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Research Teams

Joy Agnew
Administration Team Joy Agnew Ph.D., P.Eng.

Associate VP, Applied Research

☎ 403.556.4798

Joy earned her Ph.D. in Ag/Bio Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and has more than 10 years of experience in managing applied research programs. As Associate VP Applied Research at Olds College, Joy oversees the applied research activities in crops, livestock, turfgrass production, environmental stewardship, and smart agriculture while supporting the College's innovation and entrepreneurship activities, smart farm operations, and the barley and triticale breeding program at Lacombe. Joy also holds a leadership role in the development of the College's Smart Ag Ecosystem, bringing together the academic programming, applied research, strategic partnerships, smart farm operations, and extension and communication activities to help the College meet its goal to be a leader in Smart Agriculture. Joy is past president of the Canadian Society of Bioengineering and is an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Administration Team David Fullerton M.Sc., P.Ag.

Director of Applied Research


David is the Director of Applied Research at Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI). He provides overall leadership and management of applied research and innovation activities at Olds College with a focus on efficient delivery of high quality applied research projects. He works closely with the Associate Vice President of Applied Research in defining strategic vision and business and operational goals for the Centre to ensure OCCI’s work is aligned with the College’s strategic plan. David brings years of experience in promoting, developing and managing industry-focused applied research activities at colleges and universities in Canada and Qatar. He also worked in entrepreneurial development and has decades of practical on-the-farm experience. David earned a Farming Technology Diploma and B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. He also has a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Alberta where his research focused on enhancing rural economies through improved trading activities.

Kelly Mackinnon
Administration Team Kelly Mackinnon

OCCI Administration


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.

Chantel Watt
Administration Team Chantel Watt

Research Project Accountant

☎ 403.837.1873

Chantel-Lee Watt is the OCCI Research Project Accountant and is responsible for financial oversight and reporting on research projects and awards. She helps prepare budgets for operational purposes and projects, and serves as a resource for project managers and team leads to facilitate effective project management. She also provides guidance on following agency rules and regulations for the College's policies and procedures. Before joining Olds College, Chantel spent 20 years with the University of Calgary in the Research and Trust office. She has experience with NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, Canadian Space Agency, Alberta Innovates and more.

Angela Fuller
Administration Team Angela Fuller

Administrative Research Officer

Administration Team Irene Wenger Ph.D., P.Ag.

Manager, Special Projects

☎ 403.507.9332

Irene Wenger is Manager, Special Projects with Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI). Irene is primarily responsible for managing the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network, and she will also be supporting the College’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Irene obtained her B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Alberta and a M.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan with a focus in both degrees on animal agriculture, specifically swine production and management. She earned her Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences from the (now) School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her research focused on the task-specific air contaminant exposures of specialty-area pig barn workers. Before joining Olds College, Irene spent 25+ years managing large, complex, multi-year, multi-institution and multi-stakeholder/funder projects, primarily in Agriculture, with the last 10 years as a Research Project Manager at the University of Alberta.

Communications Melissa Zembik BComm-PR

Communications Advisor - Applied Research

☎ 403.507.7953

Melissa is the dedicated Communications Advisor for Applied Research and the Smart Farm at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. She works closely with the research team to develop content and share results from projects and initiatives at Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI). Melissa is kept busy writing articles, web stories and social media content that supports OCCI and the Olds College brand, along with organizing media requests, research events, and photo and video shoots for the research team. Melissa completed the Bachelor of Communication program with a business minor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB.

Shabeg Briar
Crop Research Shabeg Briar Ph.D., P.Ag.

Research Agronomist

☎ 403.507.7980

Shabeg Briar earned his B.Sc. degree in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Nematology from Ohio State University, USA. Currently in his role as a Research Agronomist, he is responsible for conducting small plot crop trials related to herbicide efficacy, crop variety evaluation and pest management studies. He is a certified professional agronomist and possesses a pesticide applicator license. Prior to this, he was working as a Research Scientist with Montana Ag. Exp. Station. During his Ph.D. work at the Ohio State University, he focused on soil health of farming systems and studied bio-indicators and their role in the soil food web. He has published several peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and extension articles.

