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Meet the Alberta Innovates Leadership Team.
Laura J. Kilcrease, Chief Executive Officer
Laura Kilcrease brings a track record and laser-focus to innovation ecosystem performance and design. Since her appointment in 2017, she has steered Alberta Innovates restructuring, spearheaded assessment of programs with an eye to the future, and launched Inventures, the flagship gathering of innovators, investors, industry leaders and global researchers, which PwC estimated catalysed some $200M in potential deal flow in 2019.
Born in London, England, and recruited from Austin, Texas, Laura served as a member of the Alberta Research and Innovation Advisory Committee for seven years prior to joining Alberta Innovates.
She is widely recognized as a key figure in changing Austin’s economy from oil dependency to high-tech prosperity to become the #1 city for entrepreneurs to live and work in the U.S..
She has more than 25 years of experience in commercializing technology, including:
A dedicated community builder, Laura served on various for-profit and non-profit boards, including the Women’s Leadership Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Beyster Institute, World Congress for Information Technology 2006, the IC² Institute at The University of Texas, and is currently on the board of the University Federal Credit Union, one of the top 100 credit unions in the U.S..
She has been often recognized for outstanding achievements, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power Award, and the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Trailblazer Award.
Laura is a Chartered Management Accountant and has an MBA from the University of Texas.
Find Laura on LinkedIn.
Lyn Brown, Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Lyn Brown’s leadership is anchored to business strategy and communication systems. She brings a results focus to brand reputation, issues management and transformational change.
Marketing and Communications develops integrated plans that support the corporation’s purpose as the province’s innovation engine. The team focuses on:
Lyn’s 30 years of change experience includes the overhaul of postal services in the 1980s, an initial public offering and telecommunications merger in the 1990s, and paper industry disruption and restructuring through the 2000s.
She led corporate responsibility for a decade at Catalyst Paper, during which time it was ranked among the Best 50 Canadian companies for seven years by Corporate Knights Magazine and earned five awards for disclosure from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
Lyn served on non-profit boards including Quest Outreach Society; GreenBlue Institute; Canadian Business for Social Responsibility; the International Association of Business Communicators; and Canadian Public Relations Society (Edmonton).
A lifelong learner, she holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, a BA from the University of Alberta, and a journalism diploma from MacEwan University. Lyn is IABC-accredited and attained the ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors/Rotman School of Management.
Find Lyn on LinkedIn.
Rollie Dykstra, Executive Vice President, Impact
As our executive vice president of Impact, Rollie Dykstra is accountable for aligning strategy development and implementation for Alberta Innovates. To ensure investments are well-focused and provide consistent value for Albertans, Rollie works with all business units to drive toward impact and exceptional return. He also plays a pivotal role in stakeholder relationships with governments, academia and industry.
He has 35 years of experience in the Information & Communications Technology sector and business development roles with industry and government. A former sales executive with NORTEL, TELUS Communications, and Williams Communications, Rollie leads development of mechanisms and relationships that accelerate research and innovation for the province through active collaboration, business development, access to capital and international markets.
Rollie’s focus is on building the knowledge-based sectors of the Alberta economy, primarily in high tech, and encouraging and supporting regional innovation throughout the province. He and his team are dedicated to advancing Alberta entrepreneurship and new ventures through carefully leveraged public support, consortia networks and innovation system infrastructure. Business development coaching for emerging tech companies helps to move research to commercialization.
Rollie has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta, and certificates in Telecommunications Management and Computer Programming.
A sense of humour and a passion for making a difference guide Rollie, and he embraces the crucial role relationship building plays in the development of any innovation system.
Find Rollie on LinkedIn.
Douglas Holt, Associate Vice President, Investments
Doug has over 20 years of experience in the fields of financial services, technology, and education managing high functioning teams, designing and implementing corporate strategies and performing complex financial analysis of companies across a wide array of industries.
Doug’s financial services experience is both buy side and sell side with a focus on investment banking, credit analysis, and structured finance. Over the last decade, in various senior management roles ranging from Vice President marketing to President and COO, Doug has helped companies raise over $130,000,000 of equity investment.
As a buy-side credit investor in the US high yield bond and loan markets, Doug was part of a small team running a publicly listed ETF on the NYSE which rose from $80,000,000 (USD) in assets under management to over a $1,000,000,000 (USD).
Prior to this, he spent a decade as an educator teaching both domestically and internationally. Doug earned a B.A. and B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge in 2000 and a M.B.A. from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary in 2008.
Find Doug on LinkedIn.
Steve McMahon, Chief Operating Officer, InnoTech Alberta
Steve McMahon is a professional engineer and systems thinker who brings a passion for solutions to leadership of InnoTech Alberta. He has extensive background in information technology and technical systems, specializing in resolving enterprise interoperability challenges and industry-wide integration.
His experience spans telecommunications, oil & gas, manufacturing, retail and distribution, and government, including specialization in healthcare systems.
He brings a track record of integrating business processes, information technology, standards, platforms and solutions encompassing multi-stakeholders, sectors, industries and jurisdictions to his current role.
Steve joined Alberta Innovates in 2018 as executive vice president, a role in which he:
Formerly a partner with Deloitte Consulting, Steve led the National Healthcare Digital Integration Practice and cross-sector Digital Integration Practice in Western Canada.
For more than a decade, he’s been involved in large-scale projects that connect the collective healthcare systems including Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and in the USA.
Steve served as a member of Canada’s Health Informatics Association, and as a board member of the Alberta Network for Health Information Exchange and the Health Information Technology Association of Canada. He also sat on the advisory committee for the Canadian Health Informatics Executive Forum.
Find Steve on LinkedIn.
