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Vertical Neighbourhoods Summit: Speaker Biographies

KEYNOTE SPEAKER 

Douglas Farr
Founding Principal and President, Farr Associates

Douglas Farr is an architect, urbanist, author, and passionate advocate for sustainable design thinking. He was the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-ND Core Committee and has served on the boards of urban sustainability organizations including the Congress for New Urbanism, Bioregional, EcoDistricts, and Elevate Energy. He heads Farr Associates, a Chicago-based firm that plans and designs sustainable and aspirational buildings and places.

Douglas is the author of the books "Sustainable Urbanism" and "Sustainable Nation". In 2017, Planetizen readers named him one of “the 100 most influential urbanists of all time.

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER: SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES IN A VERTICAL CITY

Ada Fung
Director, World Green Building Council & Hong Kong Green Building Council

Ms. Ada Fung is an architect by profession. She is an active member in the architectural field as well as in the construction industry in Hong Kong. She is now the Director of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC).

In her career as Deputy Director of Housing until end 2017, she has supervised the Development & Construction Division of the Housing Department, overseeing all facets of public housing development work in Hong Kong. Her duties cover overseeing project management, planning, design and contract management, as well as establishing operational policies on procurement, design, construction, quality, performance assessment, dispute resolution, research and development, safety and the environment. She also promotes partnering, value management, risk management, ethical integrity, site safety, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, community engagement, green building and Building Information Modeling and product certification in the industry.

She is the Past President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (2013 - 2014), past Chairperson of the APEC Architect Monitoring Committee of Hong Kong (2012/13 - 2015/16), and past Chairperson of the Architects Registration Board (2010/11 - 2011/12). She is Chairperson of the Committee on Building Information Modeling, and Past Chairperson of the Committee on Construction Safety (2016 & 2017) of the Construction Industry Council of Hong Kong. She is the President of the Lighthouse Club (HK).

SESSION 1: BIG IDEAS - COMMUNITY-SCALE

District Energy Systems
Catherine Thorn
Director, Community Energy Planning, Enwave Energy Corporation

Catherine is the Director, Community Energy Planning at Enwave. She is a Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager with a degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business. Her team at Enwave is responsible for developing new, low-carbon district energy systems across Enwave’s North American platform. Prior to joining Enwave, Catherine led strategic energy services for Golder Associate’s Energy Planning and Design Team. She has also published an article on “Creating Competitive Advantage in a Carbon-Constrained World”; led training workshops on Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program; guest lectured for a masters of engineering energy management class; and delivered energy management training on behalf of the Canadian Federal Government.


 

Microclimate & Human Comfort
Gonçalo Pedro
Associate & Project Consultant, RWDI

Dr. Goncalo Pedro joined RWDI in 2009 where he currently serves as a building performance and masterplanning consultant in Toronto. In his role he leverages computational approaches to analyze the impact of local climate on the urban environment. Dr. Pedro advises on a variety of issues such as outdoor thermal comfort, wind comfort, solar performance, urban heat island, walkability, natural ventilation, resilience, sustainability and renewable energy to name a few. He has worked on projects on every continent and in a variety of climate zones for multiple building types. These include everything from large city-sized master plans to museums and stadia. Dr. Pedro is currently working with Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto to design and create outdoor comfort guidelines for Quayside and the Port Lands.

Urban Design & Mental Health
Colin Ellard
Director at Urban Realities Laboratory, University of Waterloo

Colin Ellard is a professor of psychology, specializing in cognitive neuroscience, at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Ellard received his BSc in psychology and philosophy at the University of Toronto and his doctorate in biopsychology at Western University. After spending the early part of his career working on basic problems in visual perception and neuroscience, he later turned his attention to exploration of the human relationship with built settings. He is particularly interested in understanding the emotional effects of architectural settings, which he explores in both field settings and in synthetic environments using immersive virtual reality. Ellard’s current projects include exploration of the contribution of peripheral vision to architectural atmosphere, architectural contributions to the emotion of awe, and physiological stress in high-density urban environments.  

Ellard is an advisory board member of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, science advisor for the consultancy Hume.Space, and a Salzburg Global Fellow.  He has written two books for general audiences: Where Am I (HarperCollins 2009) and Places of the Heart (2015).


