McNeil C.A.R.E. Background
The McNeil Centre for Applied Renewable Energy (McNeil-C.A.R.E) was established at Concordia University of Edmonton in December 2019 and is housed in the BMO Centre for Innovation and Applied Research (BMO-CIAR). It is a multi-disciplinary centre that will collaborate, communicate, and jointly advance with the members in government, industry, and community the adoption of renewable energy technologies across Canada with a primary focus on Albertan communities.
The objectives of the McNeil-C.A.R.E are to:
- Provide Albertan communities (urban and rural) with information on best practices, resources for technical assistance, and stakeholder consultations for the adoption of renewable energy technologies;
- Organize and conduct renewable energy workshops – both educational and industry-oriented to educate end-users, assist in the adoption of renewable-energy based technologies and connect industry with the end-users;
- Develop programs (credit and non-credit) based on industry needs to train high-quality personnel in the field of renewable energy; and
- Assist with renewable energy planning in specific areas based on the needs of the community and in consultation with stakeholders (government, private industry, and community members).
Advisory Committee Members
Nesreen Weshah, Robogarden/University of Calgary
Gordon Shymko, G.F. Shymko and Associates Inc.
Gordon Shymko is an award-winning engineering consultant with over 37 years of experience in advanced building design and energy and sustainability engineering. He has provided consulting services for new and retrofit/renovation projects across Canada and internationally, from conceptual planning to detailed design. In addition to his broad knowledge of sustainability, he is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent energy modeling experts in North America. His achievements include the energy and sustainability engineering of some of the largest and most complex LEED ® project in Canada, and his project portfolio represents several billion dollars in construction value.
Gordon is also an authority on building performance rating systems and performance measurement and verification. He has, and continues to play an instrumental role in the development and maintenance of LEED, Green Globes, and other systems such as SBTool. He is widely sought as a technical advisor, and holds past and current advisory appointments to various branches of the Government of Canada, the United States Department of Energy, the US and Canada Green Building Councils, the Green Building Initiative (GBI), the Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO), the National Research Council, the Canadian Standards Association, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASHRAE, and numerous provincial and municipal government departments and agencies. Gordon has also been involved in the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE) since its inception in 1998, is an iiSBE Board member, and chaired iiSBE Canada from 2009 to 2017.
Gordon is currently semi-retired and concentrating on providing high-value advisory and support services to select clients and organizations on a fee as well as pro-bono basis.
Jeff Reading, EIR: Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre
Jeff is President of Actions Matter, Inc., an independent, social enterprise benefit corporation intent on efforts that address energy innovation, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and adaption, sustainability, energy and environmental literacy and commercialization of cleantech/carbontech solutions.
Jeff has more than 35 years’ experience across the environmental sector. He has worked in education with the North York Board of Education, Calgary Board of Education, at the University of Calgary; and provincially through the Alberta Teacher’s Association; in leadership development and risk management around the world; provided sustainability leadership to government with the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta; in the oil/gas and utility sectors; supported the build out of a number of global energy and tech start-ups; and has been active in the not-for profit sector with Climate Change Central (C3), Carbon Management Canada (CMC.RI) and the Foresight CleanTech Accelerator Centre. In addition, Jeff is the Chair for the Green Learning Canada Foundation (GLCF), Past Chair of the Alberta Council for Environmental Education (ACEE), Founding Board member with the Alberta Clean Technology Innovation Alliance (ACTia), and an advisor with Carbon Talks Canada and the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation Grant Review Committee.
When Jeff is not working, he enjoys international travel and wilderness adventures with his family.
Vedran Skopac, Principal, MANASC ISAAC
Vedran believes in DISTINCT, DIVERSE and DYNAMIC architecture – the three sacred D’s of design. His idea of ‘Emotionally Sustainable Architecture’ is focused on building socially sensible communities conducive to thrive of human spirit.
Vedran is an international architect and thinker. He started influencing the world of architecture in his native Croatia, Europe, where he joined ‘njiric+njiric’ architects (El Croquis No. 114[II]), and delivered work that has been published and discussed throughout the Globe (MARK, DOMUS, 2G no.57).
Currently living in Edmonton, he is part of the Manasc Isaac Architects group where he is actively helping build sustainable and contemporary communities. He became a Principal of Manasc Isaac in 2019.
Vedran’s most recognized design on Northern American soil, The Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce, was completed in February 2015 and is the crown jewel of sustainable building in Canada, becoming the first Net Zero energy commercial office building in Alberta — an example of Alberta’s oil and gas abundance igniting innovative, sustainable projects. With this project he helped steward the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) movement in Alberta — a contract model that is gaining momentum in a marketplace desperately seeking a Better Way.
Eager to learn and share knowledge Vedran is helping teach in four Canadian schools for architecture and design (UofT John H. Daniels in Toronto, UofC EVDS in Calgary, RAIC Syllabus in Edmonton, and UofA Art&Design in Edmonton).
