2019 Program

SPARK: Carbon Positive, opens with an evening networking reception on October 28, followed by two full days of programming on October 29 and 30. We will have speakers coming in from all over Canada and around the world to engage delegates and expand their knowledge in this thriving and ever-growing industry. Check back often as we add speakers and sessions to the Spark 2019 program. Sign up to our SPARK 2019 newsletter to receive up-to-date information on speakers, panels, and other conference details as they are announced over the coming weeks and months.


SPARK 2019 will feature five streams of programming:

Stream 1: Sharing the Carbon Positive Story: Carbon Education, Communication, and Community Engagement

  • Uncover innovative ways to build carbon literacy, foster investor and public awareness, confidence, and acceptance of carbon productive technologies, and learn and share best practices and lessons learned for communicating about carbon.

Stream 2: Carbon Positive Technology Solutions: Building on Strengths and Creating New Business Opportunities

  • Explore how accelerating the development and adoption of clean technologies and solutions can allow us to create a more carbon productive and competitive economy. Help identify how we can build on the strengths of Alberta’s traditional and natural resource sectors and diversify into new industries – and explore ways to leverage new and emerging technologies while applying existing technologies in new ways to grow a low carbon economy.

Stream 3: Conditions for Success: Carbon Positive Corporate Governance, Business Models, and Finance Tools

  • Investigate what’s needed to enable the right business environments, business models, teams and corporate culture to successfully commercialize carbon productive and carbon positive technologies and products.

Stream 4: Innovation Meets Regulation: Fostering Carbon Positive Policies and Regulations

  • Discover how policy and regulation can be both a barrier and an incentive for carbon positive technology development and commercialization. Learn from innovative policy and regulatory mechanisms being implemented across jurisdictions that are enabling adoption of clean technologies. Discuss policy and regulatory improvements that minimize barriers and invent local and foreign clean technology investment and business activities.

Stream 5: Carbon Positive Lessons Learned: Project Successes and Learnings

  • Funding recipients and innovators will share their stories, successes, and lessons learned while navigating Alberta’ innovation ecosystem and working to develop carbon positive technologies and solutions.


Monday, October 28th

Time Description


Registration & Networking Reception

Tuesday, October 29th

Time Description



Delegates can register and collect their conference name badges at the reception desk, located in Hall D Foyer.


Conference Opening/Welcome


Keynote Presentation: Understanding the Carbon Positive Opportunity



John Elkington, Founder, Volans


Networking Break


Plenary Panel: Leveraging Canada’s Rich Natural Resources to Lead in a Global Circular Economy

This session will introduce the audience to the principles of the Circular Economy and the momentum it is getting around the world and will explore the implications and opportunities for Alberta’s natural resource sector. The panel will attempt to distill fact from fiction as it relates to what the transition to a circular economy can mean for the resource sector, and will identify some of the key barriers that will need to be overcome in order to achieve the full potential of this transition. 




David Hughes, President & CEO, The Natural Step Canada (Moderator)

Usman Valiante, Senior Policy Analyst-Corporate Policy Group, Circular Economy Lab


Lunch & Plenary Panel: The Business Case for Going Carbon Positive

Dave Collyer, Board Chair, Emissions Reduction Alberta


Breakout Session #1

Framing a Carbon Positive Discussion

Explore factors that shape people’s understanding of climate and carbon issues and lean about tools and resources for framing and engaging in carbon positive discussions in an interactive, workshop-style environment.

Chad Park, Senior Associate, The Natural Step Canada & Lead Animator, Energy Futures Lab Erin Romanchuk, Senior Manager of Partnerships, Energy Futures Lab Alison Cretney, Managing Director, Energy Futures Lab Leor Rotchild, Executive Director, CBSR

Carbon Positive Technology Solutions: Building on Strengths and Creating New Business Opportunities

Sustainability in Action: A Case Study in Collaboration

Getting to Go 2.0

Can we create a regulatory system that fosters innovation?  Building on a Canada West Foundation-hosted workshop held in January 2019, help us continue the work to remove regulatory barriers to innovation and create a regulatory culture that supports the ongoing adoption of new technologies.

Marla Orenstein, Director - Centre for Natural Resource Policy, Canada West Foundation

ERA Technology Road Map Focus Area – Cleaner Oil and Gas

Vanessa White, Director, Recovery Technologies, Alberta Innovates (Moderator)


Break & Room Change


Breakout Session #2

Lessons Learned: Communicating on Complex and Polarizing Issues

How have different sectors and industries found ways to communicate successfully on tough issues?  Hear from experts in the regenerative agriculture, nuclear energy, and immunization fields and discuss how these learnings can be applied to carbon-positive conversations.

Eric Williams, Consultant. Nuclear Energy Institute (Moderator) Kimberly Cornish, Director, Food Water Wellness Foundation Erin Polka, Director of Communications, Canadian Nuclear Association

Disruptive Technologies & Carbon Positive Game Changers: A Mock Pitch Session

From Global to Local: Carbon Positive Policies and Programs from Around the World

National, sub-national, and municipal jurisdictions are all implementing policies and programs to accelerate clean technology solutions. Learn about how some of these innovative policies and programs are enabling a more carbon positive future.

Panelists To Be Confirmed,

ERA Technology Road Map Focus Area - Low-Emitting Electricity Supply and Demand

Maureen Kolla, Senior Manager, Renewable and Alternative Energy, Alberta Innovates (Moderator)


Networking Break


Plenary Panel: What Makes a Responsible Investment?

From pension to special purpose funds…financial experts from around the globe discuss what ESG investing means to them.



