Murdoch McKinnon | PhD Student, University of Waterloo
Youth Environmental Action Panel (Saturday Morning)
Murdoch is a PhD student in Geography at the University of Waterloo. His research involves studying a new method to turn oil well pads back into peatland wetlands just outside of Slave Lake, Alberta. Accordingly, he spends much of his time knee-deep in peat, swatting mosquitoes, and pouring water out of his boots—all in the name of science.
He is also a member of the new Youth Advisory Council at Ducks Unlimited Canada, where he works as part of a team of young people from across the country to help improve wetland conservation programming for youth. When not out studying a wetland or in the lab, Murdoch can usually be found exploring the Canadian Rockies on foot or on skis.
Theo Paradis | Senior Water Advisor, Canadian Natural
Round Tables (Friday afternoon)
Theo Paradis has a background in Process Engineering and has had nearly 30 years of experience in mining and mining processes. At Canadian Natural, he has conducted plant design and production processes. Currently he is a Senior Water Advisor on mining water use, treatment, and monitoring at the Horizon Oil Sands Mine.
Director of Community and Indigenous Affairs | Cenovus Energy
Round Table Topic: Indigenous Housing Initiative
Trent Zacharias is Director of Community and Indigenous at Cenovus Energy. In his role with Cenovus he is responsible for leading the company’s engagement with Indigenous peoples, ranging from consultation and business development, to Indigenous housing and broader inclusion initiatives.
Trent is also responsible for leading Cenovus’s social investment team, which focuses on developing strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations such as Inside Education, and Cenovus’s employee volunteering and giving program.
Vanessa White | Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy, Alberta Innovates
Energy 101 (Friday morning)
Vanessa is the Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy in the Clean Resources Division at Alberta Innovates, where she contributes to the advancement of grid modernization in Alberta through ecosystem development and supporting technology initiatives in the areas of non-emitting electricity generation, energy storage and enabling technologies.
Prior to joining Alberta Innovates, Vanessa spent more than 20 years in the upstream petroleum industry, where she drove innovation and developed her diverse background in project management, technology development and pilot operation. Vanessa is passionate about energy literacy. In 2016, she founded a company informing elementary and junior high students about the value of diversity in the Canadian energy portfolio.
Vanessa is a Professional Engineer and past member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Petroleum Engineers Canadian Educational Foundation (SPECEF) where she was the founding chair of the organization’s Energy Literacy Committee. Vanessa’s current board positions include the Decentralized Energy Canada’s Board of Directors and Foresight Clean Tech Accelerator’s Alberta Advisory Board.
Lisa Pollio | Program Manager, Careers in Energy (Energy Safety Canada)
Innovation Gallery (Saturday morning)
Lisa joined Energy Safety Canada (ESC) as a Program Manager in 2013, after six years of working in the oil sands region of Fort McMurray. Lisa learned valuable field experience as a Health, Safety and Environment Advisor and then transitioned to a Disability Management role. This hands-on knowledge allowed her to obtain the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) designation.
Being part of the Training and Industry Development and Support teams at ESC has enabled Lisa to bring her expertise of our sector to the Careers in Energy group. An adventurer at heart, Lisa loves spending her free time in the mountains or travelling to different parts of the world with her family.