Director Candidates - Biographies
Ursula Acuña Kuchenbecker
Ms. Acuña Kuchenbecker is a civil engineer with the Environment business line in AECOM’s Edmonton office as part of the Waste Services team. She has experience in solid waste management, solid waste benchmarking, project management, and construction management.
Currently Ursula’s work involves project management, planning, designing, tendering, contract administration, project coordination, field coordination and supervision, and preparing various engineering reports for waste management facilities across Canada. Her experience includes solid waste benchmarking, landfill cell design and construction, solid waste transfer station design and construction, feasibility studies, airspace evaluation studies, landfill audits, project development, financial analysis, construction supervision, legal permitting and task programming. Ursula is the project manager for the National Solid Waste Benchmarking Initiative (NSWBI).
In addition to her responsibilities in the Environment business line, Ursula is the Edmonton Office Manager
Jeannie has been working in solid waste management for over 10 years. She has consulted in the areas of waste diversion, solid waste systems design, market assessments, and has project managed facility designs. She has worked with municipalities, private companies, and waste processors across Canada, as well as with numerous First Nations and Inuit communities. She enjoys engaging with people to understand their needs, and providing support to help improve solid waste management practices.
Jeannie is a registered professional Geologist in Alberta, and holds a degree in Earth Sciences and Business from the University of Alberta. Prior to working in waste management, she spent seven years working as a geologist on mineral exploration projects across Canada.
She is currently leading a team of solid waste professionals with Dillon Consulting, and is working and living in Edmonton.
Pamela Haggarty is the Sustainable Communities Team Lead for First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group (FNTSAG) a non-governmental organization guided by a board appointed by Chiefs from Treaty areas 8, 6 and 7. As part of the larger TSAG Environmental Department – Sustainable Communities provides environmental and solid waste management technical services and training for First Nations in Alberta. As part of her role, Pam has been a contributing member of the National Advisory Committee for the First Nation Solid Waste Management Initiative since 2017. Pam has been an active member of the Recycling Council of Alberta since 2014, she is just completing her first term as an RCA Director and was a co-lead of the RCA Communications working group. Pam holds a M.Ed. from the University of Alberta and has over 25 years of experience with adult education and training. She is the primary author/editor for the TSAG suite of over 10 solid waste management courses recognized as CEU eligible for the Alberta Environment and Parks Landfill and Compost Operator certification.
André is a project manager and civil engineer with over 11 years of experience in design, permitting, construction and operations. He manages large-scale capital projects, particularly industrial projects involving solid waste and renewable energy. In successfully leading many multidisciplinary project teams for various facility projects, he has developed a collaborative approach towards working with project teams, clients, government agencies, industry leaders, and the public and other stakeholders to deliver successful projects on schedule, within budget, and to client satisfaction. Previously, as the Manager of Solid Waste Engineering and Planning at the City of London, André focused on planning and delivering capital projects such as multiple landfill cell expansions, Material Recovery Facility (MRF) upgrades, landfill gas (LFG) collection, and biogas utilization, including upgrading biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG). Currently, he is collaborating with a number of private and public sector clients, utility companies, and organics management technology providers to deliver energy from waste and zero-waste solutions. A cornerstone of these solutions is the integration of solid waste, and other municipal master planning into capital projects. These projects generate landfill and biogas that can be upgraded to RNG within client facilities, and sold into regional and North American energy markets. André is a firm believer in practicing what you preach when it comes to sustainability and conservation. When asked, “What is your WHY?”, his simple response is often, “Why not? If we do not make it our job to reserve a future for our kids, who will?”.
When André is not focused on waste diversion and energy projects, he spends his time as an avid soccer player and coach (nearing retirement), and also serves on the board of directors for not-for-profit organizations focused on providing housing, sport, training and skills development for the less fortunate in Ontario and Alberta communities.
Christy Lyon is a professional engineer with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with 15 years of managerial and leadership experience in the waste and recycling industry. Christy has recently joined ECCO Recycling and Energy Corporation as the General Manger. She is an industry leader with diverse experience in managing waste and wastewater in both the public and private sectors.
Christy Lyon spent 16 years working for the City of Calgary including 11 years in Waste & Recycling managing one of the 3 landfills and the hauling operations. In 2015 Christy made the choice to join the private sector and has since been involved in both hauling, processing and landfills.
