We are privileged to have the following individuals on our Management Team and our Board of Directors.
Shahira Esmail is the Regional Director of U.S. Operations at Climate Smart Group, based in the San Francisco Bay area. Shahira earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph and a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo with a dissertation on how climate change will impact the growth of agroforestry tree species planted between crops or pastures. In a move to California from Canada to work for Terra Global Capital, she led the first U.S.-based protocol test to prove that carbon offset credits can be developed from rice production. With a strong background in environmental research and policy and detailed expertise in data management and analysis, climate change strategy, carbon mitigation and project management and development, Shahira leads with passion in helping to develop solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change on a warming planet.
Alicia Klepfer is Climate Smart Group’s Technical Analyst based out of Hood River, Oregon. She originally joined CSG in 2016 as a Sustainability Specialist, while working jointly with CSG’s sister organization Viresco Solutions. Alicia obtained a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting from Colorado State University. Before joining CSG, she was a Research Assistant under Dr. Stephen Ogle within the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, focusing on data analysis and modeling of greenhouse gas mitigation through conservation agriculture practices. Prior to CSU, she also worked with the Woods Hole Research Center where she performed field research on soil carbon and respiration in Maine forest soils. Alicia has a strong background and extensive experience with conservation agriculture practices, climate change science, data analysis and greenhouse gas quantification.
Rori Cowan brings extensive experience in the sustainability sector to bear as the Director of Business Development for Climate Smart Group. Her skill set includes environmental market innovation and design, greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting validation and verification, corporate value chain reporting and standards and methodology development.
Before joining Climate Smart Group, Rori was the Protocol Development Manager for Noble Research Institute’s new Ecosystems Services Marketplace. There, she worked as the lead author of the GHG component as part of a team developing an integrated protocol for GHG’s, water quality and water quantity credits to improve soil health on working lands. Prior positions include Senior Program Associate at the American Carbon Registry and Manager of the Greenhouse Gas Verification program at SCS Global Services. Ms. Cowan holds a Masters degree in Environmental Science & Management from UC Santa Barbara specializing in Corporate Environmental Management and Eco-Entrepreneurship and a B.S. in Earth Systems Science and Policy from CSU Monterey Bay where she specialized in Coastal and Marine Ecology.
Ed is passionate about spreading the message that environmental and financial sustainability can – and must – coexist. Ed understands deeply that unless people and organizations are incentivized to participate in the green economy, to meet immediate needs they’ll continue to do as they’ve always done.
It’s why, under Ed’s guidance, Climate Smart Group is leading the way with the best MRV system in the world that allows everyone from small to large scale operators participate in the green, carbon credit economy; why they’re revolutionizing farming in the Amazon; and why they’re experts in the creation and implementation of regulatory frameworks and management emissions plans for the aviation industry. Change happens when education, inspiration and economic viability come together.
Best known for the founding and expansion of Rent-a-Wreck in the 1980’s, Ed is a hands-on, serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years experience growing companies in Canada, the US and UK. Ed co-wrote the Amazon best-seller The Only Business Book You’ll Ever Need, published in 2012, and in 2013 was a featured speaker at TedX, a talk viewed nearly 3,000 times.
With an outstanding track record of corporate strategic leadership, efficient growth and environmental consciousness across multiple industries, Ed is committed to realizing his vision to make Carbon Credit Solutions and Climate Smart Group the foremost authority in MRV and climate change mitigation strategies in the world.
Awarded numerous business and environmental accolades throughout Canada, the US and the UK including the prestigious Crescordia award in the SW US and most recently the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Ed lectures on entrepreneurship at universities and was a case study for multiple MBA and commerce programs.
Alastair Handley is Founder and President of Alberta-based companies Climate Smart Group (CSG) and Carbon Credit Solutions Inc, (CCSI). His recent appointment to the World Bank Advisory Group for Operationalizing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, recognizes Alastair as a leader and authority on Environment Markets worldwide, and especially carbon markets.
In response to the Paris Agreement, the Advisory Group’s purpose is to establish market-based facilities and associated instruments to support the development of carbon markets internationally. This reflects Alastair’s personal mission in recent years, to help national and sub-national governments implement essential environmental market frameworks that stimulate green innovation, create employment opportunities and result in lasting reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
A pioneer in the environmental market space, Alastair designed and developed one of the first software platforms in the world to aggregate and quantify large-scale emission reductions. Leveraging his prior experience with geographic information systems and software design, Alastair created a world-class Measure-Report-Verify (MRV) system that in the past decade has generated $40 million dollars in documented carbon credits for farmers in Alberta; saved emitters $30 million; and created excess of $30 million in company equity for CCSI.
Alastair’s MRV System was created in 2007, in response to Alberta developing the first carbon market in North America. A global leader, the province’s environmental foresight is the foundation on which Alastair built his companies. The success of CSG and CCSI domestically and internationally exemplifies how emission reduction markets can build wealth, generate jobs, create export opportunities and protect the environment for future generations at once.
Rob has held senior leadership roles in oil and gas, engineering, procurement and construction and transportation companies. He has international experience including three years in Qatar working on multi-billion-dollar LNG capital projects and two years in the Caribbean working on energy projects. Rob’s focus has been on strategic solutions that involve creativity, adaptability and scalability in the areas of strategy, governance, operations, financing, mergers and acquisitions. His depth of experience includes small start-ups, major multi-nationals, public and private companies. He also currently sits on a variety of boards and committees in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
Saj Shapiro is an effective leader with extensive management experience and expertise in strategic planning, capital budgeting, and mergers and acquisitions. Throughout his career, he has focused on aligning business strategy with sustainability and good corporate citizenship. Saj believes in transitioning to a greener future through practical and profitable steps, that in combination with innovative technologies create value to make businesses more efficient, responsive and competitive.
As COO Saj is responsible for the global operations of CCSI. Prior to joining CCSI he worked at several international Oilfield Technology Services companies in senior leadership roles where he established international manufacturing capabilities, instituted world-class operational capabilities, attained world-class quality certifications, and led various companies to unprecedented growth in size, revenues and margins.
These successes have led to various awards and recognition such as the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and being named finalist for the 2017 Alberta Export Awards.
Saj holds a Bachelor of Commerce in finance from the Haskayne School of Business, and an MBA from the University of Calgary.
Art works with a wide variety of industry stakeholders and shares his expertise with private and public sector organizations that focus on finance, processing, research, international marketing and retailing. Art has spent the last 30 years working in primary food production, agri-business and agri-marketing in Canada, United States, Europe, South America and Asia.
As a philanthropist, Art is involved in a developmental initiative in Peru and the Dominican Republic. As well, Art, and a group of business entrepreneurs from the USA, have started a demonstration farm and radio network in Ghana. He also provides financial support to young agricultural scientists from South Africa and other countries in the developing world, allowing them to attend major agricultural scientific conferences. Art works with the Clinton Global Initiative assisting in their agricultural programs in Africa. He has started a number of scholarships for undergraduates at the University of Alberta and Olds College.
Along with his business and professional commitments, Art is still active on the family farm. In addition, he volunteers his time to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and serves as a mentor to young entrepreneurs.
Howard brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of building, operating and expanding corporate business interests. He was Chief Financial Officer at Palliser Lumber Sales and transitioned into the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure, he grew the company from $28 million in sales to $100+ million in sales and over 200 employees at its peak. He oversaw numerous Palliser accomplishments and best practices, including selection six years running as a Platinum “Best 50” managed private company within Canada. He has spent the last six years in a management consulting role providing strategic, operational, financial and business coaching to CEOs and their senior executive teams.
He is involved in a number of volunteer projects. Working locally and abroad with a retired Canadian ambassador, Howard set up a charitable foundation in the Philippines. Currently, he owns and operates a non-profit that provides low cost housing to cancer and transplant patients in Edmonton, Alberta.
Ken Hughes is an entrepreneur in both business and public life, with a BSc.(Agriculture) from the University of Alberta, and an MPA from Harvard University. Over more than 25 years, he served in public life in three challenging and accomplished roles. As a Member of Parliament (1988-1993), he served in increasing roles of responsibility, including as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister. Subsequently, the Government of Alberta asked him to lead the creation of Canada’s largest single healthcare delivery service, with a $12 billion budget and over 90,000 employees, as the founding Chair of Alberta Health Services. Finally, he was elected to the Legislature of Alberta (2012-2014) serving as Energy Minister, and Municipal Affairs MInister.
Ken founded Alpine Insurance (2002), and retains a principal ownership position with two other partners in the brokerage, and is the Chair of the Board. Alpine serves approximately 30,000 clients in Alberta and sells more than $70 million in products annually.
Sue is an associate with Independent Review Inc. and serves on the Independent Review Committees (IRCs) of several of Canada’s top mutual funds, providing oversight on behalf of the public investors on matters pertaining to potential conflicts of interest. As a former Vice President and Advisor at CIBC Wood Gundy, Sue has over 25 years of experience in the Financial Services industry and was responsible for managing $100 million in assets on behalf of her clients.
Prior to CIBC Wood Gundy, Sue was a Sessional Instructor at the Business Faculty at the University of Calgary, where she taught Business Communications 301. Concurrently, Sue was a writer for Bow Valley Resource Services, an environmental consulting firm specializing in emission measurement and management for their clients.
Katie serves as Managing Director of IETA, the premier global multi-sector business voice for the intersection of markets and climate change. For two decades, IETA’s mission has been to support durable climate policies and financial structures that attract private sector engagement and capital at scale. On behalf of IETA’s 150+ corporate members, Katie leads efforts to inform market solutions to address environmental challenges across the Americas and globally. She also manages IETA’s growing climate finance, aviation and digital innovation sustainability initiatives.
Katie currently sits on the University of Toronto’s Environmental Finance Committee, the newly-launched Canadian Institute for Climate Change Advisory Panel, the International Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) Knowledge Centre Board, Ivey Foundation’s Climate Advisory Group, the Global Steering Committee for the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC), and Blockchain for Climate’s Advisory Panel. Prior to IETA, Katie worked as a Senior Consultant at ICF International. In 2019, Katie was recognized as a Clean16 and Clean50 award recipient for contributing to Clean Capitalism Leadership in Canada.