SESSION 2: PANEL DISCUSSION - INFRASTRUCTURAL INNOVATIONS AT A DISTRICT-SCALE 

PANELISTS

Hugh Clark
Executive VP of Development, Allied Properties

Hugh is the Executive Vice President, Development at Allied Properties REIT and is responsible for overseeing value creation projects for Allied. Prior to joining Allied, he spent many years working for an award-winning architectural firm in Toronto. Hugh has worked as a licensed architect in both Ontario and Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Harvard University.


Nadia Yen
Director of Green Development, First Gulf

Nadia is the Director of Green Development for the East Harbour development with First Gulf. Nadia is a licensed Professional Engineer with the province of Ontario, a WELL Accredited Professional, a certified Enviornmental Professional with EcoCanada and an accredited professional with EcoDistricts. She has over a decade of experiene in sustainable and resilient engineering design and construction. As lead for East Harbour's green development, her focus is to ensure thatthe infrastructure for East Harbour is built smart, efficient, adaptable and effective. She is also a panel participant for the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe program, United for Smart Sustainable Cities, working on the Fuidelines on Stratefies for Circular Cities and the City Science Application Frameworks.


Kristina Mlakar
National Operations Manager & Project Lead, Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC)

Kristina Mlakar is a National Operations Manager and Project Lead with CUTRIC, based in Toronto. She is currently responsible for managing the internal operations of CUTRIC to create unison across the national team. Ms. Mlakar is also leading the National Smart Vehicle Demonstration Project; she has a keen interest in autonomous and connected vehicle technologies and concomitantly focused her Master's research on the topic. In addition, Ms. Mlakar is working to build up CUTRIC's social media platforms and presence to broadcast innovative low-carbon smart mobility solutions showcased locally and globally to spur conversations around the topic. She previously worked as a Research Assistant with the McMaster Research Group for Stable Isotopologues, and completed her undergraduate thesis in stable isotope geochemistry and paleoclimatology.

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Julia St. Michael
Director of Sustainability Engagement, Enwave

Julia joined Enwave in 2017 as the company’s first director of sustainability engagement. Through connecting with government and policy makers, commercial real estate professionals, building operators and managers plus supporting organizations (such as the Canada Green Building Council), Julia represents Enwave within the green building and sustainable energy community, identifying new opportunities for projects and partnerships. Responsible for communicating the sustainability benefits of district energy and supporting the development of low carbon strategies, Julia works with multiple teams to address climate change-related risks within Enwave’s operations and new projects. 
 
Previously, Julia was the Director of Research and Sustainability with the Real Property Association of Canada (REALPAC).  Julia developed and implemented the association's various research and sustainability initiatives and chaired both the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Committee and Research Advisory Committee.

SESSION 3: SPEAKER SERIES & MINI PANEL - THE GREAT RETAIL STREET

Panelists:
Denis Gervais
President, GHA Design

Denis co-founded GH+A, formerly known as Gervais Harding Associates, in 1985.  A graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture, Denis has over 45 years of experience in the retail design industry. His commitment to producing successful retail environments through thoughtful design and comprehensive market understanding has been consistently recognized by the design industry for creative innovation. Denis has a long list of professional career achievements including holding the position of Professor of Design at Dawson College, Montreal, where he also served as Chairman of the Interior Design Department. Denis is a frequent lecturer and panel judge at various international forums and design competitions.  Through innovative design, Denis has brought retail success to innumerable retailers and property owners and has made an invaluable contribution to the retail design industry.

Denis’ current projects include strategy and programming of Toronto's Union Station retail component as well as the major mixed-use development of True North in Winnipeg.  Recent mixed-use planning projects include Downtown Markham urban town centre and the redevelopment of Halifax Seaport Lands, cruise terminal and adjacent properties.   


Tyler Gilchrist
Vice President of Deisgn Research & Strategy, Figure3

Tyler is VP of Design Research & Strategy at figure3, the Toronto-based firm that has developed a reputation for designing exceptional workplaces, retail and residential spaces. He’s been studying applied design research methods for close to two decades while working with a diverse group of architecture, design and research firms. At figure3, he leverages the new science of how we experience the built environment to help designers and their clients better understand the people they design for.


SESSION 4: PANEL DISCUSSION - BUILDING COMMUNITY AND RESILIENCE IN HIGH RISE DWELLINGS

PANELISTS:

Graeme Stewart
Principal, ERA Architects

Graeme is a registered architect and planner and is a Principal at ERA Architects. Graeme has been involved in numerous urban design, cultural planning, conservation and architecture projects with particular focus on neighbourhood design and regional sustainability. Graeme was a key initiator of the Tower Renewal Project. This initiative in modern heritage and community reinvestment examines the future of Toronto’s remarkable stock of modern tower neighbourhoods in collaboration with the United Way, City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, University of Toronto, and other partners.

Graeme is also the co-editor of Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies. He is a regular lecturer in the Toronto Area’s Universities and Colleges and has been a sessional instructor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto. Graeme is a founding director of the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R), an urban research organization formed by ERA and planningAlliance in 2009. In 2010, he was recipient of an RAIC National Urban Design Award for his ongoing research and design work related to Tower Renewal, and in 2014 received the Jane Jacobs Prize.


Julian McNabb
Senior Director of New Community Development, FirstService Residential Ontario

In this predominantly consultant based role, Julian works closely with many of Ontario's top condominium developers to facilitate bringing prospective projects to market. With his extensive knowledge, Julian is often called upon by solicitors, developers, designers, surveyors and architects for advice and input for pricing, layouts, functionality and operational design. Julian helps to implement FirstService Residential’s high standards by refusing to compromise value, service and quality for price. In addition, maintaining the integrity of the vision of the community without settling for mediocrity or cutting corners is of utmost importance.  He understands the quality of the resident experience enhances what our brand stands for. 

Over the years at FirstService Residential, Julian has had the opportunity to have been a frequent speaker and presenter at LandPro, Realtor Quest and BILD events and has served on the CCI-Toronto Chapter board of directors on the communications committee. Having the well rounded experience of his extensive background, from hospitality to property management and initial project budgeting, Julian is looking forward to the new changing condominium industry and being part of the market leadership team.


Blair Feltmate
Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation

Blair is Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. Previous positions Blair has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, OPG; and Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management.  Blair has written textbooks on environmental science, banking and sustainable development. He is generally interviewed by the media 100-150 times per year.  He Chairs the development of two adaptation Standards for the Canadian Standards Association, and he is Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation and Resilience Results. 

 
Mike Mulqueen
Lead, CDM Business Development, Toronto Hydro

Mike leads energy conservation for Toronto Hydro’s Commercial and Multi-Unit Residential Sectors, managing a team of energy experts to help customers reduce and control their energy costs through efficiency projects. From 2011-2014, he managed Toronto Hydro’s low-income conservation program and chaired the province’s low-income conservation working group while managing various key account, stakeholder and municipal government relationships. 

Prior to joining Toronto Hydro, Mike was a Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Toronto and helped to develop and implement the City’s green building policies, Sustainable Energy Strategy and Climate Change Plan.  He is a Certified Energy Manager, holds a Master of Urban Planning Degree from McGill University and a combined Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Economics from McMaster University.


SESSION 5: BIG IDEAS - BUILDING-SCALE
The Future of Zero Carbon Buildings
Luka Matutinovic
Co-Founder & Principal, Purpose Buiding

Luka is a Partner at Purpose Building, a firm dedicated to accelerating real estate towards planet-positive pathways, including health & well-being, decarbonization and creating value in emergent circular economies. Luka’s expertise sits at the intersection of design, engineering and analytics. His ability to see the forest and the trees helps him build bridges between decision-makers and data. By improving how people collaborate, investing in human intelligence and making technical solutions more meaningful, he drives value-creation at the project, team and organizational levels. Luka is an active industry contributor, having served as past Vice-President of the Canadian Chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association and assisted with the development of ASHRAE Standard 209 for the Energy-Simulation Aided Design for Buildings.  

Green Infrastrucutre: Tall Buildings as Trees

Jenny Hill
Research Scientist,Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

Jen Hill is the Research Scientist of the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), where she is primary author to the current guide for the design of low impact development (LID) stormwater management strategies. She is a member of the STEP professional training team, an expert panelist for Sustainable Buildings Canada, and an adjunct professor at University of Toronto. She wrote her PhD in water resources engineering at the University of Toronto, after Master’s degrees and several years of work experience in both Landscape Architecture and Forensic Science.


