomass heating retrofits are a prime example of a project that would be eligible for this funding support.

Dave Dubois

Manager of Business Development for Fink Machine Inc.

David is the Manager of Business Development for Fink Machine Inc, Canada’s leading supplier of commercial biomass boilers. He has been in this position since 2017. He is a recognised leader in the biomass heating sector in Canada and has presented at a variety of National and International conferences. David is a regular speaker, moderator and educator on a variety of bioenergy, renewable energy and community energy topics. He has spoken at a variety of national conferences including the International District Energy Association Conference. Canadian Bioenergy Conference as well as the International Bioenergy Conference, International Biomass Conference, and Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference and numerous regional events.

Previous to that he was the Chief of Engineering and Technical Outreach Specialist for the Community Energy Association where he worked from November 2015 to April 2017. During his time with CEA he worked with local governments educating and developing policy around building energy efficient buildings, energy and emission reductions as well as a variety of renewable energy projects. Before that he worked developing a biomass heating sector in British Columbia as the project coordinator for the Wood Waste to Rural Heat project (previously the Green Heat Initiative) of Community Futures East Kootenay. During this time David completed over two dozen feasibility and prefeasibility studies on potential biomass heating projects.

David has been the lead course designer developing a 2nd year bioenergy course for Lakeland College in Vermillion Alberta. He still teaches the course. In addition, he has edited a variety of biomass heating guides and advisory documents.

Prior to work in the biomass heating sector he worked in the commercial finance industry as an auditor evaluating credit risk and collateral condition for GE Commercial Distribution Finance. He also worked doing research designing biomass filtration devices for use in the agriculture, pulp and paper, and oil and gas sector. He attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton and received a degree in Chemical Engineering. In his personal life he has been married to his wife Donna for to many years. They have three children Chris, Shea and Skylar. David was a councillor for the Village of Cache Creek in 2014-18. He is also a trying thespian having performed in 4 productions with the Winding Rivers Arts Society.

Patrick Gall

Engineering & Technology Projects Technician, Aurora Research Institute

Patrick is a research technician working out of the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik. He started at ARI in September 2017 to write a feasibility report for the diversion of waste cardboard to make fuel pellets. Since then, He has been involved with wind and solar monitoring projects, the Innovate Centre for Arts and Crafts, and the Aurora College CubeSat Team. In mid-2018, Aurora College was successful in its application to the Canadian Space Agency to be part of the Canadian CubeSat Project along with 14 other institutions across Canada. Since then, Patrick has been leading payload development for the Aurora College CubeSat Team, working together with partners at Yukon College, University of Alberta, and Natural Resources Canada to design, assemble, and integrate a 2U CubeSat.

Current Projects

  • Manufacture and Use of Cardboard Fuel Pellets in Inuvik NT: Patrick’s primary role was to complete a feasibility study on using waste cardboard as a heating source in Inuvik. This work involved a test cardboard collection program, literature review, emissions modeling, and much more. The project moved to a pilot in early 2018 and is hoping to shift to private sector operation in the coming year.
  • Natural Materials in Manufacturing Program: Patrick’s role is to assist in the development of best practices and safety procedures for the application of computer controlled manufacturing techniques to natural materials such as antler and hide.
  • Wind Lidar Based Resource Assessment Program: Patrick’s role is to aid in the coordination of wind and solar resource assessment campaigns currently planned for Wekweeti, Tsiigehtchic, and Fort McPherson. Patrick maintains a fleet of three ZX300 Wind Lidars out of the Western Arctic Research Centre.
  • Principle Investigator for the AuroraSat Program: AuroraSat is being built in collaboration with the University of Alberta, Yukon University, and Aurora College. Patrick’s role has been to lead the technical development of the Northern Images Mission payload, the first satellite payload built in the territory.

Mark Heyck

Executive Director, Arctic Energy Alliance

Mark was born and raised in Yellowknife. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from McGill University in Montreal, and worked at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre as the Website and Multimedia Coordinator from 2000 to 2012.

Mark served three terms on Yellowknife City Council from 2003 to 2012, was Deputy Mayor from 2006 to 2012, and was elected Mayor in 2012 and re-elected in 2015. During his time on Council, Mark chaired the City’s Heritage Committee and Community Energy Planning Committee. From 2007 to 2017, Mark served as a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund Council. He was also on the Board of Directors for the NWT Association of Communities, representing Cities, Towns and Villages of the Northwest Territories. Mark joined the Arctic Energy Alliance as Executive Director in the fall of 2018.

