Canadian Biomass Magazine

Virtual Event
WPAC Conference & AGM 2021 – Day 1
September 20, 2021 at 11:00am ET

12:15 pm - 1:00 pm ET (9:15 am - 10:00 am PT)
Panel: Innovating Our Way to a Safer, Better Future

Moderator: Cherie Whelan, BC Forest Safety Council

  • Kayleigh Rayner Brown, MASc, P.Eng. - Research Associate, Dalhousie University / Director, Obex Risk Ltd.
  • Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah, WPAC
  • Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj, Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group, University of British Columbia
  • Grace Cox, Safety Manager, Wood Products Canada, Canfor
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada and its members continuously strive to find better processes and make safer plants. Join industry leading safety experts as we discuss the latest achievements and safety initiatives and the work ahead. Topics include:
  • Fibre Pile Management;
  • Safety Foundations Webinar Series;
  • A new one-stop Safety Compendium;
  • Critical Control Management and Bow Tie Analysis workshops; and
  • Approval of the New ISO 20024 standard for Canada for safe handling and storage of solid biofuels.

Cherie Whelan
BC Forest Safety Council

Cherie Whelan, Director, SAFE Companies, BC Forest Safety Council. Cherie Whelan is the Director, SAFE Companies of BC Forest Safety Council with more than 25 years of health and safety experience from both public and private sectors. Cherie has held multiple roles with Workers’ compensation Boards in two different jurisdictions and also worked as a Lead Investigator for Occupational Health & Safety in Fort McMurray, Alberta where she participated in 19 fatality investigations and numerous other serious injuries. Cherie left the public Sector to work with Suncor Energy as Investigation Team Lead for their Oil sands operations, and then with TransAlta Energy overseeing their safety programs. She is a Certified Registered Safety Professional with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, who truly believes in BCFSC’s motto “Safety is good business”.

Kayleigh Rayner Brown
Research Associate, Dalhousie University / Director, Obex Risk Ltd.

Kayleigh Rayner Brown, MASc, P.Eng., is a process safety specialist with a focus on hazard analysis and inherently safer design. Kayleigh is a Research Associate at Dalhousie University in the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science. Kayleigh is also the Director of Obex Risk Ltd., a new company with a focus on using forward-thinking process safety tools to protect people, business operations and the environment. In addition to her active involvement in WPAC’s Critical Controls Management (CCM) project, Kayleigh has prior experience with environmental protection in the aerospace manufacturing, petrochemical, and nuclear industries.

Kayleigh holds a Master of Applied Science and Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Dalhousie University, as well as a Bachelor of Chemistry (Honours) from Acadia University.

Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah
Director of research and technical development, Wood Pellet Association of Canada

Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah is the director of research and technical development at the Wood Pellet Association of Canada and a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia. She has been engaged in research and discovery in the emerging area of bioenergy for over 13 years and have managed bioenergy projects for a variety of clients including governments, manufacturers and technology developers. She has led biofuel densification, pretreatment, storage and handling research studies for 10 years and has co-authored more than 80 technical reports and peer-reviewed publications in the field. Fahimeh also serves as the Project Lead within ISO Technical Committee 238 (Solid Biofuels) and served as the Chair within ISO Technical Committee 300 (Solid Recovered Biofuels) for two years. She received her PhD and MASc from Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and she holds a bachelor’s degree from Amirkabir University of Technology. She is also a registered Professional Engineer with EGBC and Professional Project Manager with PMI.

Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj
Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group, University of British Columbia

Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj is the Research Leader, Biomass & Bioenergy Research Group (BBRG) at the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining UBC in 2002, Dr. Sokhansanj taught agricultural engineering at the University of Saskatchewan where he holds the title of Emeritus Professor. Dr. Sokhansanj retired in 2017 from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where as a Distinguished Research Scientist he led research on biomass preprocessing and supply logistics. Dr. Sokhansanj holds an Adjunct Professor appointment in Chemical & Biological Engineering at UBC supervising a team of post doctoral and students conducting research on biomass densification and supply systems modeling. Dr. Sokhansanj holds fellowships in Engineering Institute of Canada, Engineers of Canada, Canadian Society for BioEngineering, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Dr. Sokhansanj received the 2016 International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition’s Founders Award. The Award recognized Dr. Sokhansanj’s contribution to the development of engineering science around post harvest handling of biomaterials. Dr. Sokhansanj is an active member of the BioFuelnet Canada, Biomass Cluster to assist in commercialization of ag pellets. In September 2018, Dr. Sokhansanj received gold medal in drying Science at the International Drying Symposium held in Valencia, Spain.

Grace Cox
Safety Manager, Wood Products Canada, Canfor

Grace Cox is the Safety Manager, Wood Products Canada at Canfor. She’s been in the forestry industry for over 40 years and has worked as a planer superintendent, continuous improvement coordinator and in various roles including human resources.

She started her career with Canfor in lumber sales/shipping and through the years advanced to different roles. She has worked in performance management systems overseeing the product quality of the Chetwynd sawmill. In 2016 she was appointed to Regional HR Manager to help oversee the company’s four locations up north, a role she thrived in and enjoyed. The need for a dedicated Safety Manager led to her current position where she supports all of Canfor’s operations in B.C. and Alberta with health and safety strategic planning, awareness campaigns and programs.

Grace is passionate about how far the industry has evolved in safety as well as forest utilization.

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