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Our Experts

Applied Research and Innovation Services' full-time research and service staff members are here to make your applied research project a success. From a team of dedicated, industry-experienced researchers to the people working behind the scenes to ensure our processes and equipment are running smoothly — upwards of 40 people are here, solely to work with you.

Trish Josephs

Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services

Trish brings to ARIS an infectious passion for people, our planet, innovation, technology and education. Through her work in the energy sector, agriculture, digital technology and construction, she has a thorough knowledge of SAIT and ARIS, both as an industry partner and client.

Trish has worked extensively with the global innovation ecosystem, all levels of government, First Nation Communities and both large corporations and SMEs, catalyzing conversations and driving the commercialization, aggregation and integration of technology to deliver shareholder and stakeholder value. She is fueled by a desire to positively impact climate change, build more sustainable and healthy communities and pass the torch to the next generation. Trish is well recognized as a relentless champion for STEM/STEAM education, entrepreneurship, sustainability and the global expertise and applied research infrastructure available in Alberta for addressing the energy transition, climate leadership and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.

She holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Leadership from Gonzaga University, a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and joins SAIT most recently from one of Canada’s fastest growing material science companies — ZS2 Technologies — where she held an executive position as Vice President, Global Business Development.

An active and engaged senior business advisor and mentor, Trish has previously served on the board of Youth Unlimited Calgary, was one of the founding members of the Canadian Blockchain Consortium, and is currently mentoring numerous new technology startups through Intergen Connect. She is also a member of feminist financial platform The51, Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN), Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council (OKSLC) and the Werklund School of Education Dean’s Circle at the University of Calgary.

Chris Zaal

Research Manager — Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions

Photograph of Chris Zaal, Research Associate for the Centre for Innovative Information TechnologyA critical thinker with an eye for detail, Research Manager Chris Zaal manages SAIT's Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions (CIITS). CIITS was created through the Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department to facilitate industry-based applied-research projects.

A SAIT Software Development graduate himself, Chris joined the RFID Application Development (RADLab) — a research area within CIITS — doing embedded programming for microprocessors. Within a year, Chris's management and leadership skills led him to a new role with the RADLab as Project Coordinator.

In September 2016, Chris became the CIITS Research Manager, overseeing employees of the RADLab, CIITS software developers, electronics specialists and dev-ops engineers, as well as the SAIT RFID Test Lab.

Ken Omotani

Research Manager — Environmental Technologies

Photograph of Ken Omotani, research associate of environmental technologiesKen Omotani is the lead Environmental Technologies (ET) researcher in the Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department. He joins SAIT with over 35 years of environmental engineering experience, working in sectors such as oil and gas, power generation, aluminum smelting, pulp and paper, and metal finishing. He has held senior technical and management positions throughout his career and implemented several innovative technologies as cost-effective solutions to environmental problems on behalf of organizations such as ConocoPhillips and TransAlta.

Ken has presented on these technology implementation projects at conferences and workshops such as the annual Aquatic Toxicity Workshop, Pulp and Paper Canada's annual general meeting, the GLOBE Program, and the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant.

With a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto, Ken manages a multi-disciplinary team at ARIS. The goal of this industry-based applied-research partnerships is to offer organizations the technical expertise, facilities and equipment they need to take new technologies closer to market — ultimately improving the environmental performance of various sectors. 

Ken has served on several committees including Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), Greenhouse Gas Steering Committee, Wood Buffalo Environmental Association board and various committees with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Consulting Engineers Alberta. Ken was also part of the Electricity Project Team that won an Emerald award in 2004.

Melanie Ross, BArchSc

Research Manager — Green Building Technologies

Photograph of Melanie Ross, research associate of Green Building Technologies

Melanie 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-metre-square 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.

Vita Martez, PhD

NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in In-Situ Steam Generation and Clean Technologies

Photograph of Vita Martez, Industrial Research Chair of Colleges in In-Situ Steam Generation and Clean TechnologiesDr. 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 Research Manager 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.

Ken Whitehead, PhD

Research Manager — Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems (CIRUS)

Photograph of Ken Whitehead, Research Associate for the Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems.Dr. 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.

Jamie McInnis, M.ED, PMP

Applied Research Coordinator - Grants

Photograph of Jamie McInnis, Applied Research CoordinatorJamie McInnis is the Senior Research Grants coordinator working with researchers, faculty, their teams, industry and government to move technology along technology readiness levels toward commercialization. She is a successful grant writer; securing and then managing over $47.5M in scientific funding. She is focused on the writing of large and small-scale grant proposals and managing them to ensure the outcomes are achieved on time and within budget. 

Jamie believes that working in applied research requires flexibility, initiative and strong adaptability to take on the many roles that are required for a research project or program to be successful. There are not just work breakdown structures (WBS) and Gantt Charts to be prepared; there are students to engage in applied research, there are close-knit ties within and across academic institutions that need to be honoured, industry and government relationships that need to be fostered, budgets to balance and controlled, and risk to manage. Jamie and the grants team work collaboratively to bring success to applied research activities.

Jamie has been a certified Project Manager since 2014, holds a Master’s degree in Policy from the University of Calgary and has several certifications in technical and business writing.

Tim Huynh

Coordinator — Academic Applied Research Services

Photo of Tim Hyunh coordinator for Applied Research and Innovation ServicesTim is dedicated to supporting student and faculty involvement in applied research, scholarly activity and entrepreneurship at SAIT. 

In his role as coordinator of academic initiatives, he works closely with faculty and curriculum developers to find more ways to engage students in applied research projects, provide advice on intellectual property and facilitate partnerships with industry.

Tim is a SAIT graduate from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program and has a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary. Prior to taking on this role Tim worked as part of the Design, Fabrication and Testing group at ARIS working directly on research projects involving industry partners and students.

In the last year, SAIT has created a new division — Corporate Development & Applied Research (CD&AR) — as the new manager of business operations for this division, Priya has been tasked with ensuring that processes are in place that will improve and enhance the overall efficiency of the CD&AR operation.

Contact us


1301 - 16 Avenue NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2M 0L4

Tel: 403.284.7056
Toll-Free: 1.866.884.7117
Email: applied.research@sait.ca

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