Below you can see the details of conference’s organizational committees.

Joint Organizing Committee

Robert Haller

Robert Haller is the executive director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, a role he took on after almost 20 years as a senior municipal administrator – most of those years serving as a CAO for small and medium-sized communities. He claims to be a geographer first, with a BA from Carleton University, followed by a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario.
Robert leads the CWWA as the national voice for water and wastewater in Ottawa and promotes collaboration between all the water organizations across Canada. Robert is part of the leadership of the IWA’s Canadian National Committee bringing the World Water Congress to Canada in 2024.

Corinne Lynds

Lynds is responsible for managing all editorial and content operations. She oversees industry-leading content creation, curation, and delivery for readers, visitors, and followers of our print, digital, and experiential platforms across the infrastructure, water, and environment sectors. In her previous role, Lynds worked with Motum B2B as a multi-platform editor and content marketing strategist, leading editorial teams to develop engaging content to educate and entertain niche audiences. She is an accomplished, results-oriented media specialist who creates strategic alliances with key industry partners to deliver engaging and market-specific content. She has also worked with leading publishing companies, including Annex Business Media and Rogers Publishing.

Elsayed Elbeshbishy

Dr. Elbeshbishy CAWQ president has his P.h.D. from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University of Western Ontario, Canada. Dr. Elbeshbishy research interest and expertise include different topics all which in the area of waste-to-green energy such as anaerobic treatment of wastes, biohydrogen production, biomethane production, water treatment, potable water compact units, pretreatment of solid wastes, ultrasound application for solids reduction and biogas production, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment process engineering, advanced oxidation pretreatment, peroxide regenerated iron digester enhancement, anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment.

Isabela Espendola

Dr. Isabela Battistello Espindola is a Brazilian young water professional based in London and working at the International Water Association (IWA) as the Membership Engagement Officer responsible for the young water professionals community within IWA. Isabela holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), focusing on South America’s transboundary water governance and management. She also has an MSc. in Environmental Sciences and a BA in International Relations and Economics. Over the past ten years, Isabela has been involved with a series of projects and activities ranging from international relations, hydropolitics and transboundary cooperation, human rights, sustainable development, international environmental governance and international environmental policy. She advocates for Women & Youth’s effective engagement in the Water Sector, especially in the global arena. She has been a member of several youth volunteer organizations in the fields of Water, Women in Science, and the Environment, being an inspiration for many in creating and building international relations.

Jen Smith

Smith is responsible for managing all editorial content for the print and online offerings, as well as playing a leadership role in the development and direction of the annual Canadian Water Summit and Water’s Next awards program. With a decade’s worth of editorial experience, creating content, shaping editorial and leading environmental publications, Smith has helmed editorial strategy and the launch of a new print magazine in partnership with a large health store chain. Prior to her foray into eco-conscious publishing, she spent more than 12 years in public education, specifically with marginalized, at-risk, and autistic youth.

Organizing Committee

Farokh L Kakar

Dr. Farokh L Kakar is an environmental Engineer at Brown and Caldwell and Founder of Blue College of Water and Technology.  Dr. Kakar is also the founder and president of Canadian Young Water Professionals and former Emerging Water Leader at International Water Association (IWA) also serving as Vice President of Young Professionals in Canadian Association for Water Quality (CAWQ). In addition, she is the Global Ambassador of the Society of Women Engineers empowering women in engineering internationally.

Gamze Kirim

Gamze is a passionate environmental engineer specialized in water and wastewater management. She is working on modelling and model-based optimization of biological wastewater treatment processes and recently obtained her PhD degree in this field. She is working at Western University as post-doctoral researcher and Ontario Water Consortium as a coordinator. She is the co-hair of IWA YWP Canada and a management committee member in IWA MIA Specialist Group.  

Frances Okoye

Frances is a resource recovery enthusiast who is passionate about the water industry. She recently completed her doctorate with a research focus on anaerobic digestion. Frances currently works as a wastewater project engineer. She volunteers as a communication director in the IWA YWP Canada chapter.

Sifat Kalam

Sifat Kalam is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. She holds a master’s degree from the same university and her expertise is in water and wastewater treatment and resource recovery. She is one of the communication directors at the IWA-YWP Canada conference. Sifat has been actively involved with the BCWWA student chapter and the WEST conference organizing committee. She volunteered as a logistics team lead in the WEST conference for 3 consecutive terms and was the co-chair of WEST 2022.