Tim Kalke

PhD Candidate, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan

Tim is a student in the PhD Environment and Sustainability program at the University of Saskatchewan. Born and raised in Wyoming, U.S.A, Tim received an undergraduate degree in History; Secondary Education at the neighboring University of Northern Colorado and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.  After military service, he and his wife settled in Galena, Alaska, a remote Native Athabascan village located on the banks of the Yukon River in the interior region of the state. While employed as a public educator at the local Galena high school, Tim obtained a Master of Natural Resources degree with an emphasis in Sustainable Development. He now has transitioned to a career in the sustainable energy field and manages a locally owned non-profit organization, Sustainable Energy for Galena, Alaska (SEGA). Tim’s research interests are in collaborative energy planning and sustainable development with the goal of bringing a wider range of benefits to his community and region.

Jim Kapron

Technical Sales Rep, Novatech

Bio coming soon.

Michelle Leger

Community Energy Planning Coordinator, Arctic Energy Alliance

Michelle started her career after completing a Environmental Technology diploma at Canadore College and worked as an Environmental Technician in Yellowknife. She then went on to become an Electrician, working with power systems for several years. In 2020, Michelle became a Community Energy Planning Coordinator with Arctic Energy Alliance, combining her previous careers into one. Michelle is a wood chopping enthusiast and has lived with a woodstove since 2016. She enjoys playing with fire in the bush, and the pottery studio.

Dharshan Maheswaran

Energy Management Specialist, Arctic Energy Alliance

Dharshan Maheswaran is an energy management specialist with the Arctic Energy Alliance and holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He has worked on several energy efficiency projects and is looking forward to assist with the energy needs of the North.

Vikas Menghwani

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Vikas Menghwani is a postdoctoral researcher with the Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security (CASES) initiative at the University of Saskatchewan. CASES Partnership is an international research initiative involving 15 northern and Indigenous communities and public and private sector project partners from Canada, Alaska, Sweden, and Norway. He has a PhD in Resource Management and Sustainability from University of British Columbia, in which he worked on energy poverty in developing countries. His doctoral work included addressing challenging energy access problems through modeling based methods, and conceptualizing (energy) justice concerns in the context of (lack of) electricity provision. He completed his Mechanical Engineering (with a Masters degree in Energy Technology) education in 2009 from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He worked in the area of climate change consulting for 3 years, covering renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across India and South East Asia, followed by 2 years in the area of Business Research.

Felix Mercure

Environmental Policy Analyst, Northern REACHE Program, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Felix Mercure first joined Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) in 2016.  Since then, he has worked for the Northern REACHE Program as the officer responsible for leading the delivery of clean energy funding and building relationships in the Northwest Territories. Felix has spent the last 9 years in the public & private sectors working to advance clean energy policy, programs and projects in northern and remote communities. He holds a Masters of sustainable energy policy from Carleton University and a BA from the University of Ottawa. While calling Ottawa home, Felix is grateful for connections and relationships he has formed over the years in NWT.

Henry Nagtegaal

Owner, Winnipeg Chimney Service Ltd.

Henry is a WETT instructor, certified to teach all available WETT courses. He serves on the CSA and ULC committees for venting and solid fuel appliances. He has spent his career with the family chimney business and in the early 1990’s conducted seminars on venting, house pressures and code. 

While teaching WETT courses in Inuvik, NWT, Henry recognized the need for hands-on training together with classroom teaching. He has been involved with this teaching model for just over a decade in both NWT and Northern Ontario.

Henry has also conducted multiple presentations and has even been a keynote speaker on occasion, speaking on topics of wood heat safety and efficient use.

Steve Outlet

Property owner, Yellowknife

Steve Outlet worked as a boat builder, cabinet maker and carpenter over the years. When he arrived in Yellowknife, over 30 years ago, he concentrated on residential construction, primarily renovations.

In 2003, Steve began working with AEA as a part-time Energy Evaluator. This developed into a full time position managing the Energuide program.  Eventually, his expertise was put to good use in the role of Program Coordinator working closely with AEA’s Regional offices and NWT communities on specific projects. Since his retirement in 2017, Steve has planned and is building a duplex using many of the techniques he promoted while working at AEA.

Mark Peer

Manager, Facilities, GNWT Dept. of Infrastructure

Mark graduated from both UNB and Memorial University of NFLD in the late 1980’s receiving degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. He moved north to Yellowknife in 1996 and worked as a mechanical engineer with a local consulting firm. Since 2015 Mark has worked for the GNWT Department Public works later the Department of Infrastructure as one of the Senior Technical Officers – Mechanical. Currently he is now the Manager, Design & Technical Services – Facilities. Throughout his career working in the North, he has been involved in numerous biomass installations both public and private throughout the NWT including the school district system in Hay River, several Yellowknife apartment buildings and the Tatsaotı̨̀ne Building system.

