+ Sandra Odendahl
President and CEO
Sandra is a Canadian corporate sustainability pioneer with a passion for using the power of business to drive positive social and environmental change.
Sandra started her career in Montreal in the 1990s as an environmental scientist for Noranda Inc. and then worked in Toronto and Vancouver as an environmental engineering consultant, specializing in Environmental and Social Impact Assessments for large mining, energy, and pulp and paper developments in Canada and Southeast Asia. She joined the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in 1997 as a resource sector analyst in the enterprise-wide risk management unit, and between 2007 and 2016 headed RBC’s Corporate Sustainability, Social Finance and Social Innovation teams.
Sandra is Chair of the Board of The (Toronto) Atmospheric Fund (TAF) recently joined the Board of Advisors of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead). She has an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a licensed professional engineer and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
+ Don Lawton
Director, Containment and Monitoring Institute
Don Lawton is a Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. In 2013, he was appointed Director of CMCRI’s Containment and Monitoring Institute to lead research into improved monitoring technologies for secure geological carbon storage. Decades ago, Don had a vision for a research facility where measurement and monitoring equipment could be developed and demonstrated. In the fall of 2017, he saw this dream realized with the official opening of CMCRI’s Field Research Station near Brooks.
Don’s research interests include acquisition, processing and interpretation of multicomponent seismic data, seismic anisotropy, integrated geophysical and geological studies in complex geological settings, and in advancing monitoring methods for the geological storage of CO 2 . He’s an Associate Director of the Consortium for Research in
Elastic Wave Exploration Seismology (CREWES). A highly regarded expert, he was awarded the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) Medal in 2000 and received Honorary Membership in the Society in 2014.
+ Goran Vlajnic
Executive Director, Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute
Goran has over 25 years experience in research and technology development from the concept stage through to production in the renewable and clean energy, power generation and oil and gas sectors. While working in the oil industry, Goran established a carbon capture and energy efficiency technology portfolio at Devon Energy, and worked with COSIA partners on piloting promising technologies for GHG emission reduction. He was a member of the technical experts panel for two GE sponsored innovation challenges which were responsible for design and engineering of the Carbon-XPRIZE testing facility in Alberta. He was instrumental in completing a joint industry project focused on the potential application of molten carbonate fuel cell for carbon dioxide capture in oil sands, and spent over 10 years with Ballard Power Systems developing and scaling up proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell for automotive and stationary power applications.
He holds a M.E.Sc. (Honours) from University of Novi Sad, Serbia and is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC and the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering.
+ Brian Mellor
Director, Programs and Partnerships
As an entrepreneur, not-for- profit executive, and community leader, Brian has actively helped organizations accurately assess their strengths and value propositions, while developing proactive strategies to achieve corporate goals. He devotes his professional time to program and partnership development for CMC Research Institutes. Prior to his current role at CMCRI, Brian held the Interim Managing Director position at CMC Research Institutes. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of CalAgua Innovation Corp., a start-up technology company developing commercial applications for university research.
Brian holds a Master’s degree from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario. He is the National Board Chairman of Trout Unlimited Canada and sits on the Business Development Task Force of the United Way of Calgary & Area.
+ Karim Teja
Chief Financial Officer
Karim is an accomplished financial and operations executive with almost two decades of success in technology commercialization. He has an extensive background bringing new products to market, manufacturing and distribution of technologies, and mergers and acquisition work. In 2006, Karim was one of the winners of the coveted Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (and was a Finalist in 2005) for his instrumental work in rapidly commercializing and distributing globally a new healthcare product.
Karim is recognized for his financial expertise, strong negotiating skills, providing excellent customer service and meeting fiduciary obligations to Board of Directors and shareholders. He is able to capitalize on his strong business acumen and experience to resolve critical financial and business decisions. Karim has significant experience in environmental related issues and technologies through holding executive positions at Aqua-Pure (a publicly traded environmental technology company), Fountain Quail Water Management (an oilfield services company), WaterSMART Solutions Management Consultants (a consulting company dealing with water issues in industrial and municipal use) and Alberta WaterPortal Society (a charitable organization dealing with environmental education in Alberta, Canada).
