Specific TEAMS:   Administrative     Environment     Entrepreneurship     Turfgrass     Crops and Horticulture     Livestock and Meats     Farm   International    Apparel

Administrative Team

Toby Williams

Toby Williams, MPA

Phone: (403) 507-7702
Cell: (403) 559-6153
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7702
Email: twilliams2@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 351

Director - Research

Toby Williams is the Director of the Centre for Innovation at Olds College. She has been with Olds College for four years in a variety of positions including Entrepreneurship and International Development. Toby has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria and an undergraduate degree from the University of Calgary. Her background is primarily in economic development, business development, and research. She has worked for the federal government, run a not-for-profit organization, worked in the private sector, and owned several small businesses. She and her family live on a farm 50 km west of Olds.  

Kelly MacKinnon

Kelly MacKinnon

Phone: (403) 507-7970
Cell: (403) 556-9254
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7970
Email: kmackinnon@oldscollege.ca  
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Main Reception

Administrative Assistant

Kelly is a graduate of the Olds College Office Administration program and has worked at the College since November 1993. Through various courses, she has continued to increase her knowledge and move forward in her position. She has successfully held a variety of positions such as an Administrative / Clerical support, Composting Technician, Natural Fibre Laboratory Technician, Webmaster, Information Systems Manager, and Events Coordinator.

Environment Team

Ruth Elvestad

Ruth Elvestad

Phone: (403) 556-4683
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 4683
Email: relvestad@oldscollege.ca 
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 353

Research Technician, Water and Environment

Fibre • Research • Education

Ruth has over 35 years’ experience in a broad Canadian base of agriculture, business, government, and academic sectors.  She has extensive teaching, curriculum and program development expertise, has been involved in international trade, import/export of livestock, and international fibre research. Ruth is a qualified fibre testing technician; a Certified Camelid Fibre Classer;  a founding member of the Canadian AgriFibre Network; a Wool Judge; and has taught Fibre Workshops extensively throughout North America.  Currently, Ruth is a Research Technician concentrating on water and environment.  Ruth has been a part of the team at the Olds College Centre for Innovation since January, 2000.

Nalaka Ileperuma

Nalaka Ileperuma, MSc

Phone: 403-556-4650
Cell: 403-586-0142
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 4650
Email: nileperuma@oldscollege.ca 
Location: Composting Technology Centre + Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 353 

Research Technician

Composting • Bioprocessing • Chemical Analysis 

Nalaka holds a Masters degree in Food Science and Technology; along with being a certified Compost Operator at the Olds College Compost Technology Center (CTC).  

He has managed the compost facility since 2012 and has been involved in various research projects involving organic waste.  Since 2007, prior to his workload at the CTC, Nalaka was active as a Research Technician in the Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI) contributing to various types of research.



Karla Petersen

Cell: (403) 512-8633
Email: kpetersen@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 350

Coordinator - Entrepreneurship

Karla has worked in marketing, consumer engagement and business development for close to 10 years. Known as the ‘cheerleader’ for startups, her enthusiasm is obvious and contagious while she helps entrepreneurs navigate the available resources, and connects ideas with opportunities.

Turfgrass Team

Katie Dodson

Katie Dodson

Phone: (403) 507-7947
Cell: (403) 556-0228
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7947
Email: kdodson@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 353A

Lead Research Scientist - Turfgrass

Stress Physiology • Varietal Trials • Pest Management

Kathleen (Katie) assumed her role as Research Scientist in Turfgrass in July, 2014. She comes to Olds College with a long list of credentials that includes being employed as the Senior Turfgrass Research Scientist with Simplot – Jacklin Seed in the Spokane WA area. Katie’s education includes an undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University, and a Master’s degree from Washington State University. Currently she is completing her PhD at the University of Guelph and is in the final stages of her studies as she defends her thesis, ‘Optimization of cultural practices to promote greater turf density in a pesticide-free environment for both sports fields and lawn-type turfgrass swards.’ Dodson brings a somewhat unique perspective to turf research. As the former Assistant Superintendent at Mountain View Golf Club in Whitehorse, she learned first-hand the challenges in maintaining high quality turf under extreme Canadian conditions and has been able to apply that experience to her research. Besides her ‘northern’ experience, Katie has nine years of experience as a golf course crew member. She mentions, ‘My experience has primarily been on golf courses, but my research has focused on seed production, home lawns and athletic fields.’ Turf could well be part of Katie’s DNA as her father, Paul Dodson, is the well-respected, long-time superintendent at the Silver Springs Golf and Country Club in Calgary. In addition, Katie’s Grandfather, Art, was a superintendent and she has two uncles and a brother who are supers.

Laura Chaves

Laura Chaves, PhD

Phone: (403) 507-7973
Cell: (403) 507-1065
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7973
Email: lchaves@oldscollege.ca  
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 353B

Research Associate - Turfgrass

Germplasm Evaluation • Grass Breeding • Bioenergy Feedstocks

Laura joined the PTRC in May of 2015 as a turfgrass Research Associate. Prior to her arrival, she spent eight years working at the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science, where she assisted with research and breeding activities aimed towards developing cool-season turfgrass species with improved quality, disease resistance, and stress tolerance for applications ranging from golf courses to home lawns. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University in Plant Science and stayed on at Rutgers to complete her Ph.D. in Plant Biology, where she studied the use of switchgrass, a perennial warm-season grass native to the US, as a bioenergy feedstock for the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic USA. Laura has experience conducting both field and lab-based research with the goal of providing solutions to problems faced by growers, managers, industry representatives and organizations, and consumers.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Phone: 1 403-556-4664
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 4664
Fax: 1 403-507-7977
Email: manderson@oldscollege.ca

Research Technician - Turfgrass

Mark has been with the PTRC since 2001. He has a Diploma in Production Horticulture and is a Licensed Mechanic. In the past Mark worked as a research technician for Alberta Agriculture. Mark coordinates the technical requirements of all trials and experiments at PTRC. He also oversees the progress of the experiments, gathers data and does the preliminary statistical analysis on all the research projects.

Cory Mossing

Cory Mossing

Phone: 1 403-556-8253
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 8253
Fax: 1 403-507-7977
Email: cmossing@oldscollege.ca

Research Technician - Turfgrass

Cory graduated in 2008 from Olds College with a diploma in Turfgrass Management. He has been in the golf industry for 15 years. After graduating, he became an Assistant Superintendent at the Sundre Golf Club. In 2012 he became the Superintendent at Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama B.C. In his new role, Cory is both a Research Technician, and the Administrator of the Alberta Turfgrass Research Foundation, a nonprofit society that provides turfgrass managers practical scientific information and acts as a liaison between industry and turfgrass research.

Crop and Horticulture Team

Paul Tiege

Paul Tiege, PhD

Phone: (403) 507-7701
Cell: (780) 297-6804
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7701
Email: ptiege@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 355

Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Scientist

Biofuel • Waste Management • Sustainability

Paul is a bioenergy research scientist and has been involved in pure and applied research, product development and commercialization projects within the university community and with industry over the past 10 years. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in (organometal) chemistry.  Paul has expertise in medical devices, bio-based chemicals, regulatory approvals, biofuels, and laboratory management as well as business development. Paul is the manager for OCCI’s NSERC project, “Biodiesel Production, Alternative Feedstocks and Commercial Adoption” as well as bio-remediation projects.

Greg Rekken

Greg Rekken, MSc, A.Ag

Phone: (403) 507-7979
Cell: (403) 672-0852
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7979
Email: grekken@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 352

Research Associate - Chemistry & Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture – Bio-products – Field Research

In the field of agriculture Greg has over 20 years of Canadian and international experience; having worked with temperate and tropical cropping systems across a range of bio-geoclimatic zones. He holds an MSc in Plant Science and a BSc in Global Resource Systems from the University of British Columbia as well as a Mechanical Engineering diploma from SAIT.  Greg developed his green thumbs as the Production Manager at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm.  His most notable agrarian adventures include working as an Agricultural Advisor on food security projects in South East Asia, irrigation work in Israel, and consultancies developing an Eco-Resort, rotational grazing programs and a teaching and research farm.  With a diversified experiential portfolio that includes environmental reclamation, residuals recycling, quality control, construction, mechanics and business planning, Greg is able to apply a unique systems approach to his research work with OCCI.

Hilke Beuck

Hilke Beuck

Phone: (403) 556-8315
Cell: (403) 638-1105
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 8315
Email: hbeuck@oldscollege.ca Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 357

Research Technician

Quality Testing • Chemical Analysis • ASTM standards

After receiving an Agricultural Technician Diploma in 1990 Hilke worked with a German company for eight years involved in the cultivation of new strain of grains and was responsible for the technical realization of field, greenhouse and laboratory trials of wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Hilke joined the OCCI team as a Research Technician in October 2007 and focused on bioactive substances from mustard seeds using a biorefinery approach.  Hilke is responsible for the operation of the Biodiesel Quality Lab and testing according to the ASTM and CGSB standards.  She has also worked in research areas of benchtop biodiesel production and is deeply involved in biodiesel and biofuels research.


