Team

Chris Thrall President & CEO
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Chris Thrall

President & CEO

Mr. Thrall joined the Biosphere Technologies group to lead the commercial operations of the business as head of BioRefinex Canada, a subsidiary of Biosphere Technologies. Chris brings over 15 years of international energy, environment, and agriculture commodity operations experience to the company. Prior to joining BioRefinex, he held a number of senior management positions with Direct Energy Marketing Limited, Centrica plc, and Enron Europe Limited. Most recently Chris headed up Direct Energy’s renewable energy and carbon markets business in North America. Prior to that he managed their Canadian gas and power trading operation. He also led M&A teams that successfully acquired five gas-fired power stations in North America and the United Kingdom representing over 1700 MW of generation capacity. Chris currently is a Board Member of McIntyre Ranching Co. Ltd. He also served on the Boards of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, based out of Washington, DC. He received his MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.

Dr. Erick Schmidt Executive Chairman & Chief Science Officer
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Dr. Erick Schmidt

Executive Chairman & Chief Science Officer

Dr. Schmidt founded the parent company, Biosphere Technologies Inc., where he directed the research and development of environmental technologies for Europe and North America, focusing on the transformation of disease-risk residues and waste organic materials into safe, valuable products, such as organic fertilizers. He pursued university studies at McMaster, Hartford Seminary Foundation and Yale University and later returned to Alberta where he obtained his PhD. He served as Special Consultant to Alberta Premiers Manning and Strom from 1965 to 1971, during which time he was engaged in the development of a wide range of innovative social and economic initiatives, including the establishment of the first Ministry of the Environment in the British Commonwealth. Following his government activities, he focused on knowledge based industrial ventures in the field of high-powered lasers for industrial and research applications, and the development of plastic/steel composite products. Dr. Schmidt continues to head up Biosphere Technologies Inc. but is responsible for directing ongoing research and development activities at BioRefinex.

John Pinsent Chief Financial Officer
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John Pinsent

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Pinsent became a founding partner with the accounting firm St. Arnaud, Pinsent, Steman following a distinguished ten-year career with Ernst and Young LLP. After completing his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Commerce degrees at the University of Alberta, John began articling with Ernst & Young. He left public practice in 1986 to pursue experience in industry and became the Controller and Vice President Finance of an Alberta based retail organization with annual sales in excess of $10 million. During this time, John also acted as Managing Director of the company’s consumer finance division. Returning to public practice with Ernst & Young in 1994, John received his Chartered Accountants designation in 1996. He has previously or currently serves as a director on a number of boards including InfoTech Alberta (Treasurer and Chairman) and the audit committees of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta and the ICAA Education Foundation. John sits on the board of directors of a number of emerging private and public technology companies including Synodon Inc. and Innovotech Inc. He has also played an active role in the creation of various financing forum initiatives across Alberta including the Banff Venture Forum, Alberta’s Innovation and Investment Week, various BioFinance and Agrifinance events and currently serves as a Director of the Alberta Venture Channel and is a member of AVAC Ltd.

Blair McDermid VP Business Development
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Blair McDermid

VP Business Development

Mr. McDermid has over 20 years’ experience in North American commodity markets, particularly in exchanges, regulatory structures, auctions, and clearing in the Natural Gas, Power, Crude Oil and Cattle markets. Starting as a natural gas broker at Natsource-Tullet, Blair ultimately took on the role of VP Energy North America at NGX, an exchange and clearinghouse subsidiary of the TMX Group, owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange. He led the Canadian and US Natgas and Electricity desks, as well as Shorcan Energy Brokers, a leading physical oil brokerage for Canadian physical oil. During his tenure at NGX, he was on the management team of AgriClear, a cattle trading startup under the TMX umbrella, working with slaughter facilities, feedlots and cattle producers throughout Canada and the US. Mr. McDermid is a graduate of the EMBA program at the Haskayne School of Business, and was a member of the Canadian Men’s National Volleyball Team.

Randy Andrews Chief Development Officer - Biosphere Technologies Inc.
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Randy Andrews

Chief Development Officer - Biosphere Technologies Inc.

Mr. Andrews has been providing business and technical development for the Biosphere Technologies group, primarily developing its technical, business and value proposition models. He was responsible for operating protocol during the BSE trials at the University of Edinburgh. He has held previous positions as Director of Product Development and Director of Research and Development for an Edmonton-based technology company. Mr. Andrews was instrumental in transforming this small start-up company into a recognized leader in a global market (Canadian Exporter of The Year 2002). He holds several patents and has been involved with technology companies for over 20 years.

Dr. Rob Rennie, Ph.D. Advisory Board Chair
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Dr. Rob Rennie, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Chair

As a senior advisor with over 25 years of experience in the international fertilizer and agribusiness industries, Dr. Rennie provides key input to the company specifically for its fertilizer product and international growth strategies. Dr. Rennie was formerly President and CEO of Spur Ventures, a publically traded TSX Venture Exchange company that operated a phosphate fertilizer business in China. Prior to that he held senior positions with Agrium, including VP International and VP Corporate Affairs, where he led the successful growth of the company’s retail and wholesale investments in Argentina. Dr. Rennie began his fertilizer career leading research and development initiatives with Exxon.Prior to working in industry Dr. Rennie worked as a scientist for the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria and for the Research Branch of Agriculture Canada.

Carl Johnson, P.Eng. Board Member
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Carl Johnson, P.Eng.

Board Member

Carl brings a wealth of engineering and corporate oversight experience to the company at a key stage in its development. In 1982, Carl founded Gemini Engineering Ltd., the predecessor company to Gemini Corporation. He took his company public in 1999 and served as Gemini Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer until 2010, after which he served as Chairman of the Board until November 2012. Carl has accumulated experience in engineering, design, project management, fabrication, construction, operations, and maintenance of heavy industrial facilities over the course of his 35-year career. Furthermore, over the past eleven years he acted as a senior advisor for the development of the BioRefinex thermal hydrolysis technology and engaged in several Alberta biogas initiatives.

Murray Hasinoff, M.Sc. Fertilizer Marketing Advisor
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Murray Hasinoff, M.Sc.

Fertilizer Marketing Advisor

Murray currently acts as a Senior Advisor to BioRefinex in helping to develop the market strategy for its core fertilizer products. Murray brings a wealth of knowledge from over 30 year’s of marketing, distribution and operations experience in the fertilizer industry. He held many senior positions with Imperial Oil and Agrium, including his last role as Director of New Product and Business Development at Agrium’s Advanced Technologies group. Murray played a key role in Agrium’s introduction of a new controlled release urea product, ESN®, into the North American commodity agriculture market in 2002. Murray also worked with an Alberta-based organic fertilizer manufacturer in 2009-2010 to help with the company’s marketing and distribution program in Canada and the United States.

Dr. Roger Ball Board Member - Biosphere Technologies Inc.
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Dr. Roger Ball

Board Member - Biosphere Technologies Inc.

Dr. Ball has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, and has extensive international R & D experience in emerging technologies. He served with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) in Latin America in both University and industrial projects, including transforming agricultural feedstock into food products. From 1992 to 1998 he was President of GSR Laser Systems Inc. and subsequently Vice-President of Lacent Technologies Inc, companies which developed the world’s leading automated laser cutting systems for the automotive, apparel and air-bag industries. He has served as a panel member of the National Science & Engineering Research Council of Canada, and as a member of many science and technology groups in Alberta.