BiRNet Board Member Bios

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Dr. Trevor Stuthridge, Managing Director, Future Proofing Innovation Strategies
Dr. Trevor Stuthridge will serve as the Chairperson of the BiRNet Board of Directors. He brings extensive international experience as an Executive and Director for innovation and technology commercialisation organizations in the forestry, bioeconomy and clean technologies sectors. Trevor recently served as Executive Vice President for FPInnovations – the world’s largest not-for-profit forestry sector research organization – where he led R&D operations and staff across 3 campuses and was also responsible for business development, intellectual property management, organizational strategy, and executive level engagement with industry, federal and provincial governments, academia and indigenous communities. Prior to that he was an executive manager for Scion, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute devoted to innovation and growth for the forestry and other biomaterial sectors. He is currently Managing Director for Future Proofing Innovation Strategies Limited, a business consultancy facilitating commercialization, partnership and investment pathways. Trevor received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Waikato and holds a range of governance qualifications, including a professional ICD.D designation granted by the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors. Since 2010, he has served as Chair or Director for 9 Boards and as a member of strategic advisory groups for 8 industry/academic research consortia. He is an Adjunct Professor at University of British Columbia and ‎University of Toronto and Board Member for the Institute of Forest Biosciences.


Dr. Helen Burt, Associate Vice President Research and Innovation, UBC
Dr. Helen Burt has been the Associate Vice President Research and Innovation in the Vice President Research & Innovation Office at the University of British Columbia since 2011 and is a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. She served as the interim Vice-President Research & Innovation for 14 months in 2016/17. She was born in Manchester, England and obtained her B. Pharm.(Hons) from the University of Bath and her Ph.D in Pharmaceutics from UBC. She has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers and is the holder of numerous patents. She has been the recipient of several teaching prizes and research awards, including the UBC Killam Teaching Prize and Killam Faculty Research Prize, NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, CSPS Award of Leadership in Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences and YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Science, Research and Technology. She is a founding scientist in the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Sandy Ferguson, Vice-President Corporate Development
Sandy Ferguson is Vice-President Corporate Development, Conifex Timber Inc.,one of Canada’s leading forest products companies. Her responsibilities include leading new bio-products opportunity evaluation, stakeholder engagement, government relations, corporate communications, and special projects. She has held a number of senior business development and strategic roles with corporate, not-for-profit, and government organizations, as well as her own consultancy both here and in London, England. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and an MBA from UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
Dr. Lisey Mascarenhas, Sector Director of Genome BC’s Agrifood and Natural Resources Portfolio
Dr. Lisey Mascarenhas is the Sector Director of Genome BC’s Agrifood and Natural Resources portfolio. In her role, Lisey manages Genome BC’s project portfolio, stakeholder engagement, partnerships, and proposal development within the agrifood, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, energy, mining, and environment sectors. With over 25 years in the life sciences community in western Canada, Lisey has developed a strong understanding of value proposition and business development and has managed strategic, large life sciences research programs and projects across multiple sectors. Over the past 15 years, she has established an excellent track record in bringing research and industry partners together, bridging the gap between research, development and commercialization. She has also brought her expertise to assisting emerging life science technology companies through business start-up, financing, and development. Lisey has a PhD in Microbiology and an MBA, both from the University of Saskatchewan.
David McDonald, President of JDMcD Consulting Inc
David McDonald is the President of JDMcD Consulting Inc. and an adjunct professor at McMaster University. Previously he worked at FPInnovations as Vice-President, University Programs and Strategic Partnerships, at Paprican, as Vice-President, Research and Education and at Abitibi-Price, as a Research Associate/ Mathematician. He also served as the Senior Advisor of FIBRE,  the umbrella organization for the eight forest industry university networks. He is a fellow of both TAPPI and PAPTAC and has received many awards including the highest technical awards from PAPTAC, the John Bates Gold Medal and TAPPI, the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal.
Dr. Murray McLaughlin, President of McLaughlin Consultants
Dr. Murray McLaughlin is President of McLaughlin Consultants and an Advisor to Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC). From 2010 to 2016 he was the Executive Director of BIC and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance in Sarnia, Ontario, with a focus on a Sustainable Bioeconomy. Also through BIC he managed the AgSci Cluster, a national Bioproducts cluster supported by AAFC.  Dr. McLaughlin has held various positions in the private, government and non-profit sectors such as Director of Business Development for the Canadian Light Source, President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and President of Ag-West Biotech Inc. He was the founder of the ABIC conferences which started in 1996. He managed a Venture Capital Fund, Foragen, for agriculture and also spent 15 years with ELANCO, division of Eli Lily in R and D and marketing. He has been and is a member of numerous Boards of Directors and Advisory Committees, including, BioNB and FPInnovations. He is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill (B. Sc. Agr.) and Cornell (MSC and PhD).
Irene Yang, Head of Business Development & Innovation with BASF Canada
Irene Yang is Head of Business Development & Innovation with BASF Canada. On the Canadian Leadership Team, Irene leads sales growth and innovation partnerships across several industries. She previously worked for BASF in Asia Pacific and the US. Prior to BASF, she held Director of Product Management and Strategic Partnerships at global technology companies, and consulted with McKinsey. Irene earned her MS Engineering (Electrical) and an MBA from MIT, and her B. Eng. & Mgmt. degree from McMaster University.
Dr. Alan Potter, Acting Vice President Science and Innovation at FPInnovations
Dr. Alan Potter is currently Acting Vice President Science and Innovation at FPInnovations and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia. Alan has also served as an independent consultant to the North American forest products sector. He has given advice to several industry companies and governments in the field of forest products innovation. Alan has also held executive positions at FPInnovations, in Vancouver  and Norbord Inc in Montreal and Toronto. He also had technology development and implementation roles at MacMillan Bloedel and Crown Forest Industries, both in Vancouver. Alan holds a PhD and BSc (Hons) from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and an MBA from the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Dr. Hamdy Khalil, Global Technical Director for Research and Product Development at Woodbridge Foam Corporation
Dr. Hamdy Khalil is the Global Technical Director for Research and Product Development at Woodbridge Foam Corporation, part of The Woodbridge Group. He has pioneered the introduction and commercialization of renewable materials into the polyurethane chemistry used in the interior automotive parts manufacturing, which is now the benchmark for the industry. Prior to his present position at Woodbridge Foam Corporation – a major manufacturer of flexible moulded polyurethane foam for the global automotive industry- Hamdy held positions at Labatt’s in the pharmaceutical Division, for PolySar Corporation as analytical laboratory supervisor and as Senior Technical Manager for BFGoodrich. Hamdy sits on the scientific advisory committee of FPInnovations and on the NRC Steering Committee for Bio-products Development. He sits on the board of directors of three organizations. Dr. Khalil holds a BSc with majors in chemistry and physics from the University of Alexandria in Egypt, MSc in Nutritional Biochemistry from Cairo University Egypt and a PhD from Windsor University.
Albert L. Gerow, Director, Chinook Community Forest Burns Lake
Albert L. Gerow was born and raised in Burns Lake, BC. He is the former Chief of the Burns Lake Band and member of the Carrier Nation Tribe. Albert has extensive experience in Forestry from harvesting to finishing, Director of Operations- BC First Nations Forestry Council. Albert also has several years of Community Economic Development, Human Resources, Employment Centre Manager, College Instructor and RCMP police services experience.  Albert presently sits on the BC Innovations Leadership Committee – FPI Vancouver, the BC Community Forest Associations and Director on the Chinook Community Forest Burns Lake. He was previously elected as School Board Trustee and Councillor for the Village of Burns Lake.  Albert holds a Lead Auditor Certificate in ISO 14001, the International Environmental Management System, Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Victoria, plus other industry related certificates.