Ron Schaub

General Manager, Rowes Group of Companies

Ronald Schaub helps manage a team with the Rowe’s Group of Companies. Their team has been working in biomass dating back to 2002 and continues to this day. He is a mechanic by trade and helps with the operation and development of the Rowe’s Group of Companies’ programs. 

Robert Sexton

Director of Energy, GNWT Dept. of Infrastructure; President, Arctic Energy Alliance

Robert Sexton took on the role of Director of Energy within the Department of Infrastructure in July, 2019. Robert had previously served as the Manager of Energy Policy and Programs since 2017, as the Director of Energy Policy since 2016, and as the Manager of Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs since 2015.

Prior to joining the GNWT in 2013, Robert worked in energy and climate change policy roles with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and was the Director of Energy for the Government of Nunavut. Before joining the public service, he spent four years in the biopharmaceutical industry doing research on new therapeutic drugs.

Robert is currently the President of the Board of Directors for the Arctic Energy Alliance.

Robert has a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He also has a postgraduate certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto, and has certificates in Executive and Senior Management Leadership Development, Energy Utility Regulation, and Program Evaluation.

Jamie Stephen

Managing Director, TorchLight Bioresources

Dr. Jamie Stephen is the Managing Director of TorchLight Bioresources, a decarbonization strategy and policy advisor for governments, utilities, airlines, large industrial emitters, property developers, and investment funds. Projects range from the development of energy facilities to national Net Zero strategies. He has two decades of experience in the bioenergy and carbon management industry, working at the interface of the energy, forestry, agriculture, and waste sectors. Dr. Stephen holds a PhD in Forest and Energy Economics and a Masters in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Linda Todd

Program Coordinator, Arctic Energy Alliance

Linda is a long-time northerner who has worked with a number of NWT communities on varied and interesting projects. Linda’s work with Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) began in 2009 when she was hired to facilitate Community Energy Planning with interested NWT communities. In addition to Community Energy Planning, Linda develops and manages community partnership projects such as wood stove installations and winterization.

Dan Vandal

Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

The Honourable Dan Vandal was first elected as Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface — Saint Vital in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 and 2021. In  2018, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and on November 20, 2019, he was named Minister of Northern Affairs. Following the last election, the Prime Minister entrusted Minister Vandal with the additional responsibilities as Minister Responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor.

Prior to his political career, Minister Vandal was a youth outreach worker with Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. He then went on to serve five terms as Winnipeg City Councillor for St. Boniface. A former Deputy Mayor, he was also Chair of the Protection, Property and Public Works committees at City Hall. He is especially proud of his role in the development of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Youth Strategy, the first of its kind in Canada.

As Minister of Northern Affairs, he has worked with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing food security, investing in clean energy and climate change mitigation and adaption, education, economic development infrastructure and more.

Andreas Wintzer

Biomass & Commercial System Manager, Viessmann Canada

  • Origin: Germany
  • Position: Manager Commercial Solutions for Viessmann Canada
    • Appointed to this role in 2010, he is responsible for commercial boiler pre-sale support and the overall strategic direction for commercial gas /oil fired systems, and for design and support of the sales of biomass boilers
  • Past experiences: Prior to joining Viessmann, he had a viariety of positions in sales and engineering within the heating business in Germany and North America. In total more than 30 years of experience in this industry
  • Years with Viessmann: 12
  • Education:
    • three years apprenticeship in heating and plumbing
    • two years continued education to successfully obtain contractor license
    • three years continued education to obtain a German engineering degree in heating and plumbing

Fahimeh Yazdan Panah

Director of Research and Technical Development, Wood Pellet Association of Canada

Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah is the director of research and technical development at the Wood Pellet Association of Canada and a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia. She has been engaged in research and discovery in the emerging area of bioenergy for over 15 years and have managed bioenergy projects for a variety of clients including governments, manufacturers and technology developers. She has led biofuel densification, pretreatment, storage and handling research studies for 10 years and has co-authored more than 80 technical reports and peer-reviewed publications in the field. Fahimeh also serves as the Project Lead within ISO Technical Committee 238 (Solid Biofuels) and served as the Chair within ISO Technical Committee 300 (Solid Recovered Biofuels) for two years. She received her PhD and MASc from Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and she holds a bachelor’s degree from Amirkabir University of Technology. She is also a registered Professional Engineer with EGBC and Professional Project Manager with PMI.