The Recycling Council of Alberta has the platform to positively influence and impact decisions made by all levels in government and by all industry professionals with respect to materials currently considered waste. Christy Lyon has a history of promoting solutions that are practical and innovative. Although we are facing some difficult issues related to waste diversion and management, Christy is committed to working with other industry professionals to develop solutions that can meet our customers and the Alberta Residents expectations.
Christy has been a member of industry boards and committees, as well as, sport organisation, contributing to several key roles. Her experience and collaboration in setting and achieving goals on various boards will lend itself well to the RCA with their current focus on positively impacting recycling nationwide. The diversity of Christy Lyon’s roles will add to the overall strengths of the RCA Board in both supporting RCA operations and the efforts to affect change locally and across Canada.
Mikhael has been a proud member of the Cascades Family for over 15 years. With his undergraduate degree in Strategic Selling & Marketing, Mikhael currently works within the Recovery+ division of Cascades focusing on Supply Development and Marketing. Mikhael has the opportunity to work side by side with a wide range of customers from different market segments with various types of discarded material recovery needs. Mikhael is focused on creating a world where all materials have a positive end of life – a truly Circular Economy…
Zero Waste Program Coordinator at University of Alberta
I originally hail from Ontario, where I earned my undergraduate degree in Life Sciences and a post-graduation in Environmental Management. I have been working in the waste management industry for over five years now with various government bodies in Ontario. After moving out to Alberta in early 2017, I briefly worked with the City of Edmonton as their Waste Reduction Specialist before joining the University of Alberta (U of A).
At the U of A, my main responsibilities include the planning and expansion of the Zero Waste program to ensure the University reaches its diversion goal of 90% by 2020. I also provide education and administer training related to the Zero Waste program to internal and external stakeholders.
I have a strong passion and dedication to protect the natural environment and to develop and implement environmental initiatives that involve sustainable action plans with direct community involvement.
When I am away from the desk and in my overalls, you will most likely find me wondering around the world since I love travelling or hiking somewhere in the Canadian Rockies.
I strongly and firmly believe RCA’s mission to promote and facilitate waste reduction, recycling and resource conservation in Alberta is right on target. If I become a member of the Board, I will work hard on achieving RCA’s amazing goals and objectives, and also work on influencing the direction and future of RCA.
I will make it a focus of our Chapter, aligned with the goals, to reach out more to Albertans and educate them about RCA’s vision that is to create a pathway to a zero waste Alberta. I am intensely interested in developing effective ways to reduce waste, conserve resources, and educate the community about the importance of adopting best waste management practices.
I also want to be part of RCA’s mission and vision in order to give back to the profession that defines me. I quickly realized RCA uses all the traits I honed in school and work. I am still always learning, always improving, and I would bring that mindset to the Board. I have served on several advisory and planning boards in the past, so I am well versed of the time and energy needed to serve on important boards like RCA. It would be my privilege to serve as your board member.
Sahra is responsible for Walker Environmental Group’s business development initiatives in Alberta – in her role, she engages in stakeholder relations, technology reviews, market analysis, and project management. Walker Environmental Group Inc. (Walker Environmental) is a leading resource recovery and waste management company producing long-term value through innovation, with operations from coast to coast in Canada. Through a diverse range of management services for SSO, IC&I food waste, leaf & yard composting, biosolids stabilization, biofuel production, and grease trap collection, Walker Environmental diverts from landfill and creates valuable end products from over 500,000 tonnes of recovered resources each year.
Sahra completed a Bachelor of Biological Sciences at York University before joining an international water/wastewater treatment company. She developed a keen interest in resource recovery while working in the wastewater sector, and pursued a Masters in Applied Science and Environmental Management at Ryerson University – where she conducted research on recovery of source separated organics through production of biofuels.
Sahra believes that since Alberta’s local jurisdiction are increasingly beginning to develop and introduce diversion programs, Alberta’s waste processing industry is uniquely positioned to collaborate with the municipal sphere to ensure the design of robust programs. Sahra is excited to be a part of Alberta’s accelerating waste reduction and diversion arena.
Previously, Sahra has served on the board of Sustainable Ontario Community Energy Co-operative, Professional Development Committee of Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO), and as a sustainability consultant at Sustainability Consultant Network. She currently serves as a member on the Water for People Canada Committee at WEAO.