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Jamie McInnis, M.ED, PMP — Interim Director

Jamie Mcinnis headshotJamie received her Master’s in educational policy from the University of Alberta. She is experienced in working closely with private, non-profit, Indigenous and government organizations to fund research and product development to address challenges identified by partners. With over 17 years of experience in research portfolio management and securing over $74M in funding for research execution, Jamie is skilled in working closely with partners to change narratives. Her work facilitates industry and stakeholder relations, team formation, and change management and guides the development of impactful contributions.

With over 77,000 square feet of lab space and $55M of supporting infrastructure, Jamie is leading the ARIS team scientific, technical and research administration team in the development of novel impactful solutions that diversify our economy, train tomorrow's technical experts and provide students unique experiences working side-by-side with partners. These shared learning experiences focus on emerging technologies and applications in Clean Energy, Green Building solutions, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing and Unmanned Heavy Lift Aerial Vehicles.

Dr. Vita Martez, PhD — Scientific Chair for Clean Energy Solutions (SAIT), NSERC Industrial Research Chair for College in In-situ Steam Generation and Clean Technologies

Vita Martez headshotDr. Vita Martez is a recognized leader in chemical technology and environmental engineering and brings over 20 years of solution-oriented expertise and award-winning applied-research experience to this NSERC Industrial Research Chair Program. This Chair program is focused on conducting a two-fold multi-disciplinary applied research in: (a) Steam Generation using once-through-steam-generators (OTSGs) for problem-solving steam-tube fouling challenges in-situ energy-production, and, (b) Clean Technologies for accelerating prototype development and demonstration to deliver energy and environmental solutions.

Vita is also the Scientific Lead for the Centre for Energy Research and Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions (CERCUTS) where the scope of the applied research areas span: (1) Steam Generation Research Solutions, (2) Water Research and Innovation and (3) Clean Technologies and Innovation. This scope supports ARIS’s multi-disciplinary research mandate of addressing Climate Resiliency by contributing to the integrated energy, environment and infrastructure solutions with digitalization at its core.

At CERCUTS she leads and delivers a range of industrial applied research programs and projects through participation in multi-disciplinary collaboration with stakeholders from academia, business start-ups, small to medium-sized enterprises, large enterprises, multi-national companies and others. She has a demonstrated track record of successfully spear-heading clean technologies associated with energy (combined heat and power, and hydrogen), industrial water and waste-water treatment, mobile desalination packaged pilots for clean drinking water to disaster-stricken, remote communities, and clean-tech solutions for methane emission reduction using fuel cells and battery-based energy storage systems. She has trained numerous student cohorts, engaged interns, developed HQPs and empowered and supported early career researchers to become Principal Investigators to lead their research areas successfully. Prior to leading CERCUTS she established the Environmental Technologies research group in 2008 which has made significant industry-relevant research contributions. Vita also served as a sessional instructor at SAIT’s MacPhail School of Energy for 10 years and as a subject matter expert, she has contributed to new curriculum development, authored publications and provides consultation and independent technology reviews.

Vita holds five patents – all of which are assigned to industry — where voluntary royalties to SAIT are directed towards students and education. She is passionate about engaging and empowering the current and future generations of youth in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) program through experiential hands-on research and knowledge dissemination activities by volunteering at local and national science events. She and her team have been involved in local and international industrial research collaborations, and have won numerous regional, national and international awards. Highly engaged in her community, Vita has contributed to eco-initiatives in St. Kitts, Mexico and Chile through a joint initiative with the Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. In addition, Vita serves on the boards of various advisories and not-for-profit organizations.

Melanie Ross, BArchSc — Scientific Lead, Green Building Technologies

Headshot of Melanie RossMelanie Ross (BArchSc) joined SAIT’s Green Building Technologies (GBT) team in 2019 as Research Manager and Business Administration Manager. She is responsible for overseeing research activities within the 850-square-metre GBT Lab and Demonstration Centre, which opened on SAIT campus in June 2017, becoming the first net-zero commercial building in Calgary.

The building received combined infrastructure funding support from federal, provincial and private sources and sets a new standard for net-zero energy and net-zero water design and construction. It serves as a “living laboratory” and includes specialized workshops, testing bays and product development workshops to assist industry in bringing new building products to market. The GBT Lab and Demonstration Centre complements the existing GBT solar labs and a rainwater harvesting lab on SAIT’s main campus near downtown Calgary.

Ross brings more than 10 years of experience with recognized architecture, planning and engineering firms to her role as GBT team lead within Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS). She has a solid background in projects ranging from LEED, WELL and other third-party certifications to energy management and existing building performance, including sustainability planning and policy development.

Dr. Ken Whitehead, PhD — Scientific Lead, Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems (CIRUS)

Ken Whitehead headshotDr. Ken Whitehead is a UAV mapping and applications specialist and research manager at SAIT, in the department of Applied Research and Innovation Services. Formerly as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calgary, Ken studied the potential uses of UAVs for environmental monitoring. While completing his PhD, Ken worked with the pioneering UAV survey company, Accuas, where he was responsible for coordinating research into UAV data processing and developing UAV applications.

Ken also worked with researchers from a number of universities on a variety of industry-academic joint projects and has authored a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on UAV applications, the current state of the UAV industry in Canada and the application of accuracy standards for UAV surveys.

Prior to moving to Canada in 1999, Ken worked in both the UK and South Africa and held a variety of different positions in both the public and private sectors. Over the course of his career, he has worked as a land surveyor, a photogrammetrist, remote sensing and GIS specialist, remote sensing instructor and independent mapping consultant.

During his PhD, Ken carried out research in the Canadian Arctic and pioneered the use of UAVs for glaciological surveys. His current activity within the research community is focused on developing methods for the fusion of ground-based data with UAV imagery.

