Joe Martini, MBA, LL.B., B.Sc.

Joe Martini WebDirector, GE Innovation Centre

Zone Startups Calgary

Joe currently leads Zone Startups Calgary, an energy technology accelerator co-founded by General Electric Canada (“GE”) and Ryerson University.  Zone’s mandate is to identify and accelerate energy technologies that benefit GE’s innovation mandate, the Alberta energy economy and the Alberta innovation ecosystem.    

Mr. Martini is an entrepreneurial business and legal professional possessing a multi-disciplined education and executive leadership experience in accounting and legal professional service firms as well as private and junior public companies within the information technology, O&G, energy technology, and real estate industries.   Joe is an active angel investor and currently serves as a director/advisor to a number of organizations.   Joe holds a Mechanical Engineering degree as well as a Law and MBA degree.


John (Jack) Saddler, PhD

Professor of Forest Products Biotechnology / Bioenergy,
University of British Columbia

John (Jack) Saddler, PhD is the endowed Professor of Forest Products Biotechnology / Bioenergy (originally an NSERC Industry Chair) and Dean Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has received many other awards such as the 2016 Linneborn award from the European Bioenergy Organization, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO’s) Scientific Achievement Award, the Charles D. Scott award for contributions to the field of “Biotechnology for fuels and Chemicals”, the British Columbia Life Sciences Leadership award and the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s (CRFA’s) Green Fuels Industry Award, presented to an individual for outstanding dedication to the advancement of renewable fuels in Canada. His work is highly cited (H-index of 80, 22766 citations), he has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, several books, holds several patents and is a regular reviewer/advisor for agencies such as the US Dept. of Energy, USDA, NSERC, World Bank, etc. He has aided organizations such as Vinnova in Sweden with their Vinnvaxt “cluster” program and is on the advisory board of the Finnish Luke Stakeholder Advisory Board (StAB) for the Boreal Green Bioeconomy ( He has trained/supervised more than 99 graduate students/Post Docs and Research Associates, many of whom are currently employed in senior positions in industry, government and academia. He currently leads a research group of about 20 Research Associates, Post Docs and graduate students. Outside of the research setting, Professor Saddler has advised policy-makers at the highest levels provincially, nationally and internationally. Nationally, his influence extends to such bodies as the Science Directorate of the Canadian Forest Service, the Canadian Council of Forests Ministers, and the National Roundtable on Economy and Environment. Internationally, he has contributed significantly to the work of agencies such as VTT, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the US DoE, USDA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) Paris. He has acted as the Co-Task Leader of the Liquid Biofuels network of IEA Bioenergy. He was recently on sabbatical at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris where he was based in the Renewable Energy Division. He is a member of the Markus Wallenberg Prize selection committee, the forest sectors Nobel Prize.

John Brown

Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Innovation Division,
Government of Alberta

As Assistant Deputy Minister of the Science and Innovation Division in the Government of Alberta, John Brown and his team work to provide leadership and expertise to enable the economic, social and environmental success of Albertans through targeted investments in research, innovation and commercialization.

The Division is a lead funder and proponent of government’s research and development activities, promoting and encouraging the commercialization of innovative products and processes and leveraging leading-edge research to solve pressing industry challenges. The Division also creates and expands technology partnerships and collaboration with international jurisdictions, multinational industry partners, post-secondary institutions and Alberta’s small and medium-sized businesses, to position Alberta as a world-class destination for research, innovation, and commercialization.

Serving in the Alberta government for over 30 years, John has a broad experience base in applied research, policy development and service provision. His roles in government have included research technician, policy advisor, operations manager, and executive manager. Previous to joining the Science and Innovation Division of Economic Development and Trade, John was an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, responsible for enabling industry growth and rural development.

John is a graduate of the University of Alberta in Soil Science and Agronomy.

John Zhou, Ph.D.


Vice President- Clean Energy, 

Alberta Innovates

Dr. Zhihong (John) Zhou is the Vice President Clean Energy at the newly amalgamated Alberta Innovates. In this role, John is responsible for Alberta’s strategic direction and innovation in oil and gas industry, clean technology, and water and land management. Previously, he served as CTO and Acting CEO of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES).

John spent two years on nuclear energy at Ontario Hydro before joined the Alberta Research Council (ARC) in 1990. He worked at ARC as a researcher in energy and environmental technologies, and in 2000 became a business unit manager in Advanced Materials. He is an inventor with seven US patents, two of which led to commercial success. In 2009, John initiated a 25-member international industry consortium, Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands (MARIOS) and was its founding director.

At AI-EES, John was the Executive Director for Environmental Technologies (2010), and Water and Environment (2012) and Chief Technical Officer (2014). He was Acting CEO (2016) before AI-EES was merged into Alberta Innovates. He is a co-chair for Energy Collaboratory and Environment Collaboratory in Government of Alberta.
John earned his Ph.D. (Geology) from the University of Western Ontario. He served as an associate editor for an international journal, Applied Geochemistry, from 1997-2000, and was an associate editor for the Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, from 2015-2016. John is a board member of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) and the Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR). He is a professional geologist (APEGA) and a life member of Petroleum Engineering Society (SPE). In 2015, John was named an Energy Futures Lab Fellow, one of 40 influencers from across Alberta chosen by the Energy Futures Lab to help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable energy system.

Jonathan Curtis, Ph.D.

JonathanCurtisWebScientific Director, Lipid Chemistry Group

University of Alberta

Professor Jonathan Curtis has been a faculty member at the University of Alberta in the Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science since 2007. He directs the Lipid Chemistry Group in a program of research in the area of lipid science. Currently, his group is using locally sourced plant oils in the development of biobased chemicals, materials and natural fibre composites.  An additional area of expertise is in establishing novel techniques for the analysis of lipids of importance in food, agriculture and medical science.  Prior to joining the University of Alberta, Dr. Curtis worked in industrial R&D in Nova Scotia at Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd (now part of DSM) as well as at the National Research Council's Institute for Marine Biosciences. Dr. Curtis and the Lipid Chemistry Group were recipients of a 2015 Alberta Science and Technology (ASTech) Foundation Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Applied Technology and Innovation”.