Our Team

Karen Haugen-Kozyra (President) P.Ag., M.Sc.

Karen has over 20 years of experience in agricultural greenhouse gas measurement and modeling and climate change/environmental policy development – spanning her tenure at the provincial Department of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD), Climate Change Central and now in the private sector.  During her tenure at ARD, Karen was part of the cross-governmental team who 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 Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, she conducted research and studies of environmental mitigation opportunities for agriculture in air, water, soil and biodiversity

Her most significant contribution while at ARD and beyond involved 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, 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 plaftorms.

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].

 Candace Vinke (Sustainability Specialist) M.A.

Candace has a Master of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of  Science degree in Geography from the University of Calgary. Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Candace was the Manager of Agricultural and Social Projects with The Prasino Group. In this role she led a small team of sustainability professionals working on a range of consulting projects related to agricultural offset protocol development, greenhouse gas emission reduction quantification, environmental market policy and opportunity research (RFS2, LCFS, Carbon, Water Quality, etc.) and supply chain sustainability.

Previously, Candace has also worked in the non-profit sector, first as a Business Development Facilitator at Momentum, a community economic development organization offering business training and microloans to individuals living in poverty; and subsequently in Pucallpa, Peru as a Research Fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre / The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). During her master’s she also had the opportunity to intern in the Small Island Development States Unit within the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at the United Nations Headquarters.

Common themes throughout Candace’s work have included climate change, environmental markets, poverty and inequality. Examples of some of her work can be viewed on IISD’s Social and Environmental Entrepreneur’s Toolkit here. In addition to her home country of Canada, Candace has worked and/or studied in Ethiopia, Egypt, Cameroon, Malawi, Kenya, Peru and Brazil. She can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

Liz Brennan (Sustainability Specialist) M.Sc.

Liz holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Energy Development from the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science (Biology concentration) from the University of Calgary.  Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Liz was a Project Analyst at The Prasino Group in Calgary, supporting both the Technical and Business development groups.  In this role, she contributed to the development of organizational sustainability strategies; carbon offset project development, data management, and verification; development, stakeholder review, and validation of offset protocols and methodologies under the Alberta Offset System and Verified Carbon Standard; as well as technical report writing in the areas of upstream oil and gas emissions reductions opportunities, enhanced oil recovery for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, and peat as a renewable fuel.

Liz’s master’s degree work involved pre-feasibility studies of community-scale renewable energy (electricity) systems for a rural Canadian community, coupled with an engagement process to gauge the social acceptance of various renewable energy systems.  Liz has also served as the Biathlon Director for Foothills Nordic Ski Club in Calgary, overseeing a team of coaching staff, and implementing recreational and competitive biathlon opportunities for a wide range of participants. Liz can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

 Tanya Maynes (Sustainability Specialist) M.Sc.

Tanya has a strong background in environmental science with a Master 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 (formerly Climate Change Central).  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 and 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.  She 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.   Key projects include the organization of a targeted stakeholder workshop series called “Broadening Alberta’s Carbon Market” in 2013.  She also ran an on-farm energy efficiency program called On-Farm Energy Management Program for Advanced Education and Technologies (2011-2013.

In 12 years with C3, Tanya developed a strong analytical mind and valuable communication skills.  She has extensive experience in stakeholder consultation, facilitation and has received training in facilitation, project management, media training, RETSCREEN and ISO 14064 related to greenhouse gas inventories, project quantification and verification.  She can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

 Jon Alcock (Sustainability Specialist) B.Sc.

Jon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and studied at the University of Calgary on an exchange year. For his thesis, Jon used climate change forecasts to model impacts of climate change on North American tree resistance to bark beetle attack.

Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Jon has worked in a range of roles for a variety of employers in the environmental sector. In Alberta, Jon worked as an aquatic biologist, consulting on oil and gas pipeline and construction projects, and as a field researcher for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI). Both these roles developed Jon’s understanding of the agricultural and environmental regulatory environments in Alberta.

Before moving to Alberta, Jon worked as an Environmental Regulation Officer for the UK Environment Agency, dealing principally with the agricultural industry, impacts on water quality, and implementation of best management practices. Jon also worked as a project manager for an environmental and sustainability charity, and a bio-industrial research company, running an energy efficiency projects for a brewery and for the UK government. As a researcher for the University of Bristol Glaciology Centre, Jon investigated climate change impacts on the Greenland Ice Sheet and assisted in data collection, analysis and presentation of results in three peer-reviewed papers.  He can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

 Alicia Klepfer (Sustainability Specialist) M.Sc.

Alicia Klepfer started work with Viresco as an intern and became a Sustainability Specialist in February 2017. Alicia began her environmental career with a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Chicago, where she was also Director of the UChicago Climate Action Network. During her undergraduate career, she expanded her knowledge of the US environmental sector by working with First Solar in San Francisco, California, and the Woods Hole Research Center on a satellite soil respiration project in Orono, Maine.
Originally from Colorado, Alicia returned to the Front Range and pursued research with Dr Stephen Ogle at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. With Dr Ogle she coded a simplified CENTURY model in R to run global agricultural soil carbon equilibrium runs over a 10 year period with incorporated uncertainty measurements, as well as working on a variety of other agricultural meta-analyses and other research projects. Alicia was then accepted into the first cohort of CSU’s MGMA program (Masters in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting). Following three semesters of coursework, she met part of the Viresco team at a conference and completed an internship as part of her degree program. Alicia has a broad view of environmental issues and has been focusing specifically on agricultural insetting. She can be reached at [email protected].