+ Kirk Osadetz
Programs Development Manager
Kirk is an internationally recognized sedimentary basin geoscientist and a leader in the Calgary geoscience community (Past-President of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG) and Secretary of the CSPG Foundation). He has advised Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) on innovative technology opportunities and was a major contributor to the PTAC Unconventional Gas Technology Roadmap, for which he received a PTAC Volunteer Achievement Award (2009). Kirk has led and participated in numerous industrial JIP’s at the leading edge of petroleum geoscience and industrial research that were subscribed to by Canadian, American and European multinational and large petroleum companies (e.g. Institut francais du petrole’s “Subtrap” Industrial Consortium).
In his Geological Survey of Canada roles he provided both laboratory and interpretational support to dozens of Canadian petroleum companies, including Cenovus at Weyburn, as well as several hundred proprietary laboratory studies for Canadian, American and European oil companies. He and Dr. Frank Stoakes taught a three-week course in China and a three-month professional development program for visiting Chinese petroleum industry staff, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.
Kirk has worked as an exploration geologist at PetroCanada Exploration Inc. and Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. He has made more than 130 contributions to the peer-reviewed journal, monographic and conference literature, which are easily found on the web or databases found using his distinctive surname.
+ Amin Saeedfar
Senior Project Lead
Amin Saeedfar focuses on technology development for monitoring of subsurface fluids, particularly applied to the geological storage of carbon dioxide. He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics) in 2006 from former Yagi-Uda antenna laboratory at Tohoku University in Japan. He then joined Schlumberger Technology Center in Tokyo and worked on various modeling and data processing projects in micro-seismic, sonic, and electromagnetic disciplines for geophysical and petrophysical applications. In 2009, he was transferred to Schlumberger Heavy Oil Technology Center based in Calgary to work on emerging techniques for recovery and upgrading of heavy petroleum using electromagnetic energy. In 2013, he joined the oil sands technology team at Husky Energy as a technical advisor to evaluate electrical and RF heating methods for thermal recovery applications. He has filed seven patent applications and has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. He is a senior member of IEEE.
+ Somayeh Goodarzi
Somayeh has 10+ years of combined academic and industry experience solving reservoir and geomechanics-relevant challenges for thermal recovery and CO2 storage applications to optimize operations and lower their environmental impacts. She graduated with her PhD from the University of Calgary in 2013 and has been working with geomechanics and reservoir engineering companies in Calgary.
+ Ruth Klinkhammer
Senior Manager, Communications and Engagement
Ruth is a versatile communications professional with experience as an editor, researcher, journalist, and project manager. She thrives on working with collaborative groups to develop and implement communications strategies and plans to further the business goals and objectives of CMCRI.
Prior to CMCRI, Ruth was Communications Director at the Arctic Institute of North America where she designed and implemented a media-relations program to promote and popularize Arctic science research to Canadians. An expert in media analysis, she managed the first Canadian study examining the public relations strategies of the Supreme Court of Canada and also explored former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s media strategies. She’s taught professional communications at the college and university level and has a background in print journalism. Ruth has an MA (Communications) from the University of Calgary.
+ Joan Smart
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Joan’s background as a corporate concierge predates the common use of the internet by about ten years, when she was a human search engine for the 10,000 employees of tenants in Calgary office buildings. After that experience, it was a breeze to switch to administration for a much smaller group of executives and board members. When she is not scheduling, taking minutes or running the office, she is helping run courses at Alberta’s Vipassana meditation centre near Hanna. In all she does, a Bachelor of Science in Pure Mathematics and meditation are the tools she employs to face any problem and figure out “how to solve it” – also a title by her favorite non-fiction author, George Polya.
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