Session Information

Disruptive Innovation & Technology: What will it Really Take to Move the Needle on Climate?

Date: Wednesday, March 2

Time: 10:30am - 11:45am

Format: SPARK Talk

Research has shown that our current approach to today’s climate change challenges isn’t moving the dial far enough or fast enough. What are the game changing strategies that accelerate innovation in a resource-constrained world?  How are leaders driving the multi-trillion dollar new energy economy and how can business maximize growth from breakthrough deployment and R&D investments?  Join leaders as they demonstrate how they have launched and leveraged exceptional breakthrough innovation and technologies to maximize resource efficiency, drive economic performance and accelerate innovation to bend down the carbon curve and make our economy more sustainable.

Topic Speakers

Minister Carr has been a dedicated business and community leader in Winnipeg for more than 30 years. He began his career as a musician, as an oboist and trustee with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He then moved on to journalism, working as an editorial writer and columnist with the Winnipeg Free Press as well as for CBC Radio.
Jim entered public life in 1988, when he was elected to represent Fort Rouge in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. He was also the deputy leader of his party. Jim later went on to become the founding CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba, where he worked alongside business leaders to address issues critical to Manitobans and Canadians.

In particular, Jim was one of the architects of the ‘Winnipeg Consensus’ process, which brought together Canadian think tanks and energy leaders, and informed the Canadian Energy Strategy released in 2015 by Canada’s provinces and territories.

Jim has been an active volunteer with a number of local, provincial, and national organizations. He was the founding co-chair of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, member of the board of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, member of the board of the Canada West Foundation, and member of the board of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba.

Jim’s community leadership has earned him numerous awards, including the Canada 125 Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Order of Manitoba.

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As GE's global executive director of ecomagination, Deb Frodl leads the business strategy that drives innovation and profitable growth for clean energy solutions. A 24-year GE veteran, Frodl began her career with GE Capital Fleet Services and held positions in marketing and services. In 1991, she joined GE Capital Public Finance in a sales role and then became the vice president and national sales manager for the municipal market. In 1999, she accepted the role of president and CEO of public finance. She increased her responsibilities by accepting the role of president and CEO for dealer financial services. In 2004, she was named the chief marketing officer for commercial equipment finance and led a global marketing team. Frodl rejoined GE Capital Fleet Services in 2005 as chief commercial officer. In 2010, she was named the chief strategy officer for GE Capital Fleet Services and global alternative fuels leader for GE. She was responsible for the commercial organization including strategy, marketing, commercial excellence and telematics and served as a team member of ecomagination. Frodl is the executive champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and a member of the executive steering committee for GE Commercial Women. She serves on the boards of the American Automotive Leasing Association, the Electric Drive Transportation Association and Common Bond. She has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Industry Leaders by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and the Most Influential Women in Fleet Management by Automotive Fleet as well as a Sustainability All Star by Green Fleet. Frodl holds a BS in business and economics from Minnesota State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Wal is an energy technology veteran with unique industry insight gained through deep operational experience as a venture capitalist, corporate executive, top international consultant and a university professor. Since co-founding Chrysalix in 2001, Wal has sourced, invested in and advised numerous startups building innovative solutions for the new energy economy – often while working hand-inhand with large multinational companies on their sustainable innovation strategies. Wal is a specialist in maximizing returns from bringing innovative solutions to energy intensive industries that are in transition including: oil and gas, power and utilities, mining and metals, chemicals and materials, and automation and manufacturing. 

Prior to founding Chrysalix, Wal spent six years as the Vice President of Strategic Planning at Westcoast Energy (at the time one of the largest Canadian energy companies) with a strong focus on innovation and venturing. He also advised energy, chemicals and financial services blue chip companies on innovation and change management while working for more than seven years with McKinsey & Company.

Before officially joining the corporate world, Wal worked for almost a decade as an Associate Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam doing research in economics, econometrics and the environment, and consulting with businesses, governments and major international institutions including the World Bank and European Union. He has an extensive teaching background in venture capital and entrepreneurial finance, and change management through associate professorships at the University of British Columbia (2000-2008) and Simon Fraser University (1995 – 2002).

With a long standing passion for clean energy innovation, Wal has founded or co-founded several new ventures and clean energy organizations including New Ventures BC and SET Ventures in Amsterdam as part of the Chrysalix Global Network, which he assisted GRC from China in joining as well. He is a long standing member of the Cleantech Group’s Advisory Board, leader of the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, 2014 Canadian “Clean16” honoree, co-founder of the BC 2030 Tech-Hub initiative, member of the regional sustainability council and a member of the Vancouver “Renewable City Action Team”, and frequent political advisor. 

Wal holds a PhD in Economics from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has completed executive training in Change Management from MIT. He is a passionate advocate for innovation and sustainability, author of several books and scientific articles, and can regularly be seen contributing to articles in the international media as well as speaking at industry conferences around the world – from being a key business speaker during the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic Games, to debating Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at GLOBE2014, to giving innovation speeches at high profile events including Oil and Money in London and Energy for Tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur.