John Swaan

John, often called “the grandfather of North American wood pellets,” is widely recognized as one of the leading experts in the wood pellet sector. John’s experience, wisdom, and history in pellet manufacturing is legendary. In 1994, John founded Pacific BioEnergy Corporation located in Prince George, British Columbia, where he successfully established one of Canada’s leading wood pellet exporters. In 1996, John was instrumental in establishing the Wood Pellet Association of Canada and served as its executive director from 2005-2009. He manufactured and shipped the first ever transatlantic shipment of pellets from North America (to Sweden) in 1997. John brings a broad range of wisdom and skills key to the sector from forest management, to pellet manufacturing, to logistics optimization, to negotiating shipping contracts. John is the recipient of the 2014 Founders Award at the International Biomass Conference. John was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2023 Argus Biomass conference in London.

Jeff Knapp

Jeff Knapp is a Senior Program Officer for the Clean Energy in Indigenous, Rural and Remote Communities Program Bioheat Stream in the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. He is passionate about sustainable development, and in particular, the enthusiastic promotion of renewable energy. He is keen on promoting renewable energy technologies to the Canadian commercial, industrial and institutional sectors.

Jeff received degrees in music and education from Queens University. He has been with Natural Resources Canada since 2001 in a variety of roles.

Andrea Johnston

Andrea is the SVP North America Capital Development at Drax, responsible for leading the development of the company’s business development and wood pellet supply strategy in North America. Andrea joined Drax as part of the 2021 acquisition of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. where she was CFO of the TSX listed public company. Her responsibilities included finance, treasury, investor relations, internal control and strategy.

Prior to joining the Pinnacle team to drive the 2018 initial public offering, Andrea was CFO for the Natural Resources industry group for Dassault Systemes, Europe’s second largest software company. She was previously CEO of an energy technology start-up that she sold to Areva T&D.

Andrea is a Board member of Science World, a charitable non-profit and science centre based in Vancouver, BC that engages learners across the province in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design and math).

She is also a Board member of the Bloom Group, a not-for-profit with a vision for strong and resilient communities where all persons have adequate housing and health care. Andrea previously sat on the CPA Canada Advisory Board for Sustainable Business. She was named B.C. CFO of the Year for Large Public Companies in 2020.

Andrea and her husband Mike enjoy travel and many sports including downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and tennis. Her daughter Lauren is a software engineer in San Francisco and her daughter Gabrielle is a biomedical PhD student at Imperial College in London.

Bill Laturnus

Mr. Bill Laturnus is a Senior Safety Advisor, Manufacturing at the British Columbia Forest Safety Council (BCFSC). Bill has extensive experience in sawmill operations, and as a proponent of Process Safety Management (PSM), supports the incorporation of practical applications of PSM at wood pellet worksites. Bill has recently conducted key safety activities focusing on risk reduction of hazards in wood pellet operations (WPAC). Bill also has 13 years of experience auditing Safety Management Systems (SMS) in forest products manufacturing.

Dr. Bruce Lourie

Co-author of the international bestseller Slow Death by Rubber Duck, Dr. Bruce Lourie is one of Canada’s most influential and widely respected problem solvers working on climate, energy, and sustainability. He has been instrumental in the creation of more than a dozen organizations that play critical roles in sustainability around the world, and initiated the largest climate action in North America — phasing out coal in Ontario. Speaking on topics such as getting to net zero, energy systems transition, the role of ESG and sustainable finance, toxic pollution, non-profit leadership, and more, Lourie translates complex issues into timely and actionable information.

Lourie is currently the president of the Ivey Foundation. Under his leadership, it has grown into one of Canada’s largest and most influential climate solutions organizations with a $100-million commitment. Lourie is credited with creating the largest grouping of “solution partnerships” to solve climate change, working on net-zero buildings, electricity systems, electric vehicles, affordable energy, and more. These partnerships include leading businesses, government agencies, Indigenous leaders, and labour and NGO voices.

As an in-demand speaker, Lourie speaks regularly at business, government, academic, sustainability, and philanthropic gatherings around the world. He’s presented at events as diverse as the Canadian Energy Roundtable, Institute for Corporate Directors, Public Policy Forum, C.D. Howe Institute, City of Calgary, Canadian Fuels Association, Canadian Energy Research Institute, the Koli Forum in Finland, the Women’s Health Forum in Pittsburgh, the Paris Cosmetics Summit on Sustainable Cosmetics, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Mexico City, the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Association, and the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Lourie sits on the boards of several organizations including the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, Canadians for Clean Prosperity, and the SeedChange Foundation. He is also the chair of the Transition Accelerator, a senior fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Finance, guest lecturer at the University of Oxford’s Social Finance Program, and a contributing writer to the National Observer. Lourie is a former director of the Independent Electricity System Operator, the Ontario Power Authority, and the Trillium Foundation, and was the founder of many for- profit and non-profit organizations including Summerhill Group and Efficiency Canada.

Mark Puglas

Mark Puglas is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations located on Vancouver Island British Columbia.

As the Director of Indigenous Engagement and Partnerships at Drax, Mark is committed to creating meaningful connections with First Nations organizations and establishing long-term relationships in the local communities where we operate, work, live and play.

With over 25 years in the lumber, mining and wood pellet industries, Mark brings a strong record of safety leadership, team building and production achievements. His strong communication, leadership, and organizational talents have led to the development of an extensive network of contacts and stakeholders.

Having been with Drax for over 7 years, Mark has progressed through the company, holding Yard & WESP Supervisor, Senior Team Lead, and Plant Manager positions to his now current role as Director of Indigenous Engagements and Partnerships.

Mark’s focus is to work with Indigenous leaders and Industry to further the sustainability goals of both Drax and the Indigenous groups across the company’s footprint, looking for opportunities that support our plans to be climate, nature, and people positive.

Glenn Hargrove

Glenn Hargrove is the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada, leading federal policy, science and program work across the forest sector. Prior to his current role, Glenn served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Fuels Sector, the Strategic Petroleum Policy and Investment Office, and the Major Projects Management Office. He also served as Director of Operations, Economic and Regional Development Policy at the Privy Council Office and held senior positions at NRCan in the Canadian Forest Service and Strategic Policy & Results Sector, as well as FPInnovations, a not-for-profit forest sector R&D organization.

Glenn Hargrove est le sous-ministre adjoint du Service canadien des forêts de Ressources naturelles Canada (RNCan). Il est chargé de diriger les travaux fédéraux relatifs à l’élaboration des politiques, de la science et des programmes dans l’ensemble du secteur forestier. Avant d’exercer ses fonctions actuelles, Glenn était sous-ministre adjoint du secteur des carburants, du Bureau de la politique stratégique et de l’investissement en matière d’hydrocarbures, de même que du Bureau de gestion des grands projets. Il a également été directeur des opérations, Politique du développement économique et régional au Bureau du Conseil privé. De plus, il a occupé des postes supérieurs à RNCan au sein du Service canadien des forêts, dans le Secteur de la politique stratégique et des résultats, ainsi qu’à FPInnovations, un organisme de recherche-développement à but non lucratif du secteur forestier.

Terrence Sauvé, M.Sc., P,Eng.

Terrence Sauvé, M.Sc., P,Eng., Farmstead Optimization and Safety Engineer, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has worked with a mandate for the past 12 years to increase resource efficiency and competitiveness of farming and agri-food operations and to make safer farm machinery. Terrence has been heavily involved in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, such as solid biofuel production, on-farm biogas systems and biomass heating and power projects and works with multiple national and international standards development organizations. He is currently chairing WG2 Central Heating Systems for CSA B415.1.

Erisa Senerdem

Erisa Senerdem is editor of the Argus Biomass Report at global price-reporting agency Argus Media. She has been with Argus for over nine years, where she previously covered power, natural gas, coal and petroleum coke markets. Prior to Argus, she has worked as a researcher, university lecturer, journalist and a parliamentary consultant for EU legislation. She holds a Ph.D. in economics, with a special focus on the energy field.

Gianni Spinelli

With over 16 years in the UK energy industry, Gianni began his career working with some of the largest UK corporates to manage their gas and electricity portfolios. Following this he moved into the Renewables sector and spent a decade structuring PPAs and leading sales teams in the UK wholesale power market. Gianni now heads up Drax’s Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Origination team where he is responsible for sourcing CDR offtake agreements and promoting Drax and BECCS in the wider Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). Last year, Gianni concluded one of the largest CDR deals to date with a proposed 2 million tonne sale to Respira.