DESIGNING FOR FAMILIES

Jeanhy Shim
CEO & Founder, Housing Lab Toronto

Jeanhy has been working in the real estate development industry for the past 25 years, providing strategic market analysis, advice and innovative solutions to leading developers, financial institutions and consultants in the Toronto GTA. Her experience spans the full spectrum of residential real estate development, including land acquisition, market research and feasibility analysis, strategic planning and positioning, product design and development, sales and marketing strategy and sales execution. In 2013, she founded Housing Lab Toronto – an independent housing market research firm that specializes in finding untapped market opportunities, using intelligent design to optimize development opportunities and mitigate market risks, and implementing creative solutions to challenging and complicated sites.

Recognizing the early signs of a 'downtown baby-boom', she launched an innovative children's museum pilot project in 2015 called Children's Discovery Centre, in order to better understand the unrealized need and opportunities for family-friendly amenities in our growing city. Earlier this year, she founded The Play Collective - a multi- disciplinary planning group dedicated to improving urban life for children and youth by integrating their needs and aspirations in the design of our cities. In her community, Jeanhy serves on the Board of Waterfront Toronto, as well as the Board of ULI Toronto. 


SESSION 6: PANEL DISCUSSION - REALIZING INNOVATION IN HIGH RISE RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

Panelists:
Jenny McMinn
Managing Director, Urban Equation

As Managing Director of Urban Equation, Jenny leads the Real Estate and Sustainability consulting practice. Prior to joining Urban Equation, for nearly a decade at Halsall Associates (now WSP), Jenny led design teams, municipalities and building owners in the creation of award winning high performance green building and community design projects. With her experience in sustainable architecture, performance management and business modeling, she has led teams with multidisciplinary stakeholders and consultants on a range of cutting edge green projects including those targeting One Planet Living, Living Building Challenge, The WELL standard and LEED Platinum. Jenny’s leadership in Sustainable Design was recognized in 2014 through her nomination to the City of Toronto’s Design Review Panel.
 

Aaron Knight
Vice President of High Rise, Great Gulf

Aaron is the Vice President, High Rise at Great Gulf with more than 14 years experience in development industry, Aaron oversees and directly manages a number of  high rise condominium and mixed-used development projects across Canada and the United States. He manages the Development Management team in the High Rise division with a focus on ensuring milestones and objectives are met, while maintaining consistency in approach across all projects. 
 
Aaron’s experience in Private Sector real estate development is extensive and wide-ranging. Primarily focused on complex mixed-use urban developments with a high rise component, his expertise also includes commercial and single-family residential development in the suburban context. He was a Development Manager at Streetcar Developments where he developed 14 projects with over 2.8 million square feet of mixed use projects featuring retail, office, hotel and multifamily components and over 2,700 condominium units. As Manager of Planning and Development at Hayes Line Group, he focused on boutique infill commercial and residential projects across the Greater Toronto Area.

Adrian Wang
Director of Innovation & Sustainability, Tridel Group of Companies

Adrian Wang started his career at the Minto Green Team assisting with their sustainability business plans, LEED consultancy and documentation.  Adrian was instrumental towards achieving LEED Gold accreditation for Minto Midtown, one of the largest multi unit residential LEED buildings at the time.  Having been promoted through various positions, he eventually transitioned to the construction team working with their Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) division.  After a period of 6 years, he took over the MEP team, consisting of 2 senior project managers, an assistant supervisor and coordinator. 

Last year, he was approached for a Director position with Tridel, overseeing their construction R&D initiatives and sustainability plans.


Subhi Alsayed
Vice President of Sustainable Development, Mattamy Homes

Subhi is a sustainable smart buildings expert and a driver of innovation, digital transformation, and technology adoption in the real-estate industry. Throughout his career, Subhi has focused on building strong business case for change, and finding innovative ways of introducing and 'de-risking' new methods and technologies. 
 
Subhi is Mattamy’s Vice President of Sustainable Development, working with the leadership team to develop and implement strategies for Mattamy’s smart sustainable communities. Mattamy’s sustainability strategy mitigates the impact on the society, the economy, and the ecosystem around us, and most importantly, it manifests itself in the industry leadership role Mattamy plays.  This vision of innovation and sustainability is synonymous with quality of life, health and wellness, resilience, and inclusivity.     

Prior to Mattamy, Subhi was the head of innovation at Tridel, Ontario’s largest high-rise developer, and the Director of Projects at TowerLabs, a Tridel and MaRS Discovery District initiative to explore the viability of various clean technologies in real world multi-residential buildings. Subhi also co-founded netZED, net zero energy dwelling, the first branded net zero energy concept in high-rise living in Ontario. 


 
 
 
 
 

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