Hadi Mokarizadeh

Hadi is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta with a background in Chemical Engineering. His previous research focused on applying membrane separation processes for industrial wastewater treatment. Currently, he is developing novel and environmentally friendly materials for the degradation of toxic contaminants through solar-driven advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). Passionate about improving water quality and promoting environmental equity, he began volunteering with the IWA-YWP in March 2022 and is currently serving as the Communications Director for IWA-YWP Canada.

Shaghayegh Goudarzi

Shaghayegh (Shaya) Goudarzi is a postdoctoral and a PhD graduate from chemical engineering department of Toronto Metropolitan University, where she has received several awards and scholarships. She is currently a senior associate research scientist at Jubilant DraxImage company. Shaya is the regional (Ontario) director of the IWA-YWP Canada executive committee and a young professional member of the CAWQ organization. “Providing clean and affordable water is one of the modern-times hurdles. Finding new remedies could mean saving thousands of lives. Therefore, through my Ph.D. I focused on developing strategies to remove contaminants from water to provide clean water by developing novel adsorbent systems”.

Karen Mesta Ortega

Karen is a master’s student in water engineering at Université Laval. Her research is based on wastewater characterization through the use of respirometry and modelling, with the aim of improving WRRFs operational conditions. Motivated to contribute more to the water research field, she became the secretary of the IWA YWP Canada chapter in 2021, and she is currently working in the social & networking events subcommittee for the national conference.

Huan Liu

Huan is a Ph.D. candidate (Civil Engineering) at The University of British Columbia. He is also a Professional Agrologist with expertise in environmental consulting. His main research fields are waste-to-resource conversion, pollutants behavior, and environmental remediation. He has received numerous scholarships including the prestigious NSERC CGS-D. Committed to sustainable environment, he is actively collaborating with industries and international researchers in developing technologies for biofuels and fertilizer production from wastewater.

Amr Ismail

Amr is a Structural Engineer turned Environmental Engineer. Following his enthusiasm towards water and sanitation, he obtained a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Western University, specializing in pretreatment technologies and anaerobic co-digestion of organic wastes. His research also involves developing and integrating wastewater treatment, anaerobic digestion, and water chemistry models. He started volunteering for IWA YWP Canada in 2020, and has been part of the chapter ever since.

Masoume Ehsani

Masoume is a PhD candidate at Toronto Metropolitan University and she volunteers as Event Coordinator at IWA-YWP Canada. She has practical experience in the field of Membrane Fabrication, Membrane Fouling Control/Cleaning, Membrane-based Separation Processes and Chemical Coagulation for Wastewater Treatment Applications. 

Nahid Azizi

Nahid is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemical Engineering department at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). She is interested in working on materials, especially biomaterials, and engineering them for various applications such as wastewater treatment, healthcare, etc. Her passion for the environment led her to join IWA YWP Canada in 2021 as an Event Coordinator to spread awareness in the water field.

Lin Sun

Lin is a current Ph.D. Candidate in the Biofilm Engineering and Wastewater Resource Recovery Laboratory at Western University. His research focuses on the optimization of aeration and energy, and improvement of carbon utilization for advanced nitrogen removal processes with multivariate and microbial analysis, also monitoring emerging contaminants in municipal wastewater. Actively volunteering as Vice President to Western Water Chapter, Social Media Editor to IWA YWP committee, Coordinator to IWA YWP Conference Organizing Committee, Graduate Councilor to Society of Graduate Students, also an executive member of Water Environment Association of Ontario YP committee and Ontario Water Consortium Graduate Leadership Council committee.

Pranav Sampara

Pranav is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia with a research focus on sustainable wastewater treatment by leveraging the microbial metabolic capacity. He studies the ecophysiology of microbial communities involved in nitrogen and phosphorus removal from wastewater builds engineering models for sustainable wastewater treatment. When he is not in the lab, he is hiking, strumming his guitar, or writing fiction. 

Md Nurul Afcher Shishir

Shishir is an MASc. student at University of British Columbia (Vancouver) specializing in drinking water treatment. His current research project involves analyzing the historical data from full-scale low-pressure membrane facilities across Canada with a goal in optimizing the operating protocols of such treatment plants. He is actively involved in advocating for the graduate students’ rights and well-being by serving in the Graduate Student Society (GSS) under various capacities. Currently, he is also working as the venue co-lead of the IWA YWP Canada conference and the seminar series coordinator for the Environmental System Engineering (ESE) group at UBC. 