Bob Larocque, Senior Vice President, Forest Products Association of Canada
Bob Larocque joined FPAC in April 2011 as Director of Environment and Labour Market Policies. Before joining FPAC, Bob held several positions at Environment Canada in regards to mitigating the risk of toxic substances on the environment. He has also worked as a process engineer in a large pulp mill. As Senior Vice President, Bob leads work with member companies on policy and technical issues relating to innovation, sector transformation, climate change and environmental regulations for the forest products sector. Bob is also responsible for supporting the sector in achieving its “30 by 30 Climate Change Challenge” as well as managing the environmental data collection of pulp and paper and wood products segments. Bob holds a B.Sc. in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa.


Dr. Tiina Nakari-Setala, Vice President – Research, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd.
Dr. Tiina Nakari-Setala is the Vice President – Research for the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. VTT (258 M€/yr, 2,368 FTE) is one of the leading applied research and technology organisations in Europe. They use their science capacity and knowledge to provide expert services for domestic and international customers and partners and serve both the private and public sectors. Tiina has a PhD in Biochemistry and an extensive career in technology and research with strong experience in developing relevant research strategies and commercialization of research results into tangible solutions to market and customer needs through technology transfer, licensing and spin-offs. Research and business in bio-based value chains, the bioeconomy and the circular economy have been a particular focus.


Michael Rushton, Fibria Innovations
Mike Rushton graduated as a chemical engineer from the University of Exeter, England in the mid 70’s and became involved almost immediately in the development and commercialization of process technology. He moved to Canada in 1978, where he has lived ever since working in a variety of industries – oil refining, pulp and paper, chemicals, metal smelting and alternative energy moving over the years from technical roles to commercial and executive positions. In 2006, Mike joined Lignol Innovations, a company developing biorefinery processes and lignin applications, as COO. In early 2015, Fibria Celulose SA, a Brazilian company and global leader in sustainable forestry and eucalyptus market pulp production, acquired the assets of this company and established Fibria Innovations, a new company based in Burnaby, BC, with the goal of supporting Fibria’s strategy for diversification into the bio-economy. Mike is responsible for the operation of this company which is engaged in R&D into renewable bio-products and bio-materials such as lignin and its derivatives.


Anne-Helene Mathey, Director, Economic Analysis Division, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada
Anne-Hélène Mathey, Director, Economic Analysis Division currently leads a team of economists, engineers, and policy analysts to conduct economic, techno-economics and policy analyses (from fibre to market) with the goal to establish a solid foundation for forest sector policy decisions in Canada, including with regards to bioenergy and biorefining pathways. In that capacity, she co-chairs the Bioeconomy Interdepartmental Working Group, which gathers over 18 Canadian federal departments and agencies. Anne-Hélène has a master in Forest Science and a PhD in Forest Management and Planning. She started her career at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry working on the design of decision support systems for the forest sector.