Dr. Hamid Rajani, PhD — Scientific Lead, Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (CIRAMM)

in-hamid-rajani-500x500.jpgAs CIRAMM’s chair, Dr. Rajani leads a multidisciplinary team of talented researchers who work at CIRAMM’s state-of-the-art facilities to foster innovation. Dr. Rajani has dedicated his career in both academia and industry to research and development in the fields of advanced manufacturing and materials science. Hamid is an expert in utilizing numerical and experimental tools to study manufacturing processes and the impact of process parameters on materials properties. To date, Dr. Rajani has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in prominent journals and has been granted more than 20 patents. Furthermore, the quality of his work has been recognized through several national and international prestigious research awards including the American Welding Society’s Glenn J. Gibson research award, Rio Tinto's research award, UBC's graduate dean's thesis award, and NSERC's postdoctoral fellowship. When not in his office, Hamid can usually be found playing sports, learning something new, volunteering, or travelling.


Dr. Zhenkun Zheng — Senior Process Research Engineer

Zhenkun Zheng profile photoDr. Zhenkun Zheng received his B.S. (1999) from Zhejiang University in China, and Ph.D. (2008) from the University of Cincinnati, both in chemical engineering. Dr. Zheng has more than 20 years of experience in chemical engineering and is currently working for CFREF-related projects as a Senior Process Research Engineer. Dr. Zheng is a registered professional engineer (P. Eng.) in Alberta and has been working in the oilsands industry for 10 years. Dr. Zheng’s previous work includes pilot testing for the high-temperature paraffinic froth treatment process at SGS Canada Inc. and industrial operation of OPP (Ore Preparation Plant), Bitumen Extraction, NST/MFT tailings, and naphthenic froth treatment at Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) as a process engineer and commissioning engineer. In research, Dr. Zheng has made significant contributions to the advancement of ultra-microporous inorganic membrane science and high-temperature gas separation technologies for low-cost blue or green hydrogen production. He has published 4 papers in chemical engineering and materials science SCI journals and conference proceedings papers. Dr. Zheng's services to the scientific community include serving as a reviewer for the Journal of Membrane Science in 2009.

Dr. Alan Rezazadeh, PhD

Alan Rezazadeh profile photo


Dr. Alan Rezazadeh, PhD, has been working for more than two decades in Alberta as a data analytics and governance specialist within public, oil & gas, and academia sectors. His recent big data engagements include predictive analytics and forecasting, oil and gas, wind energy and electrical generation production optimization. Alan earned a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Regina in 1995 with a focus on applied mathematics and numerical analysis.




Imad Assaf, M.Sc., P.Eng. — Senior Mechanical Engineer (Design and Manufacturing)

Imad Assaf profile photo

Imad Assaf is a professional engineer with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and a M.Sc. in Industrial Systems Engineering. He has 25 years of experience in Design, Fabrication, Manufacturing, Consulting and Facilities Planning. Mr. Assaf is an expert in the design and manufacturing of components, machines and systems. He holds over 10 utility patents on innovative products that have been commercialized (ranging from consumer products to large petroleum equipment). Mr. Assaf has a proven track record of taking technologies from the initial Technology Readiness Level (TRL1) to the final level (TRL9).

Since 2018, he has been supporting the University of Calgary (through the CFREF program) with the design and manufacturing of equipment needed to advance research and technologies in the energy field.



Nadia Moazen, M.Sc. — Project Coordinator

Nadia Moazen profile photo


Nadia is a software developer with B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Computer Science with extensive research experience in Artificial Intelligence (ML algorithms, Neural Networks, and Computer Vision). She is proficient in the analysis and modelling of complex systems in neuroscience, medicine, and the environment. She was a STEM ambassador at STEM ACES Education and works as a seasonal AI instructor at the University of Winnipeg's lab. Cloud Computing is her expertise as well. She likes to be invited to challenges and learn new things. She describes herself as positive, committed, and energetic.



Paul Chidley — Lead Hardware Developer

Paul Chidley profile photo

In the world of computers, Paul was there at the beginning working for Hewlett Packard repairing teletypes and mainframes. His first service call was on a 5 MB hard drive, that filled a 19” computer rack. His first home computer was from Ohio Scientific and contained a whopping 4K ram. He helped design cell phones when they had to sit under the driver’s seat and the world’s first wireless ethernet now known as Wi-Fi. His passion for all things hardware and software have led to years of leading-edge self-education to keep up with the changes in technology. Learning something new has become a way of life.

His portfolio of successful professional products is as wide and varied as his interests. A co-worker once called Paul a Renaissance Man: A person who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas. In addition to the electronic design, Paul did much of the Bare Metal programming, mechanical design, marketing graphics, user manuals, patents, customer training, etc., that goes into any project.

Paul is also an accomplished Landscape Artist, Musician, Auto mechanic and more. His most recent project was the full restoration of a 1967 Fiberglass boat that needed to be rebuilt from the frame up. And he once replaced the VW engine in his 1980 Westfalia with a more modern and much more powerful Subaru engine, because it sounded like fun.

Jodi David — Senior Grants Manager

Jodi David profile photo

Jodi began her career in finance after attending Bow Valley College. She worked in a variety of industries in Canada and Australia (everything from land surveying to marketing to healthcare to the arts!), finally transitioning into the wild world of academia in 2009.

Academia and the brilliant scientists in it quickly became her passion; to work behind the scenes, helping innovative visions from innovative minds become a reality! She brings over 13 years of extensive experience in research project management, finance and administration in university and college environments. Securing tens of millions in funding for the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering and its various multi-national research programs, Jodi is highly skilled in facilitating research programs, balancing the diverse needs of stakeholders and creating strong collaborative relationships.


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