Varshaa Kumaran

Varshaa Kumaran is a graduate student at the department of Civil Engineering, at the University of British Columbia working on drinking water treatment using gravity-driven membrane filtration. Her research focuses on characterizing biofilm development in a passive membrane system and its low-cost, low-energy applications for first nation communities. She is the co-lead for venue operations of the IWA Young Water Professional conference, 2023. She is also a member of the communications team for the WEST (Water Environment and Student Talks) conference from 2021 to 2023.

Javier Canto

Javier Canto currently works as a full-time professor at the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY), impart subjects at the Anahuac Mayab University and the Technological Institute of Oil and Energy, he also works as an independent hydraulic design consultor focused on urban hydraulic and hydrology, computational fluid dynamics, and dam design. He obtained his bachelor’s at UADY and his Master’s and Ph.D. at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), working with the hydraulic behaviour in electrocoagulation reactors. He is currently serving as the Chair for IWA YWP Mexico and is one of the founding members of the YWP México group.

Pabel Antonio Cervantes Avilés

Pabel is a Chemical Eng. and holds a Ph.D. on Water Science and Technology and a M.Sc. on Water Sciences. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Cervantes research focuses on understanding the effects of emerging contaminants in the environment, as well as the application of promising technologies to prevent and remediate the pollution. Internationally, Pabel was honored two consecutive times with the Best Platform Presentation Award in the editions of International Young Water Professionals Conference 2014 and 2017 held in Taipei and Cape Town, respectively. 

Hayat Raza

Hayat Raza currently works as Project Engineer with Continental Carbon Group, Inc. in Ontario, Canada. His work involves providing air, drinking water and groundwater treatment solutions to clients utilising various physical and chemical water treatment technologies. Hayat obtained his bachelor’s and master’s in chemical engineering with research in the areas of Ozone and Supercritical Water Oxidation. He is currently serving as the Regional Director ON for IWA YWP Canada and is one of the founding members of the YWP Canada group. 

Reza Eslami

Reza Eslami is a Ph.D. candidate at the chemical engineering department of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). He uses material, polymer, and nanomaterial science fundamentals to deliver results, with a primary focus on innovation and sustainability. Deep technology understanding and creativity led him to turn his ideas into a startup and now he is co-founder and CEO of Sensofine Inc. He is also, holding Ontario Graduate Scholarship for three consecutive years.

Jacob Amengor

Jacob is a young water professional from Ghana, with over 8 years’ experience in WASH. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Water and Sanitation from the University of Cape Coast in 2014, and currently, pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada. Jacob is a Member of the International Water Association, and the Chair to the Young Water Professionals Steering Committee. Jacob founded the WASH Advancement Centre, a social enterprise with focus on constructing solar-mechanized water systems and on-site sanitary facilities in rural communities, and the training of WASH entrepreneurs. Jacob likes to write articles on environmental sustainability with a special focus on emerging WASH issues. He loves to mentor, inspire and motivate young people to find solutions to challenges existing in the water sector because he believes that the successful realization of the Sustainable Development Goals depends on the abilities of young people. Ultimately, Jacob wants to see a World, where access to clean water and sanitation is no longer a reserve for the privileged few; rather, a human right realized for all regardless of place, class, and status.

Programming Committee

Cigdem Eskicioglu

Cigdem is a Professor and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) /Metro Vancouver Senior Industrial Research Chair in Advanced Resource Recovery from Wastewater in the School of Engineering at University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Okanagan Campus in Canada. She is internationally recognized for her research in developing new bioreactor technologies for maximizing energy (i.e., biomethane and biohydrogen) and for resource recovery from organic waste, particularly wastewater sludge.

Dandan Song

Dandan is a process engineer with 5 years of experience in modelling water/wastewater treatment processes and developing training simulators for operators. She has participated in modelling projects involved various biological processes including activated sludge, lagoons, BNR processes, IFAS system, etc. She also has experience using modelling results for plant start-up and upgrades evaluation and operation optimization.

Dave Newman

Dave has more than 20 years of experience in environmental consulting covering environmental geology, characterization/remediation, conceptual planning, detailed design, construction management, and commissioning. He began his career as an environmental scientist characterizing and remediation soil and groundwater contamination before transitioning in to chemical/environmental engineering focusing on design and construction of wastewater treatment infrastructure. In both design and construction roles, his objective is to meet the project’s needs by translating project requirements into clear, concise, biddable, and buildable packages through sound and collaborative engineering teams that deliver the design intent and long-term performance in a high-quality final product.

Lina Belia

Lina is a process engineer and the co-founder of Primodal Inc. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of wastewater treatment. Her expertise focuses on the implementation of mathematical modelling to aid the commissioning and operation of WRRF. For the past decade, Lina has also worked in the field of risk-based design and uncertainty evaluation. She is working towards the integration of simulation, uncertainty analysis and design guidelines. She is an active member of IWA and WEF and a WEF fellow.

Siva Sarathy

Siva received a Bachelors degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. He has over 15 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment processes with the last 12 years as a Scientist with Trojan Technologies. He currently leads a team of Application Scientists and Engineers that provide specialized technical services pre- and post-sales.

Elena Torfs

Elena holds a PhD in applied biological sciences from Ghent University (Belgium) where she is currently assistant professor at the department of Data analysis and mathematical modelling. Elena’s research harnesses the power of mathematical models to facilitate and improve monitoring, operation and control of water systems. Her research group develops mathematical models and digital twins for holistic and real-time water management provide.  Elena is the vice-chair of International Water Association’s Modelling and Integrated Assessment Specialist Group where she contributes to addressing and promoting all aspects of (integrated) modelling and optimization for improving the quality of aquatic environments.

James Laszlo

James is a Process Safety Engineer at EPCOR’s Rossdale and E.L. Smith Water Treatment plants. Previous to EPCOR, James worked in petroleum processing, industrial water treatment, and process safety industries. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary and has his Professional Engineering designation with APEGA (the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta). Outside of work, James enjoys brewing innovative craft beers and wines, spending time on the water, carpentry, and staying active.

Linda Li

Linda is an Environmental Engineer at Dillon Consulting and a graduate from the University of Waterloo. Since joining Dillon in 2017, Linda has been heavily involved in projects related to industrial wastewater treatment, international drinking water treatment process design, and municipal wastewater plant construction and upgrades. Linda worked in Canada’s Northwest Territories assisting Indigenous communities with drinking water programs. She serves on the International Water Association’s Programme Committee and Water’s Next Selection Committee for the Canadian Water Summit. As a Young Professional who is passionate about knowledge sharing, Linda has been a guest lecturer at Ryerson University and a panelist at University of Toronto. Outside of work, Linda enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, and exploring food and cultures.

Nathalie Hajek

Nathalie graduated from the University of Alberta in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil-Environmental Engineering. She is now an Engineer-in-Training at EPCOR, where she works on the One Water Planning team, supporting the integration of planning activities for the entire water cycle. In her current role, Nathalie is focused on building and maintaining EPCOR’s water hydraulic model, and completing various hydraulic modeling and GIS spatial analyses to support operational and strategic planning initiatives. She is passionate about gender equity, DEI initiatives, and environmental sustainability.

Parnian Izadi

Parnian is a post-doctoral fellow with a solid fundamental understanding of water treatment processes from years of research and experimental work on wastewater and water technologies. Leading research in partnership with academia, she participates in ongoing scientific research with Stantec Institute for Water Technology & Policy. Here she explores emerging technologies in water science with projects focusing on water and the wastewater industry. Working in the wastewater sector, Parnian believes that she is well-positioned to play a role in a more sustainable future with development of the future of wastewater industry development. She hopes for a more sustainable future with circular development for wastewater solutions

Paula Cecilia Soto Rios

Paula was granted with the Japanese Government Scholarship MEXT for the last few years. She has been doing research in water treatment using ecological engineering. She is also fortunate to obtain a wide range of experience in teaching at different universities. She is currently an instructor and mentor of undergraduate and graduate students. She has published eight papers and submitted one paper under revision. She received two awards as a researcher and two awards as an engineer and student in Bolivia. She gained knowledge in resolution of environmental issues in international organizations and NGOs. Currently, she became Chair of the Governing Members of the International Water Association (IWA-BOLIVIA).

Reza Eslami

Reza is a Ph.D. candidate at the chemical engineering department of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). He uses material, polymer, and nanomaterial science fundamentals to deliver results, with a primary focus on innovation and sustainability. Deep technology understanding and creativity led him to turn his ideas into a startup and now he is co-founder and CEO of Sensofine Inc. He is also holding Ontario Graduate Scholarship for three consecutive years.

Ted Mao

Dr. Ted Mao is Chief Technology Officer, Evercloak, and Founder and Principal Consultant, MW Technologies to help start-up companies to develop and commercialize new technologies in the CleanTech space. Ted was Vice President, Research and Chief Technology Officer for 14 years at Trojan Technologies, one of the largest UV water treatment companies in the world. He is also an executive board member and President-Elect at the International UV Association (IUVA).

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