KAREN HAUGEN-KOZYRA P.AG., M.Sc. (PRESIDENT)
Karen has over 25 years of experience in agricultural greenhouse gas measurement, modeling, and climate change/environmental policy development – spanning her tenure at the provincial Department of Agriculture in Alberta, then at the not-for-profit Climate Change Central, and now in the private sector. During her tenure with the province, Karen was part of the cross-governmental team that developed Alberta’s Bioenergy Policy Framework, which was approved by cabinet in 2008. This framework set the stage for Alberta’s Bioenergy Program administered by the Department of Energy. Karen also led ecosystem goods and service policy and program development, in concert with other federal, provincial, and territorial governments under Canada’s Agriculture Policy Frameworks. In her earlier years with the provincial department of agriculture, she conducted research and studies of environmental mitigation opportunities for agriculture in air, water, soil and biodiversity
Her most significant contribution while she worked in the public and not-for-profit sectors was her work at a national level, with federal-provincial and territorial governments on the Canadian National Offset Quantification Team (NOQT). Karen, through her capacity on the Team, designed the protocol development process, represented the agricultural sector in Canada, and coordinated the development of several agricultural quantification protocols. In 2007, Karen was seconded to Climate Change Central, a not-for-profit established by the Government of Alberta. There, Karen led the implementation of the necessary market processes, infrastructure, and tools needed to get the Alberta Carbon Offset Market off the ground. In that role, Karen and her Team leveraged the previous NOQT work to help build sound rules, platforms, science-based quantification protocols, tools, and infrastructure (e.g. registry) needed to facilitate the development of a Carbon Offset Market in Alberta.
Currently, Karen is President of Viresco Solutions Inc. – a network of leading advisors making sustainability real for public and private clients in the agriculture, energy, and food sectors across North America and globally. Our team of experts enables our clients to meet their environmental, social, and economic sustainability objectives by leveraging our knowledge and experience in environmental policy, markets, and economics. Viresco Solutions provides clients from across North America with support from strategy and policy development through to project implementation and Measuring, Reporting, and Verification platforms.
Karen obtained a Biological Sciences Diploma from NAIT, BSc in Plant Sciences, and MSc in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Alberta. Karen is also a registered Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrology. Karen can be reached at [email protected].
DR. BRIAN MCCONKEY Ph.D. (CHIEF SCIENTIST)
Prior to his joining Viresco as Chief Scientist, Brian had 35 years of diverse experience in agri-environmental research, technology application, and science policy with the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture, Environment Canada, and, primarily, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. His research has been wide-ranging including soil and plant processes, soil health, water-agriculture inter-relationships, impacts of climate change on agriculture, quantifying carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas emissions at the field to national scales, the sustainability of bioenergy, life-cycle assessment, and sustainability metrics. He led the initiative that developed the methods for quantifying the change in carbon stocks on Canada’s agricultural land used in Canada’s national greenhouse gas inventory.
Brian has contributed to the design of offset protocols for agricultural activities. From 2010 to 2014, he worked on developing the national strategy for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on agri-environmental research, development, and technology transfer. He was chosen by the IPCC to be a lead author for three different guidance documents that countries follow to report their national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. From 2010 to 2018, he was co-chair of the Integrative Research Group for Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases involving 52-member countries.
Dr. McConkey has authored or co-authored 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He has been invited to national and international conferences to speak on his research. Many private and public organizations have sought his extensive expertise for input on science-based solutions. He has a BSc (Ag. Eng) from the University of Manitoba, an MSc (Ag. Eng.) from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. (Soils) from Washington State University. Brian can be reached [email protected]
JON ALCOCK B.Sc. (SUSTAINABILITY DIRECTOR)
Jon’s diverse scientific and research background has given him a well-rounded view of global sustainability issues and solutions, particularly within the fields of agriculture, energy efficiency, and climate change. Jon’s work at Viresco has focused on market-based frameworks and financial mechanisms for ecosystem services and GHG emissions in the agricultural and land-based sectors, both in North America and internationally. Specific areas of interest include ecosystem conservation, bioenergy, agro-forestry, and agri-food value chain accounting.
Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Jon worked in a range of roles for a variety of employers in the environmental sector:
• Working at the UK Environment Agency, Jon dealt principally with the agricultural industry, addressing impacts to water quality and quantity, promoting the implementation of best management practices, and in flood mitigation, mapping, and emergency response.
• As a researcher for the University of Bristol Glaciology Centre, Jon investigated climate change impacts on the Greenland Ice Sheet, designing sampling and data collection systems, and assisting in the analysis and presentation of results in three peer-reviewed papers.
• Jon has managed energy efficiency projects for both an environmental charity, and a bio-industrial and crop research company, working with the public, UK government, and the brewery industry.
• In Alberta, Jon has worked as an aquatic biologist, consulting on oil and gas pipeline and construction projects, and as a field researcher and lab technician for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI).
Jon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK, and the University of Calgary. For his thesis, Jon combined toxicology experiments and climate change forecasts to model the impacts of climate change on the resistance of four pine tree species to bark beetle attack, and changes in tree range as a result. Jon can be reached at [email protected].
TANYA MAYNES M.Sc. (SUSTAINABILITY SPECIALIST)
Tanya has a strong background in environmental science with a Masters of Science in Forest and Resource Economics (2003) and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Conservational Sciences with a Specialization in Environmental Economics and Policy (1999 – with Distinction). Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Tanya was a Senior Program Manager with C3. In this role, she led a small team of professionals supporting Alberta’s Carbon Offset Market. She has extensive experience in offset protocol development, greenhouse gas reduction quantification, stakeholder consultations, market mechanisms, policy development, evaluation, implementation, and Offset Registry management.
Tanya has built her career working in the Environmental sector where she has honed her talents as a skilled researcher, proficient analyzer, and effective communicator. She is well versed in climate change policy, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction opportunities, program management and is experienced in ISO standards including standard development, audits, reporting, and life cycle analysis. While at Viresco, Tanya has focused on the Agriculture sector and Beef industry – including work with McDonald’s Sustainable Beef Pilot Project, the Canadian Round Table on Sustainable Beef, and DSM Nutritional Products.
Tanya is an effective writer and communicator and has written numerous articles, briefings, reports, and newsletters, developed infographics and website content, and given countless presentations on a variety of environmental related topics. Tanya has developed a strong analytical mind and valuable communication skills. She has extensive experience in stakeholder consultation, facilitation and has received training in ISO 14064 related to greenhouse gas inventories, project quantification and verification, facilitation, project management, media training, and RETSCREEN. She can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].
MD SAYEED UR RAHIM MAHADI M.Sc. (Sustainability Specialist)
Sayeed has 8+ years of working experience in leading innovative projects on Environment Management, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, and Climate Change. He holds a Master of Science (MSc.) in Renewable Energy Technology (2015) and a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Mechanical Engineering (2011). Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, he worked for a UK based international development organization “Practical Action” as project manager. In his previous jobs, he managed project activities related to improved cook stoves (ICS), solar microgrids, waste management, waste to biogas, electricity, briquette and organic fertilizer, and sludge management technologies, etc. Till now he worked with various multi-year multi-cultural multidimensional multi-million-dollar development projects, assignments and research works funded by UNICEF, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, European Commission, USAID, Norec, Swisscontact, GIZ, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Canada, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Kenya.
He has extensive experiences in conducting scoping and feasibility studies, baseline and project surveys, project management, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions quantification, monitoring and reporting, stakeholder management, clean technologies, impact assessment (IA), environmental management and mitigation plan (EMMP), market mechanisms, policy analysis and development, developing innovative financing and business models and using various modeling software like RETScreen.