Barry McNabb, Vice President, Finance
Barry is a dedicated financial leader with a proven track record in complex work environments, developing strong and collaborative teams, and making measured decisions that blend strategic, operational, financial, and related considerations.
He brings extensive public and private sector experience in corporate strategy and business planning, enterprise risk management, performance measurement, financial reporting and management systems.
Prior to joining Alberta Innovates, Barry held senior financial roles within the City of Edmonton with insight to more than 70 lines of business and a $3-billion annual operating budget. Barry directed multi-year capital and operating budgets approved by City Council and provided financial and regulatory expertise regarding the operation of municipally owned energy utilities. He was instrumental in the development of the Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility and the Downtown District Energy System in Edmonton.
During his 20-year career with ATCO Electric he held increasingly senior positions, including Vice President, Regulatory & Controller. He led teams in finance, planning and strategy, accounting, performance measurement and regulatory affairs through a period of electricity deregulation and business restructuring. In his executive role, he:
Barry began his career in the audit practice of Ernst & Young in 1989. He is active on several community boards including the Edmonton Food Bank and Wheelchair Sports Alberta.
He has a B.Comm. from the University of Alberta and completed the Ivey School of Business Executive Program in 2012. Barry is also a Chartered Accountant.
Find Barry on LinkedIn.
Tim Murphy, Vice President, Health
In his role, Tim Murphy oversees the Health Innovation and Health Platforms teams at Alberta Innovates. He brings a deep commitment to partner collaboration and community asset development to the intricate work of health care transformation through data and digital technologies.
He is a proven executive with more than 30 years of progressive leadership experience in a variety of roles in health and health research organizations across three provinces in Canada.
Tim is an inspirational leader, known for achieving high performance teamwork that delivers results. A consummate coalition-builder, Tim is skilled in the processes required to motivate and mobilize an organization and community toward collective action. Evidence of his success includes making Alberta one of the first partners in the federal Strategy for Patient Oriented Research program.
Prior to joining Alberta Innovates, Tim established an independent consulting practice and worked with health research clients and charitable foundations including:
Tim was the inaugural senior vice president at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, a provincial research organization based in Vancouver. He also spent 10 years in senior management with the Princess Margaret Hospital prior to joining the British Columbia Cancer Agency in 1997.
Tim is a Certified Professional Accountant. He has a B.Sc. in Life Sciences from Queen’s University; a Master of Health Administration from the University of Toronto; and an MBA from Queen’s University. In 2023, Tim was awarded Digital Health Canada’s Digital Health Executive of the Year. Read more about it here.
Find Tim on LinkedIn.
Alec Silenzi, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
As approachable as he is knowledgeable, and practical as he is professional, Alec provides guidance to corporate governance and risk management practices. He leads our legal team and navigates the corporation through contract management, regulatory information management and research ethics.
He has more than 25 years of legal and business experience, both as in-house counsel and in private practice. Alec has significant experience in corporate, commercial litigation, oil & gas, mergers, acquisitions, securities, compliance, employment law, as well as in corporate and international business development.
He held General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer roles since 2007 with international exploration and production companies and domestic oilfield service companies.
Prior to moving into corporate practice, Alec was a corporate and securities partner at the national law firm Gowlings LLP.
He led several large public and private M&A transactions as well as equity and bank financings during his career, and as a commercial litigator conducted several trials at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Provincial Court of Alberta.
Alec received his B.A. from the University of Calgary in 1990 and his law degree from the University of Alberta in 1994. He was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Alberta in 1995.
Find Alec on LinkedIn.
Tom Whalen, Managing Director, C-FER Technologies
Tom Whalen joined C-FER Technologies in 2023.
Tom brings a business startup, growth and turnaround track record built over 40+ years in the energy sector. At Baker Hughes, Tom worked his way up from oil and gas operations to Canadian President of one of the world’s largest oil field services companies. In that role Tom set the vision and direction for strategy and drove cyclical adjustment to operations in alignment with the changing dynamics of the energy sector.
Tom is an active Calgary community leader, serving on the boards of Discovery House and the Women in Need Society. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University.
Find Tom on LinkedIn.
Learn more about C-FER Technologies.
John Zhou, Chief Cleantech Officer & Vice President, Clean Resources
In this role, John fulfills dual responsibilities in overseeing corporate strategy for clean tech and sustainable resource development and providing operations leadership for the Clean Resources business line.
He leads strategic initiatives, develops collaboration opportunities, and provides expertise to stakeholders as the corporation’s primary expert to policy groups shaping GHG mitigation, climate adaptation, and clean economy transition plans and programs.
John oversees program investments directed to Agrifood, Cleantech, Energy, Environment, and Forestry. He also leads Alberta Innovates’ advice and services to Emissions Reduction Alberta in the identification and selection of its portfolio of projects.
As an inventor with seven U.S. patents, two of which led to multimillion-dollar commercial success, John developed and is driving the vision for Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC), as a transformative effort to create a multibillion-dollar advanced materials industry in Alberta using its vast bitumen resource.
John has over 25 years of innovation and management experience in energy and sustainability innovation including 10 years as manager for Advanced Materials at the Alberta Research Council. He was the founding director of the international industry consortium, Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands (MARIOS).
John was executive director, chief technical officer, and acting CEO of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions. He led key initiatives including carbon capture and storage, the SAGD water conservation study, and dilbit transportation, and oversaw bitumen recovery and partial upgrading programs. John was expert witness to Canadian House of Commons and Senate Committees on Energy and Sustainability.
He is a board director of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada, a guest director of the Alberta Chamber of Resources, and a steering committee member of Clean Resource Innovation Network. He was an Energy Futures Lab Fellow. John was the recipient of the 2018 PTAC President’s Award.
He has a B.Sc. from Jilin University (China) and a PhD from the University of Western Ontario.
Find John on LinkedIn.