Who we are
LIFE Co-op is a renewable energy co-operative with its headquarters in Kitchener, ON. Established in 2006, the co-op is now over 440 members, and we are invite additional member-investors to join us as we seek out new ways to make community-owned renewable energy a larger part of our Province's energy system.
While our members are an essential part of the co-op - who often host energy projects, or find new ones, or invest in our upcoming projects - the daily operations and ongoing governance would not get done without the efforts of the folks below:
Shane Mulligan, General Manager
Shane has been working with the Co-op since 2010. Shane's work at LIFE has included development work on the St. Agatha Wind Project, and subsequently on the development of LIFE’s solar initiatives under FIT 2 and FIT 4. As GM Shane oversees everything from landowner relations to project development and financing. Shane studied and taught about environmental politics and energy for a number of years before joining the co-op and beginning to work on what he thought would be more tangible projects. He lives in Kitchener with his wife and two children, and a number of four-legged family members.
Board of Directors
LIFE's Directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Co-op. Directors typically serve for three year terms.
2017-2018 Board of Directors
- Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam, President
- Robert Steel, Vice President
- Brittany Berry, Treasurer and Interim Secretary
- Sylvie Spraakman, Secretary
- (NEW) Terry Green
- (NEW) Harro Wehrmann
- (NEW) Devon Krainer
- (NEW) Ray Gormley
- (NEW) Willem Roubos
Ponnu (Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam) is a professor of the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. His interests include operations optimization, renewable energy planning, storage capacity design, and climate smart agriculture. He has a rooftop solar panel system and walks to work about half of the time; has also a front lawn vegetable garden in the summer, saving his family a lot of trips to the supermarket. Has been a member of LIFE for over five years, and is also a member of the local chapter of citizens climate lobby. In January 2017 the Board of Directors elected Ponnu as President and Chair, succeeding Olaf Weber.
Brittany is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate at the University of Waterloo and an emerging professional in renewables and energy efficiency. Her thesis research investigates social acceptability and effective communications regarding automotive biofuels in Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies and Business from the University of Guelph. While energy and the environment haven’t always been a major part of her studies, they became areas of interest for her while she took a year abroad (2012-2013) in Germany to do two summer internships and an academic exchange there. Those two short internships happened to give Brittany her start in energy business. Since then she’s continued to pursue her interest in sustainable energy through academic research and further internship work, including undergraduate research on community economic effects of wind project development in Ontario. She also works in marketing and business development for CoEng Advisors, who advise businesses in Ontario on energy management to significantly improve efficiency in their buildings. She was elected to the Board in 2016 and serves as Secretary-Treasurer since early 2017.
Olaf Weber, President and Chair from 2014 to 2017, is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo. His research and teaching interests are in the area of environmental and sustainable finance, including renewable energy finance. Before he came to the University of Waterloo, he was a member of the board of an ethical bank in Switzerland and a managing partner at a consulting firm in the field of environment and finance. Olaf has been a member of LIFE Co-op member since November, 2011. As a Director he expects to support LIFE through his knowledge in sustainable finance, and his work and connections to colleagues at the University of Waterloo, where he is frequently introduced to the latest developments in the field of renewable energy in Ontario and internationally.
Robert Steel, Vice President, is a mechanical assembler with post-secondary training in solar photovoltaics. Rob is an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for re-foresting Mother Earth through municipal tree-planting exercises. Rob joined the LIFE Board in order to take a more active approach to renewables and to build on his values of sustainable co-existence and reducing his impact on the planet. And, as a long-standing investor in LIFE, he also wanted "to put his mouth where his money was".
Sylvie Spraakman, Secretary, is a water resources engineer and is now pursuing a Masters of Applied Science at the University of Toronto in innovative stormwater technologies. Sylvie has been an active volunteer in the political and environmental realm in KW, including with Leadnow.ca and Transition Kitchener-Waterloo. Sylvie has been a member of the co-op since 2011 and is excited to bring the co-op into new places. She was elected to the Board in 2015.
Devon Krainer works for MEDA, an international economic development organization, as a Project Manager specializing in blended finance, women’s economic empowerment and impact investment. Prior to joining MEDA, Devon worked in various private sector roles ranging from a family business to a multinational corporation. She holds an honours bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School and a post graduate diploma in Social Innovation from University of Waterloo. Having worked in 15 countries, Devon loves to travel. She also values being connected to the local community, where she serves on the board of House of Friendship, a social services agency in Waterloo region.
Terry Green and his wife Joanne joined LIFE at its beginning in 2006. At that time, they saw LIFE as an an opportunity to get involved in pushing society to change from oil culture to renewable energy sources as well as an ethical and sustainable financial investment. Looking to the future he hopes to help LIFE find new ways to help motivate, educate, and ignite the community’s passion for clean energy alternatives. Terry has a background in Mathematics and Computer Science and has worked in a variety of fields including Banking, Medical Imaging and Mobile communications.
- (NEW) Harro Wehrmann
- (NEW) Ray Gormley
- (NEW) Willem Roubos