Sayeed has utilized his analytical capabilities and communication skills to write several articles, reports, and website content. Some of his research findings were published in IEEE Xplore, MDPI, American Institute of Physics (AIP) Conference Proceedings, WasteSafe, IconSWM. He has affiliations with various national and international organizations like ACTia, SESA, and LCEDN, etc. He was a participant of the Norec Skill Exchange program and CEU-UNIDO green industry SUN course (2015) and received Senior-level Leadership training from Franklin Covey (2018). He has completed CQI & IRCA (UK) Certified ISO 9001:2015 QMS, ISO 45001:2018 OHSMS, and ISO 14001:2015 EMS lead auditor course. He can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]
DR. XIAOMEI LI Ph.D. (ASSOCIATE)
Joining Viresco Solutions as an Associate, Xiaomei brings 30 years of experience in agriculture and municipal waste management and greenhouse gas measurements. Her former research technology development programs with Alberta Innovates (former Alberta Research Council and Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environmental Solutions) focused on understanding responses of terrestrial ecosystems to environmental changes, developing technologies and solutions to mitigate impacts of these environmental changes, and promoting a sustainable and circular economy in Alberta.
Xiaomei’s technology development efforts aim to address environmental challenges in waste recycling, organic waste utilization and conversion, biogas generation, and the management of land and water resources. Her previous work has run the gamut from laboratory research to commercialization and marketing of innovative products, both within private sector firms as well as non-profit and government agencies. Her major accomplishments include:
• Creating a Biowaste Utilization Program that drove efforts of turning livestock waste into marketable products, including bioenergy and biofertilizer.
• Inventing IMUS (Integrated Manure Utilization System), which turns manure and agricultural waste into energy and value-added product.
• Investigating the effect of ethylene emission impact on agricultural crops, which contributed to the establishment of the official guidelines for ethylene oxide distribution in Alberta.
• Initiating a new approach to the reclamation of oil sand disturbed areas using organic wastes generated by its production, where the soil regeneration process will be initiated by creating a favourable soil physical environment in which biological processes can proceed uninhibitedly.
• Working with her partner to develop the K-model and the Soil P-Export Model (SPEM) that allows users to quantify soil carbon storage and assess the environmental risks associated with P runoff into surface water from agricultural land.
Xiaomei has authored or co-authored 12 published/issued patents, and 175 reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. She has been invited to speak on her research and technology to university classes, national and international conferences. Xiaomei has a BSc (agricultural chemistry and soil science) from Shanxi Agricultural University, MSc (soil physics) from China Agricultural University, and Ph.D. (soil and plant water relation) from Oregon State University. Xiaomei is a retired Professional Agrologist and can be reached at: [email protected].
AARON SCHROEDER, P.Eng. (ASSOCIATE)
Aaron, a Professional Engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, is both the Founder and Director of Brightspot Climate and an Associate with Viresco Solutions. Aaron brings more than thirteen years of experience analyzing, quantifying, and auditing greenhouse gas emissions in North America. Prior to forming Brightspot in 2015, Aaron worked for several years leading a team of fifteen GHG verification and policy analysts across Canada with ICF International.
Aaron has developed the corporate greenhouse gas inventories of a broad range of companies including international wineries, financial institutions, property management companies, municipalities, and industrial facilities. His verification experience exceeds 300 greenhouse gas offset projects and facility verifications. These verifications include but are not limited to commercial buildings, electricity generation, oil & gas extraction and processing, greenhouse operations, beef management, conservation cropping (zero-tillage) and nitrogen fertilizer management reduction projects, as well as renewable energy, and waste management. He is sought after for his expertise in devising strategies to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical implementation of methodologies for quantifying, reporting, and verifying.
For the previous five years, Aaron has been an instructor at the University of Toronto’s School of Environment and School of Continuing Studies, teaching courses focus on the three parts of the ISO 14064 standard, which provides governments, businesses, regions, and other organisations with a complimentary set of tools for programs to quantify, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas emissions.
Aaron has a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and is originally from rural Saskatchewan where he grew up on his family’s mixed dairy and grain farm. His experience in agriculture is apparent in his work ethic and his knowledge of farming practices on the Canadian Prairies.