Propel Energy Tech

Take a look below at the 2019 Keynote line up! Stay tuned for the 2020 Keynote roster. Be the first to know about new speaker announcements as they are made available and sign up for our newsletter today.  

Changing the Mindset Behind Fossil Fuels

Alex Epstein

Best-Selling Author, Energy Thought Leader, Industrial Policy Expert
Founder | Center for Industrial Progress

Alex Epstein is a philosopher who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. He founded Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) in 2011 to offer a positive, pro-human alternative to the Green movement.

Alex’s philosophy as “anti-pollution but pro-development” immerses audiences in his eye-opening thoughts into how fossil fuels and technology will improve the lives of people—safely, cleanly, and effectively—for years to come. Epstein draws on cutting-edge research and original insights which earned him the title of “most original thinker of the year” by political commentator, John McLaughlin in 2014.

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His New York Times best-selling book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, argues that fossil fuels, despite popular perception, have improved every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water. Believing that the public only hears one side of the story, he discusses how we are programmed to only concentrate on the risks and side effects of fossil fuels rather than their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy to a world of seven billion people, most of who are in developing countries and have no access to alternatives.

He has made his moral case for fossil fuels at dozens of campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Duke (his alma mater). He has also spoken to employees and leaders at dozens of Fortune 500 energy companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Phillips 66, Valero, Enbridge, and TransCanada.

A New Era of Cleantech is Emerging: Trends, Drivers, Opportunities and Challenges

Peter Tertzakian

Executive Director | ARC Energy Research Institute

Peter is an economist, investment strategist, advisor, author and public speaker on issues vital to the future of energy.

He has clocked over 30 years of experience in the business of energy, spanning all systems from oil and gas to renewables. Peter’s passion is studying how society evolves its energy use and applying the lessons of the past into today’s strategic business issues. His holistic knowledge of physics, innovation, finance and economics allows him to give audiences thought-provoking advice on how to think about pressing issues on the transition to sustainable energy solutions.

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An accomplished author, Peter’s two best-selling books, A Thousand Barrels a Second (McGraw-Hill, NY 2005) and The End of Energy Obesity (John Wiley & Sons, NY 2009) provide insight into the dynamic world of energy transitions through a thoughtful and highly readable examination of economic, environmental and geopolitical pressures. He has written over 600 weekly columns, current issues of which are distributed through various media channels.

In 2015 Peter was seconded to the four-person Royalty Review Panel for the province of Alberta – the world’s 8th largest producer of oil and gas – where he led the redesign of the fiscal policy.  In 2016 Peter was inducted into the Alberta Petroleum Hall of Fame.

Peter has an undergraduate degree in Geophysics from the University of Alberta, a graduate degree in Econometrics from the University of Southampton UK, and a Master of Science in Management of Technology from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. In addition to his principal roles at the ARC Energy Research Institute and ARC Financial, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary and has lectured at many leading universities and conferences around the world.

Dual Keynote: Bridging the Gap Between Corporate Leaders and Emerging Tech Companies

Audun Abelsnes

Managing Director | Techstars Energy Accelerator

Audun Abelsnes is the Managing Director of Techstars Energy in partnership with Equinor, Kongsberg and McKinsey. For several years, Audun Abelsnes has been part-responsible for the master-level course “New Venture Creation” (5th year) at BI Norwegian Business School (one of the Top50 business schools in Europe). He also founded and sold one company and he has been instrumental in funding and scaling up a medical diagnostic company. Audun Abelsnes has spent several years in PWC management consulting and holds a Master of Science in International Marketing from BI Norwegian Business School and City University in London.

Dual Keynote: Bridging the Gap Between Corporate Leaders and Emerging Tech Companies

Jens Festervoll

Equinor’s Corporate Liaison | Techstars Energy Accelerator

Jens Festervoll has 17 years of experience in the energy sector as a consultant and professional across the energy value chain, primarily in oil and gas. He has worked as a Program Manager to set up Statoil’s recently established Digital Centre of Excellence. Prior to that, Festervoll was Vice President for Corporate Strategy in Statoil. In addition, he has held a number of positions from gas trading, business development and analysis in Norsk Hydro and Statoil. Festervoll has a keen interest in innovation, digitalization and change management; and holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Oslo and University of Essex. Festervoll sits on the Board of Subsea Valley Cluster, a Norwegian Centre of Expertise technology cluster delivering world leading engineering from subsea to space.


Our Species & Technology at a Crossroads

Jim Gibson

Author | Tip of the Spear
Co-Founder | Rainforest Alberta

Veteran Entrepreneur, Active Innovation Leader and Author Jim Gibson to Keynote at #PROPEL2018

Calgary-based entrepreneur Jim Gibson is an active leader in the Alberta innovation ecosystem. With 30 years of experience at the forefront of technology and change, Jim is a passionate advocate for “paying attention” to what’s coming and providing concrete examples of how we can all be leaders and role models for change. His talk will take themes from his forthcoming book, Tip of the Spear, and challenge the #PROPEL2018 audience to understand and respond to a new world that sees infinite possibilities meeting serious global problems head on.

Jim has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University, a B.Comm from the University of Toronto, and holds his Certified Management Consulting Designation. Jim lives in Calgary, Canada with his family, and travels the world sharing his experience, business acumen, and start-up wisdom.

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Tip of the Spear

Passionate, experienced, and an infinitely curious entrepreneur, Gibson shares his cautionary tale of innovation and disruption in a human world. Tip of the Spear is the product of his life’s work – spanning over 30 years at the forefront of technology and change. Tip of the Spear is a comprehensive study of the state of technology and its impact in the near term on the fate of our species. The three Laws of Disruption are at the center of the story which recognizes that:

  • The slope of the technology curve is dramatically increasing;
  • The technology genies never go back into the bottle; and
  • Our linear systems of organization are not prepared.

It takes a look into the future through the eyes of two thirteen-year-old girls from very different parts of the world. And concludes with a message of hope that is focused on creating a new social contract with those around us and a new definition of innovation that speaks more to Innovation of Ways than to Innovation of Things.

Don’t miss Jim Gibson Keynote #PROPEL2018 – Register today!

Tip of the Spear is a comprehensive study of the state of technology and its impact in the near term on the fate of our species – Pre-Purchase online now

Closing the Energy Innovation Gap

Jean-Michel Gires

Former President & CEO | Total E&P Canada
CEO | NextTier Energy Solutions

Oil Patch Exec turned Innovation Leader, Jean-Michel Gires Keynotes #PROPEL2018

With over 25 years of experience in the energy, mining, heavy oil, and sustainable development industries – innovation has always been top of mind for Jean-Michel Gires. Best known as the man who led Total E&P into the oil sands, this O&G executive is now in the business of breakthrough innovation, investing in new technologies that aim to radically disrupt the energy sector. A born leader, Jean-Michel is set to change the way we think about the innovation economy.

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Over two decades, he’s been a sustainability leader around the world and was instrumental in creating best practices for Total’s projects, specifically in the area of environmental responsibility. Gires was also named a Chevalier of the Legion d’ Honneur, in 2003, one of France’s highest civilian honours.

In 2009, Jean-Michel Gires launched the Total Ecosolutions label as his strategic vision to further support Venture Capitalism. The program offers customers ecologically efficient solutions, to help better control their environmental impact by consuming less and consuming better. At the end of 2016, over 90 products and services had received the “Total Ecosolutions” label and the sales helped save 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 over the product life-cycles.

This former co-chairman of the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) and former founding member of the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) stepped down from CEO at Total E&P to pursue a long standing passion for Energy Innovation.

Don’t miss Jean-Michel Gires Keynote #PROPEL2018 – Register today!



Titans of Technology Talk Clean Hydrocarbons

Clean Hydrocarbons: A Great Idea or the New Business Model?

Join us at #PROPEL2017 as these O&G heavyweights discuss their respective company mandates for adopting and developing clean hydrocarbon technologies. The global market for a cleaner hydrocarbon is ever growing. These companies are tasked with minimizing energy inputs to maximize output, in a low carbon economy. The answers lie in tech-driven innovation.

Hear it straight from these Titans of Technology as they share their new solutions, creative methods, and tangible approaches to clean hydrocarbons.

Jeff Jones

Reporter, Business Report

Suzanne West

President & CEO

Tom Corscadden

Vice-President for Marketing, Engineering and Operations

Judy Fairburn

Executive Vice-President
Business Innovation


The Digital Revolution is Happening - Business needs to embrace it or risk being left behind

Elyse Allan

President & CEO

In her role as President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Canada and Vice President GE, Elyse is a passionate champion for Canada’s competitiveness, advancing the country’s science and technology base and competitive fiscal policy.

She actively engages in developing and shaping public policy through industry groups, research and advocacy organizations. Elyse serves on the Board of Directors for the C.D. Howe Institute and the Conference Board of Canada. As well, she recently completed her Board term at the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, where she also served as Chair. Elyse has participated on a number of federal and provincial government advisory boards focused on Canada’s competitiveness, energy strategy, economic development, transportation strategy and access to credit.

Read more on Elyse Allan here.