Hilke Beuck
Crop Research Hilke Beuck

Research Technician - Field Crops

☎ 403.556.8322

Currently, Hilke is working as a Research Technician with the crops division of OCCI and specializes in small plot research trials for herbicide efficacy, fertilizer and germplasm screening. Prior to this Hilke worked with a German company for eight years involved in the cultivation of a new strain of grains and was responsible for the technical realization of field, greenhouse and laboratory trials of wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Hilke received an Agricultural-Technological Assistant Diploma in 1990 from Germany.

Leona Megli
Crop Research Leona Megli B.A.Sc.

Research Technician - Field Crops

☎ 403.556.4674

Leona Megli is working with OCCI's Crops Research team as a Research Technician. Leona obtained her B.A.Sc. from Olds College in 2006 and her interest in research was sparked when she worked as a summer student for the Nursery Crops division of Crop Diversification Centre South in Brooks, AB. Prior to joining the OCCI team, Leona worked as a Horticulture Technician for 15 years with Olds College Grounds.

Lorna Baird
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lorna Baird B.Sc., M.Sc.



Lorna Baird is the Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She also supports Business Development for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) at Olds College. Lorna holds a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the University of Manitoba and an M.Sc. in Livestock Behaviour and Welfare from the University of British Columbia. Following her studies, she spent four years running a Cattle Lameness research program at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland.

Upon returning to Canada, Lorna settled in Calgary and worked with the livestock and poultry industries in roles at Alberta Farm Animal Care (as Executive Director) as well as Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (livestock extension, grant funding and project coordination). She finds it rewarding to support the development of new, innovative ideas. Lorna’s aim is to ensure current and prospective clients and partners are aware of the exciting ongoing work and potential opportunities with the College.

Ike Edeogu
Environmental Stewardship Ike Edeogu P.Eng, M.Sc

Research Manager

☎ 403.556.4650

Ike Edeogu is the Smart Agriculture Applied Research Manager with Olds College Centre for Innovation. He is a professional engineer with an M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Olds College in 2020, Ike worked with Alberta's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for about 25 years in the application of applied research and innovation techniques and principles towards the advancement of Alberta’s agricultural sector. He has a vast network of professional contacts from across the private sector, academia, government, and non-government organizations, both across Canada and abroad.

Environmental Stewardship Krista Pick

Research Technician

☎ 403.507.7947

Smart Ag - Autonomous Agriculture Equipment Roy Maki

Research Project Manager

☎ 403.556.4683

Roy Maki shares Olds College’s passion for using technology to improve Canadian Agriculture. Roy attained his experience and knowledge in the agricultural industry through first, being raised on a mixed family farm in SE Saskatchewan and second, being employed in the Agricultural Research and Testing community. This is where he led or contributed to 100+ agriculturally based projects ranging from spray deposition studies to combine harvester testing, air seeder performance, grain drying, cattle RFID ear tag retention, and Anaerobic digestion/methane gas production. Roy holds a B.Sc. Agricultural Engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a M.Sc. degree from the University of Alberta specializing in embedded computer systems and controls.

Yevgen Mykhaylichenko
Smart Ag - Autonomous Agriculture Equipment Yevgen Mykhaylichenko

Technology Integration Specialist

Herman Simons
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Herman Simons

Project Manager

Chris Ouellette
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Chris Ouellette P. Eng.

Research Technical Lead

☎ 587.920.2693

Chris is the Smart Farm Technical Lead with the Olds College Centre for Innovation team.  He looks forward to applying his 25+ years of experience in the agricultural research arena to the digital technologies and smart agriculture research projects and activities currently ongoing at the Olds College Smart Farm. Chris is a professional engineer with a B.Sc. Agricultural Engineering degree from the University of Alberta. Before joining the Olds College Smart Farm team, he worked at the University of Alberta supporting the instrumentation needs of poultry and swine research.

Smart Agriculture Applied Research Daniel Stefner B.A.Sc.

Project Lead & Farm Liaison

☎ 403.556.4706

Daniel Stefner is a Research Technician and Farm Liaison within the Smart Ag Applied Research team. He is involved in a multitude of projects that focus on evaluating, validating and developing agriculture technologies, including software testing of user platform applications. As the Farm Liaison, Daniel works between the research teams and Smart Farm team to communicate and coordinate the unique on-farm requirements for ongoing applied research projects. He started his Olds College career as an Agriculture Management student in 2017, and went on to complete the Bachelor of Applied Science program with a major in Agribusiness. He also has a diploma in Digital Media and IT specializing in Business Analysis. Daniel brings an innovative and creative mind to the research team with experience of crop farming from his family's farm and previous employment.

