Our Senior Management Team

Dr. Michael Mahon, Chief Executive Officer 

With over 35 years of experience in Alberta and Manitoba’s post-secondary sectors, Dr. Michael (Mike) Mahon brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of research and innovation leadership to Alberta Innovates as the CEO.

President of the University of Lethbridge for 13 years, Dr. Mahon spearheaded the University’s largest capital campaign, during his tenure, for construction of the Science Commons, a major science and innovation facility.

Before his appointment in Lethbridge, Dr. Mahon served as a Dean at the University of Alberta for 10 years during which time he also served in a dual role of Chair of the Health Sciences Council. Prior to that Dr. Mahon led a Health and Sport Performance Research Institute at the University of Manitoba and served as an Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Dr. Mahon has contributed leadership provincially and nationally including as Chair of Universities Canada. His own research is focused in Disability Studies and Health and has been funded by federal and provincial granting agencies along with foundations and federal and provincial governments.

In 2012, the Kainai Nation honored him with a Blackfoot name, iipisowaahsiiyi, for his work with Indigenous communities. He received the Queen’s Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals. Dr. Mahon holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.Sc. from the University of Alberta, and a B.P.E. from the University of Manitoba.

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: 

  • Public campaigns to foster understanding of priorities, programs and impacts. 
  • Social and media scanning to inform ongoing stakeholder relationships. 
  • Internal communications to engage employees around a values-based culture. 
  • Omni-media channels and content to provide optimal client and business marketing utility. 

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. 

Tina Giesbrecht, Interim General Counsel 

Bio coming soon. 

Robert Lai, Vice President, Investments

Robert has extensive experience in executive positions with Bell West, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, Fujitsu Consulting and 3Pillar Global, where he built, nurtured and led high performance teams to success in sales and business development.

He has leveraged strategic partnerships to implement proven and fiscally prudent solutions and help governments achieve their digital transformation objectives.

Robert was part of the team in Advanced Education and Technology that developed the Bringing Technology to Market Action Plan in 2008, the precursor to many of the programs that are delivered by the Alberta Innovates Entrepreneurial Investments team today. During his time as Executive Director, Technology Industry Development, he also reported to the ICT Institute Board that was responsible for the province’s Information, Communication and Technology Strategy. A major initiative of the ICT Institute was the creation of Tecterra (the Geomatics Centre of Excellence).

He was instrumental in securing funding for the Alberta Ingenuity Machine Learning Centre, the predecessor to Amii. Over the course of his career, he has established a consistent track record of sales achievement and investment attraction that has positively impacted government services and Alberta’s priority sectors.

Robert is best known for bringing SuperNet to Alberta – creating a powerful consortium of Alberta companies along with Bell Canada to enable the implementation of high-speed internet to 422 communities throughout Alberta.

Find Robert 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: 

  • provided oversight of Bio, Clean Energy, and Health business lines, as well as InnoTech Alberta; 
  • established the Integration Management Office, a temporary initiative to drive key corporate integration and transformation projects; and 
  • conducted the operational review and realignment of InnoTech Alberta. 

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: 

  • oversaw financial and regulatory requirements of the ATCO Electrical Distribution Division and provided strategic direction to 3,000 employees; 
  • directed implementation of a new financial management system, payroll centralization, and adoption of international financial reporting standards; 
  • led the overall business plan cycle, including the development of corporate strategies and financial targets. 

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: 

  • C.H.I.L.D. Foundation; 
  • Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability; and 
  • Movember Foundation. 

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. 

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 (PTAC), a guest director of the Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR), and a board director and steering committee co-vice chair of Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN). He was an Energy Futures Lab Fellow. In 2023, John was recognized by the Alberta Chamber of Resources with the Technology and Innovation Leadership Award. John was also 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. 

Organizational Development 

Currently recruiting.