Celine Bak, President, Analytica Advisors (Moderator)

Clive Mather, Chair, Church of England Pension Fund

Kevin Uebelein, CEO, AIMCo


Networking Reception

Wednesday, October 30th

Time Description




Welcome Remarks + Announcement of the ERA Round 3 Grand Challenge Winner



Keynote Presentation: Inventing the Future

We often don’t notice the design we are working with. Frequently that design is unintentional, yet it is always present – silently boxing us in. What we do notice is the friction and complication when it comes to getting something to work, for the organization to stay focused, for people to think in different ways, for potential clients and users to adopt an important new technology. How do they not realize how great this all is? Why do I have to keep dragging them along?

This session will share examples of design as leadership and will bring us face-to-face with the reality of human nature to help us see the process of design as something more than a cool corporate fad that leads to a wall covered with colourful sticky notes. Design has always been with us. We can harness it to win the future.

Greg Hart, Bringer of Radical Ideas, InceptionU


Networking Break


Breakout Session #3

Community Perspectives on Citizen Engagement

From Garbage to Gold: A Workshop with NISP® Canada

Find out if your trash is someone else’s treasure in this interactive, circular economy “matching-making” workshop designed and facilitated by the Canadian National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP® Canada). The NISP® concept has been successfully used in 35 countries and was piloted in Canada in Metro Vancouver and Greater Edmonton beginning in 2017. Don’t miss this opportunity to join this network of 100s of businesses and organizations who are already converting wastes into valuable resources, sharing expertise, making use of under-utilized capacity, etc. 

Timo Makinen, Director of Operations, Canadian National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP Canada)

Accelerating Carbon Positive Commercialization

You’ve got a great idea – but does your company have what it takes?  Learn how the Creative Destruction Lab’s innovative, objectives-based mentoring process is delivering massively scalable, science and technology-based companies that are maximizing equity-value creation.

Alice Reimer, Site Lead, Creative Destruction Lab Jaeson Cardiff, Chief Executive Officer, CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies Kyle Klam, Managing Director, Modern Wellbore Solutions Ltd.

Government's Role in Creating the Conditions for Success: A Commercialization Case Study

Learn from real experiences in the medium and heavy-duty transportation industry about the role government can play in creating favorable development, scale-up, investment attraction and export environments for carbon positive technologies. 

Karen Hamberg, Vice President of Sustainability & External Affairs, Westport Fuel Systems (Moderator) John Boesel, President & CEO, CALSTART David Layzell, Director, Canadian Energy System Analysis Research Initiative

ERA Technology Road Map Focus Area – Food, Fibre, and Bio-Industries

Steve Price, Executive Director of Bio-Industrial Services, Alberta Innovates (Moderator)


Lunch Break


Room Change


Breakout Session #4

Using Story to Share Your Purpose: 8 Tips to Build and Share Memorable Stories

There is no greater communication method than storytelling. In this session, you will explore traditional and current frameworks for storytelling, visual and literal structures that can help you create “meaning” as well as methods that will allow you to step into the shoes of your listener to make certain your story resonates.

In this hands-on and interactive session, you’ll learn how to transform your own powerful story in a way that intrigues even the most unique audiences.

There are three real learning objectives for the session:

  1. Recognize the power of story
  2. Understand frameworks for stories
  3. Transform stories for unique audiences

Michelle Gurney, Principal Consultant, Shift Consulting

There’s an App for That: Matching Industry’s Carbon Challenges with Data-Driven Solutions

Industry experts and data scientists team up to uncover how data – used the right way – can help solve some of our toughest problems.

Daniel Semmens, Head of Artificial Intelligence, ATB Financial (Moderator) Other Panelists To Be Confirmed,

Scaling Clean-Tech 2.0

Designed and facilitated by Delphi, this working session will build on a February 2019 Delphi-led workshop at Globe Capital that brought together investors, governments, accelerators, established clean-tech companies and others to understand the barriers and gaps to financing the scale-up and growth of clean technologies.  Help us leverage this foundation and take it to the next step.

Carol-Ann Brown, Senior Director, Delphi Group

Who is Contributing to Carbon Positive Policy?

Learn about effective ways individuals, industry, investors and others are helping to shape carbon positive policies, including industry-led initiatives, public-private partnerships, and multi-stakeholder processes.

Audrey Mascarenhas, President & CEO, Questor Technology Inc. Guy Lonechild, CEO, First Nations Power Authority Wes Jickling, Chief Executive, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance Robert Mitchell, Senior Client Engagement Lead, Global CCS Institute

ERA Technology Road Map Focus Area – Low-Carbon Industrial Processes and Products

John Van Ham, Executive Director, Alberta Innovates (Moderator)




Plenary Panel: Conditions for Success

It takes more than a good idea to advance a carbon positive solution or for a company to go commercial. Hear experts debate these critical conditions for success.



Adam Crutchfield, Partner, National Energy and Alberta Consulting Leader, PwC Canada (Moderator)

Alice Reimer, Site Lead, Creative Destruction Lab

Brian Vaasjo, President & CEO, Capital Power

Sandra Odendahl, President & CEO, CMC Research Institutes

Marcia Nelson, Executive Fellow, University of Calgary


Plenary Panel: Holmes on (Net Zero) Homes: Building for the Future

Professional contractor, television host, educator, and influencer Mike Holmes will discuss how an industry-wide approach to a high standard of clean energy building practice helps grow the economy and reduce our environmental impact. Find out why North America’s most trusted contractor believes the construction industry can go beyond net zero and help contribute to a carbon positive world.

Holmes will be joined by panelists from local Alberta partners Effect Home Builders, ATCO, and the City of Edmonton to discuss how their partnership is helping meet higher energy-performance levels in Alberta’s homes and office spaces.


Mike Holmes, Professional Contractor & TV Host

Dale Rott, Managing Partner, Effect Home Builders

Councillor Ben Henderson, City of Edmonton Councillor Ward 8


Closing Remarks