Christina Kaye
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Christina Kaye

Project Lead

☎ 403.315.5757

Smart Agriculture Applied Research Abby Sim B.Sc.

Research Technician

☎ 403.963.0570

Matilda Schmohl
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Matilda Schmohl B.Sc (Ag.)

Research Technician

☎ 403.550.9277

Matilda (Tilly) Schmohl is a Research Technician with the Smart Ag Applied Research team where she specializes in sensor technologies and their implementation onto the Olds College Smart Farm. She conducts technical evaluations and data collection over a range of projects completed within the research team. Prior to moving to Canada in 2019, Matilda studied at the University of Sydney, Australia where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with Honours.

Julia Cobb
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Julie Cobb

Research Technician

☎ 403.994.4607

Julie Cobb graduated with a diploma in Precision Agriculture Techgronomy from Olds College. She also operates a mixed farm at home, and is passionate about finding ways to make all farms be more efficient and profitable in the safest manner possible. When Julie’s not working, you can usually find her hanging out with her family and dog, or tinkering away at some project around the farm.

Smart Agriculture Applied Research Sofia Bahmutsky M.Sc.

Data Scientist

☎ 403.988.8316

Sofia holds a M.Sc. in Data Science from the University of British Columbia which she obtained in 2020, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary earned in 2018. Currently she focuses her work on data science, machine learning and analytics in the realm of precision agriculture, climate change, environmental health and sustainability research fields. She also holds a BIT designation from the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. Prior to working at OCCI, she completed an internship with Statistics Canada working on COVID-19 prediction modelling for estimation of risk factors and outbreak clusters.

Ashutosh Singh
Smart Agriculture Applied Research Ashutosh Singh B.Sc.

Data Scientist

Digital Ag Akshay Bhanot B.Tech (I.T.)

Software Developer & Data Scientist

☎ 825.735.5240

Akshay is a Software Developer and Data Scientist within the Digital Ag Applied Research team at Olds College and a member of P.T.K. Honor Society. He has an applied degree in GIS and Bachelor of Technology degree in Information Technology with two years of experience in web development and GIS. He has expertise in Angular, Python, GeoServer, SQL, PHP and JAVA. He is currently assisting and developing the core and analysis part of the HyperLayer Data project.

Digital Ag Jyothish Prabhakaran JayasreeB.Tech

Software Developer & Data Scientist

☎ 587.966.5922

Jyothish is a Software Developer and Data Scientist within the Digital Ag Applied Research team at Olds College. He has an applied degree in GIS, and a Bachelor degree in Electronics and Communication with four years of experience in software development and GIS. He has expertise in Python, Angular, SQL, GIS and database management. He is currently assisting with the development of the core and analysis portion of the HyperLayer Data project which is based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Sean Thompson
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Sean Thompson


☎ 403.556.8314

Sean Thompson is the Manager of the Technology Access Center for Livestock Production (TACLP). In his current role, Sean provides oversight to operations conducted by the TACLP with emphasis on technical advisory, project management and maintaining client relationships. Sean has an extensive background in the management, nutrition and genetics of beef cattle. Further, he has over 6 years’ experience managing research projects at post-secondary institutions. Sean holds an MSc in beef cattle nutrition from the University of Manitoba. Prior to joining Olds College, Sean served as Feed Industry Liaison at the University of Saskatchewan, managing feed processing and livestock feeding research projects.

Desiree Gellatly
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Désirée Gellatly

Research Scientist

☎ 403.556.4786

Dr. Désirée Gellatly is the Research Scientist for the TACLP at Olds College. Dr. Gellatly directs and supports the scientific activities of all livestock research projects conducted by the TACLP. She is responsible for the financial and authoritative security of livestock research projects as well as preparation of research proposals/contracts and submissions, project budgeting, development and implementation of research trials, supervision of research staff, and client communications. Dr. Gellatly completed her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Animal Science at São Paulo State University in Brazil with a focus on the assessment of cattle temperament and its relationship with feeding behaviour, feed efficiency, growth, and reproductive performance. She also carries two post-doctorates from Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada managing projects related to beef cattle and sheep behaviour and welfare.