Garnet Hammer

Phone: (403) 556-4796
Cell: (403) 556-0210
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 4796
Email: ghammer@oldscollege.ca
Location: BioIndustry Resource Centre (BRC)


Livestock and Meats

Shannon Argent

Phone: (403) 556-8314
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 8314
Email: sargent@oldscollege.ca
Location: BioIndustry Resource Centre (BRC)

Acting Manager

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production


Paige Swinston

Phone: (403) 556-8325
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 8325
Email: pswinston@oldscollege.ca
Location: BioIndustry Resource Centre (BRC)

Research Technician

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production

Paige has been with TAC since November 2016. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta in Agriculture and a Masters degree in Wildlife Reproduction from the University of Queensland. Paige has worked in a variety of research areas including endocrinology, bovine sperm production, and feed efficiencies in beef cattle. Country girl at heart, and as part of the TAC team, she works closely with the farm staff at the College on a variety of research trials.

International Development


J. Pablo Ortiz-Hernández, Ph.D.

Phone: (403) 507-7978
Cell: (403) 462-5584
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7978
Email: portiz@oldscollege.ca Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 350

Associate Director - International

J. Pablo Ortiz-Hernandez holds a PhD in Latin American literature by the University of Calgary, where he also lectured since 2005. As a poet, essayist and researcher, he has published over a dozen articles in journals such as Dissidences: Hispanic Journal of Theory and Criticism, Hipertexto, Ethiopicas, Konvergencias, and LEMIR, among others. He has published the books: El sueño del dinero escarabajo (2004), Ante la oscuridad (2005), De no pedirle al viento la noche, hoy en el silencio (2007), and Open Sea (2016). With Nela Rio, Ortiz co-edited the anthology: Eighteen voices of Hispanic-Canadian poetry (2010). His doctoral thesis was published in Germany in 2014. His expertise includes: cross cultural relations, project management, curriculum development and instruction in cultural studies, languages, and Latin American studies. Dr. Ortiz has extensive International experience in Development & Education in Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico & Peru. He was previously Director of the bilateral programs with Mexico at the University of Calgary. He is currently Associate Director of  International Development and Programs at Olds College.

Mario Rincones

Phone: (403) 556-4681
Cell: (403) 507-3367
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 4681
Email: mrincones@oldscollege.ca
Location: Dr. Robert Turner Research Centre (OCCI), Room 350

Coordinator - International Engagement

Apparel Team

Michael Bussoli

Michael Bussoli, B.A.

Phone: (403) 287-7690
Cell: (403) 671-2890
Email: mbussoli@apparelinnovation.org
Location: Apparel Innovation Centre, #2, 640 - 42 Avenue NE Calgary, Alberta, Canada

General Manager - Apparel Innovation Centre

Michael Bussoli is a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Psychology of Learning. Michael has spent 11 years in the apparel industry in various roles, including senior management at Alberta Garment. Since January 2014, he has been the General Manager of the Apparel Innovation Centre (AIC)In addition to his responsibilities at the AIC, Michael is a member of the Canadian General Standards Board committee that oversees Hydrocarbon Flash Fire Protection of Workers and a member of the Extreme Climate Protection Committee of the Canadian Standards Association.

Sushmitha Devarajan

Sushmitha Devarajan, M.Sc.

Phone: (403) 287-7690
Email: sdevarajan@apparelinnovation.org Location: Apparel Innovation Centre, #2, 640 - 42 Avenue NE Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Research Technician – Apparel Innovation Centre

Sushmitha graduated with a Master’s Degree in Textile Science from the University of Alberta after receiving her Bachelor of Technology degree in Textile Technology from the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology in India. In April of 2015, Sushmitha joined the Apparel Innovation Centre team as a Research Technician working under the guidance of OCCI Associate Vice President, Tanya McDonald, and the AIC’s Senior Research Consultant, Mark Ackerman. Sushmitha’s activities include, but are not limited to, thermal and evaporative resistance testing of textile materials and finished apparel as well as hot liquid and steam protection testing of work wear.

Mark Ackerman

Senior Research Consultant – Apparel Innovation Centre

Mark recently retired from the University of Alberta after spending 30+ years on campus as a Professor and Faculty Service Officer. He received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering form the University of Alberta. In recent years, Mark started a consulting company, MYAC Consulting, that designs and builds specialized research equipment, mainly in the area of thermal heat transfer research.

Recent projects have included a flash fire clothing evaluation system for South Korea, a steam/hot water protection system for protective clothing and a test apparatus to simulate vehicle cabs when exposed to wild fire for the US Forest Service. In addition, Mark has taken on the role of Senior Research Consultant for the Apparel Innovation Centre.

Mark Ackerman, M.Sc.  P.Eng

Email: ackerman@myac-eng.org Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada