Board of Directors & Staff
Since 2009, Denis Leclerc is President and CEO of Écotech Québec, representing the Québec cleantech cluster. He is also Chairman of Canada Cleantech, and Chairman of the International Cleantech Network, based in Copenhagen (Denmark).
During his 20 years in the natural resources sector, Mr. Leclerc held several senior management positions, namely Vice-President Sustainability and Environment for AbitibiBowater, a global forest products corporation. Mr. Leclerc has been involved of many projects and strategic decisions for companies with operations in Canada, the United-States, Europe and Asia. He has proven experience in issue management, public affairs, sustainable development and in relation with investors, socio-economic players, governments and media.
Highly involved in the community, Mr. Leclerc sits on the Board of Directors of Ecofuel, the Québec Cleantech Accelerator and of COOP Carbone; on the Executive Committee of SWITCH, the Alliance for a Green Economy; on the Community Advisory Board of Aéroports de Montréal, and on the Québec Advisory Committee of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change. In addition to being a Chartered Director, Mr. Leclerc holds an MBA from the Université de Sherbrooke.
Peter McArthur is a seasoned commercial/corporate banker with a diverse background. A keen supporter of the cleantech sector in Canada, Peter holds the position of VP Technology and Innovation Banking and National Cleantech Lead at RBCx, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Peter is a subject matter expert within the bank, as well as a speaker and advocate for the sector. He works with a wide variety of cleantech companies, ranging from early stage commercializing businesses to small public companies. In 2019, Peter was recognized as a cleantech leader by Canada’s Clean50. He was also recognized by RBC in both 2017 and 2020 as a Conference Award winner—a distinction reserved for the bank’s top 1% of performers. Peter is Chair of the Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association (OCTIA) and on the Board of the CanadaCleantech Alliance.
David Yiptong is Regional Director, Alberta at Foresight. Technology development, commercialization and community engagement have been at the heart of David’s recent work. He has worked with hundreds of technology startups and entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses and connecting them with resources and supports in the community. Their successes are what drives David’s passion for the sector in Calgary and Alberta.
David brings a wide range of experience having worked in startups, large corporations, and not-for-profits, in industries ranging from manufacturing, energy, and telecommunications. He continues to volunteer to coach students and entrepreneurs through various programs in Calgary.
Ivette Vera-Perez is the President & CEO of the Canadian Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association. She has over 15 years of experience in the cleantech and environmental technologies sector. Her expertise spans from business development to site engineering, operations, and financing. She holds a Master of Applied Science from the University of British Columbia, and an MBA from McGill University.
Before joining the CHFCA, Ms. Vera-Perez was the National Team Lead for Mitacs’s Account Management group and directed a multidisciplinary group of account managers across Canada with the mandate of helping industry secure top talent to advance innovation. She also previously served as the Manager for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction programs at the Ontario Centres of Innovation, where she managed over $275 million in program funding. Ivette also serves on the board of the Ontario Clean Technologies Industry Association (OCTIA).
Joe Allen is the Managing Director of Energia Ventures. He is an entrepreneurial expert and a financial guru. Prior to leading accelerator programs, Joe worked as the Director of Investments at the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) managing their venture capital portfolio and overseeing the development of new investment clients. He spent time in various management positions within the Government of New Brunswick economic development sector and worked as the Chief Financial Officer of HJ Crabbe & Sons Ltd. Joe received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of New Brunswick; where he served as student union vice-president of university affairs. He received his Chartered Accountant designation in 2004. In his private time, Joe serves as a community volunteer firefighter and designs and builds custom furniture.
Merran Smith is a fellow at the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, and the founder and chief innovation officer of Clean Energy Canada—a leading think tank advancing clean energy and climate solutions. Merran serves as co-chair of the B.C. government’s Climate Solutions Council, a member of the independent Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, and a Canadian representative of the C3E International Ambassador Corps. Her 2018 work as co-chair of Natural Resources Canada’s Generation Energy Council helped ideas from a diverse group of stakeholders coalesce into recommendations that will shape Canada’s energy future. For most of her career, Merran has worked to unite industry, government, and civil society organizations to solve pressing social and ecological challenges. Her leadership in the landmark Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement helped ensure the protection of thousands of kilometres of coastal ecosystem. Merran has received numerous leadership distinctions, including being named to Vancouver Magazine’s 2020 Power 50 List, winning the 2019 SFU President’s Social Media Newsmaker Award, Clean Energy BC’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, the Vancouver Board of Trade’s 2016 Wendy McDonald Community Catalyst award, and the Clean 16 award in 2014 for leadership in clean capitalism.
Stewart Elgie is professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa, and director of the University’s interdisciplinary Environment Institute. He received his Masters of Law from Harvard, and his doctorate (J.S.D.) from Yale. He is also the founder and chair of Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly Sustainable Prosperity), Canada’s premiere green economy think tank and policy-research network. His research involves environmental and economic sustainability, with a particular focus in recent years on market-based approaches.
Elgie started his career as an environmental lawyer in Alaska, litigating over the Valdez oil spill. He returned to Canada and founded Ecojustice, now Canada’s largest non-profit environmental law organization; he was counsel on many precedent setting cases, including four wins in Supreme Court of Canada on constitution and environment issues. He was later hired by Pew Trusts as founding executive director of the multi-stakeholder Canadian Boreal Initiative. Prior to his faculty position at University of Ottawa (2004), Elgie held appointments at several Canadian universities (U.B.C., Alberta, York). He has served on or chaired many advisory bodies in the environment/sustainability area. In 2001, Elgie was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal for exceptional lifetime contributions to law – the youngest man ever to receive the profession’s highest honour.
Jason Switzer joined Foresight as Senior VP Growth and Capital in April 2021 when ACTia joined forces with Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. Today he serves as Director of Carbontech at Carbon Management Canada, a joint-venture with Foresight. Before that, Jason had been ACTia’s Executive Director since April 2016. He had taken the position after over 15 years in international development and corporate environmental management with positions including leading the Pembina Institute’s national sustainability consulting team, and championing environmental excellence and greenhouse gas leadership at Cenovus Energy Inc. and Shell Canada’s Oil Sands. Prior to this Jason provided consulting to a range of conservation and development agencies on natural resource-intensive business in conflict zones. Today, Jason is vice chair of the Clean Resources Innovation Network, a founding director at Biological Carbon Canada, and a member of the CSA Committee on Transition and Sustainable Finance. Jason holds master’s degrees in environmental engineering and in public policy from MIT and is a Harvard-trained environmental mediator, a Clean 50 recipient, an alumnus of Leadership Calgary, and a fellow at the World Commission on Dams.
Maike Althaus is the Executive Director of Canada Cleantech Alliance as well as of the Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association (OCTIA). In this double role, she advocates for Canada’s cleantech companies to address the sector’s key challenges: access to capital, markets and customers. Maike has a background in global brand building and growth communications and extensive experience leading and managing integrated communications initiatives in North America and Europe. Through her work, Maike mitigates risk for all parties whether it is reputational, financial or political.
Maike has been working in the global cleantech sector for more than 15 years. In 2011, she joined a global wind energy company that had just set up their North American operations in Montreal. As their Communications Director, she built the company’s brand across North America and supported its growth. Maike is fluent in French, English and German. She has been communicating in Germany, Canada and the U.S. for global companies such as Senvion, Veolia Water, Viessmann, E.ON and BNP Paribas Cardif as well as for governments, politicians and not-for-profits.