Brittany Scott
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Brittany Scott

Research Technician

☎ 403.586.2515

Brittany Scott is a Research Technician with the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production and specializes in livestock research trials evaluating animal performance, health and environmental sustainability. She is responsible for animal husbandry, data collection and technical evaluations related to beef and sheep research projects. Prior to this Brittany was a student at Lakeland College where she studied Animal Science Technology. Thereafter, she attended Olds College where she earned her Agribusiness Degree in 2020.

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Laio Sobrinho

Research Associate

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Alison Neale B.Sc.

Research Associate

☎ 306.914.1362

Alison always wanted to work with livestock growing up and be immersed in a rural community. She received a B.Sc. in Animal Biosciences from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She worked as a research technician at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine before joining Feedlot Health Services as a Project Manager. In both of these roles, Alison conducted and organized livestock research activities, monitored data, and worked at the ground level in feedlots and cow/calf ranches. On her days off, she likes to be outside practicing her bow, going fishing or spending time on the farm.

Yaogeng Lei
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Yaogeng Lei Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc.

Research Associate

☎ 403.556.4781

Born and raised in China, Yaogeng obtained his B.Sc. in animal science, and M.Sc. in animal nutrition and feed science from Northwest A&F University (Shaanxi, China). Upon graduation, Yaogeng came to Canada to pursue his Ph.D. degree in animal science from University of Saskatchewan. His research project evaluated the structural and nutritional characteristics of genetic modified alfalfa with both traditional and spectral methods. Through his graduate studies, Yaogeng worked with cashmere goats, lambs, sheep and dairy cows in diet formulation, sample collection and evaluation. Prior to joining Olds College, Yaogeng worked as a data analyst at GrowSafe Systems (now Vytelle) analyzing feed efficiency data of cattle and sheep for feedlots and research institutes. In addition, he also provided customer technical services and contributed to product developments. Yaogeng has good knowledge and skills in ruminant nutrition, experimental design and statistical analysis.

Brianna Gratton
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Brianna Gratton CCA


☎ 587.444.2055

Brianna Gratton is the Techgronomist with the TACLP, and has a passion for enhancing the productivity and sustainability of livestock production systems through the integration of technology. After completing her education at Olds College, Brianna acquired her professional certification as a Certified Crop Advisor demonstrating her knowledge and expertise in managing crop production systems.

Brianna's focus on technology stems from her desire to find innovative solutions to the challenges facing the livestock industry. At the TACLP, Brianna works to identify and apply cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency and sustainability in the industry. Her work involves developing and testing new technologies, tools, and practices that can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and promote regenerative practices.

In addition to her work as a Techgronomist, Brianna also runs a cow-calf operation near Sundre. Her hands-on experience in the livestock industry gives her perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing producers today. In her spare time, she is kept busy with her two young kids.

Lyndsey Smith
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Lyndsey Smith B.A.Sc.

Research Technician

☎ 780.340.7082

Lyndsey has been actively involved in the beef industry through the Canadian Junior Hereford Association and continues to raise her own cattle. Lyndsey received her diploma from Olds College majoring in Agricultural Business in 2021. She then pursued her Bachelor of Applied Science at Olds College. Prior to joining the TACLP, Lyndsey worked as a Canola Breeding Technician at Cargill. 

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Emilie Edgar B.A.Sc.

Research Technician

☎ 403.506.4272

Emilie is a Research Technician for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) at Olds College. Emilie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness along with a diploma in Agriculture Management majoring in Production — both completed at Olds College. She is responsible for assisting in research projects and laboratory experiments, collecting and managing data, and livestock husbandry. Emilie is passionate about the livestock sector and continues to support new innovative ideas to provide a more sustainable future in the agriculture industry.

Kofi Agblor
Field Crop Development Centre Kofi Agblor

Program Director

Field Crop Development Centre Jennifer Zantinge Ph.D.

Research Scientist - Biotechnology

Field Crop Development Centre Sajid Rehman Ph.D.

Research Scientist - Pathology

Field Crop Development Centre Lori Oatway, M.Sc.

Research Scientist - Quality

Field Crop Development Centre Mazen Aljarrah M.Sc.

Triticale breeder

Field Crop Development Centre Yadeta Kabeta Ph.D.

Barley Breeder