Brent Scorfield, Business Advisor (retired) to the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)
Christian Felske, Director, Renewable Energy Systems at City of Edmonton
Christian received his Civil Engineering Diploma and his Ph.D. in Solid Waste Management from the University of Essen in Germany. Prior to moving to Canada, he was a project engineer with a regional waste management company in Germany. After moving to Canada in 2003, Christian worked as a research scientist at the Alberta Research Council before joining the City of Edmonton in 2009.
Christian has acted in various leadership roles and in 2016, Christian began working on the renewable energy portfolio within the Integrated Infrastructure Services department in the City of Edmonton.
In his current role, he is responsible for leading the development of the Blatchford Renewable Energy utility and the Downtown District Energy Initiative.
Marlow Currie, Alberta Environmental Network/Board Director Energy Regulatory and Climate Change Consultant
Mike Mellross, Program Director, Climate Innovation Fund (Calgary and Edmonton) at Alberta Ecotrust Foundation
Mike Mellross is the Director of the Climate Innovation Fund (previously LC3) at Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, working in partnership with the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton, the Climate Innovation Fund will initiate, support and accelerate urban carbon-reduction solutions in the two largest urban centres in Alberta, helping those cities and Canada meet their climate change targets. Initiated through a $40 Million endowment from the federal government, The Climate Innovation Fund will work with partners in each city to catalyze emissions reductions across all sectors including buildings, transportation, industry and waste.
Prior to joining Alberta Ecotrust, Mike supervised the Energy Transition and Utility Supply unit at the City of Edmonton. His team was responsible for the implementation of Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy, a long-term plan designed to advance Edmonton on a low carbon path. Mike also managed the City’s utilities file which included the initiation of a power purchase agreement for the procurement of 100% green electricity for city operations.
Mike has over 20 years of experience across private and public organizations, working in the realm of environmental policy, energy management and sustainability. Mike is a published author with articles in popular science journals on the application of market transformation theory for the achievement of climate change goals. Mr. Mellross has degrees in Environmental Science, Water Pollution Studies, and Natural Sciences and is a registered Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists. Mike was recently a recipient of FCM’s Best for Canada Innovator award and a 2019 winner of the Charles Labatiuk award for environmental excellence.
Dr. Manfred Zeuch, VP External Affairs and International Relations, Concordia University of Edmonton
Dr. Manfred Zeuch is Vice-President, External Affairs & International Relations at Concordia University of Edmonton.
He holds a PhD from the University of Strasbourg, France, and has worked as a professor, in international relations and in research administration at a large university in South Brazil for many years. He successfully started Concordia’s internationalization in early 2012.
Dr. Isha Katyal, Manager, BMO-CIAR, Concordia University of Edmonton
Isha Katyal, PhD., currently works as the Manager of the BMO Centre for Innovation and Research (BM)-CIAR) where she is involved in advancing University’s applied research initiatives such as the Center for applied artificial intelligence and McNeil Centre for applied renewable energy. She leads Innovation Launchpad @CUE, a work-integrated program for entrepreneurial education at CUE and works with CUE faculty in the areas of industry connection, knowledge transfer, and research commercialization. Dr. Katyal is also the director of Elixr Simulations, an Edmonton based not-for-profit organization that offers programs and services for adoption and development of virtual, augmented and mixed reality-based technologies.
Dr. Katyal has developed a career in the innovation industry by working both in private sectors and post-secondary institutions. In Canada, she first worked as an industry liaison intern at the University of Saskatchewan where she was involved in early-stage technology assessment, marketing early-stage technologies to potential industry partners and business plan development while finishing up her Ph.D. in microbial ecology. Later, she worked as a technology management officer at TEC Edmonton, a joint venture between the University of Alberta and the Edmonton economic development corporation (EEDC). At TEC Edmonton, she was involved in identifying projects of commercial interest, intellectual property assessment, and strategy development, facilitating research collaborations with industry, negotiating licensing agreements for intellectual property and sponsored research and propelling new ventures for the University of Alberta researchers and local Edmonton entrepreneurs. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked as a business analyst in Evalueserve (India), developing competitive intelligence reports for global pharma and biotechnology-based companies. She obtained her Masters in Biotechnology from Thapar University (Punjab, India) and Bachelors in Science (Zoology, honors) from Delhi University (Delhi, India).
Jelena Bojic, Director, Community Relations, Concordia University of Edmonton
Jelena Bojic’s portfolio of experience includes fundraising, corporate marketing and sponsorships, and public and community relations. She has worked in both not-for-profit and multi million-dollar corporate environments and has demonstrated success patterns throughout her career and volunteer work via her consistency, tenacity, and passion for excellence.
Jelena’s most valued skill set to date is the foresight and aptitude towards donor and organizational alignment, where an inspired and sustainable bond between the donor and the organization is created for years to come. Her warm and approachable depth of understanding the need to contribute and give back to the community adds a special element to the entire fund development process.