Welcome to Phytokana Ingredients

Sustainable Proteins for a Healthier Planet

About Phytokana Ingredients Inc.

Phytokana is an independent Alberta-based innovator, processor, developer, and distributor of conventional and organic plant-based protein and co-products for the food and beverage industry. We are building a plant protein innovation hub in Strathmore, Alberta – our processing facility will sustainably source novel pulse crops to produce high purity protein concentrates and co-products from our low emissions fractionation facility.

Our Vision

Sustainable proteins for a healthier planet

Our Motto

The sustainable fuel of life

What Drives Us

  • Pioneering the plant protein industry in Alberta
  • Health, wellness, self-care, and safety
  • Yield meaningful outcomes for employees, customers, growers, and community
  • Tenacious champion of sustainability and food security
  • Organically develop our people and culture

Our Team

Phytokana’s Management Team brings together over 100 years of food science, agriculture, engineering, finance, investment banking, private equity, business development and regulatory experience.

Management Team

Chris Theal, CFA, MBA, ICD.DFounder, President & CEO, Director

Chris is the Founder, President & CEO of Phytokana Ingredients Inc. and has over 25 years of business and leadership experience as an Alberta entrepreneur. Most recently, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Velvet Energy Ltd., a private company backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and private equity holders, including Warburg Pincus. Prior to that he founded an energy hedge fund and was the founding partner of a full service energy investment boutique, Tristone Capital Inc. A former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, he is the Past President of the Royal Military Colleges of Canada Foundation. Chris holds an Undergraduate degree in Economics, with Distinction, from the Royal Roads Military College and a Master of Business Administration (Finance) from the University of British Columbia; is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder (2000) and holds the ICD.D designation from the Directors Education Program.

David Vetters, CPA, CAChief Financial Officer

David has 28 years of broad experience in capital markets, finance, accounting and leadership with roles in private equity, investment banking and audit. Most recently, he was a Managing Partner with Annapolis Capital, an energy focused private equity investment firm, where, among other duties, he was responsible for the design and implementation of Annapolis’ Responsible Investment Policy and ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) reporting and portfolio company benchmarking. Prior to Annapolis, David held senior and leadership positions with a number of investment banks including BMO Capital Markets, Macquarie Capital Markets Canada and Tristone Capital, where he spent considerable time advising private company clients on financings and merger, acquisition and sale transactions. David obtained his Chartered Accountant designation following articling with Price Waterhouse in Saskatoon and Calgary and holds a Bachelor of Administration (Accounting) degree.

Laure Laval, PhD, MScChief Innovation Officer

Laure brings 12 years of experience in product development, food formulations, product commercialization and leading R&D teams. Her experience in a variety of fields and her multidisciplinary training allowed her to develop a global vision of the product launch chain. Most recently, she was the Applied Research and Development Manager for North America for Lallemand, one of the leaders in yeast and probiotics production, working closely with the commercial team. She has a great balance of food technology competency and commercial acumen.  Laure holds a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnologies from the National Institute of Applied Science in Lyon, France and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Paris Sud.

Drew Sharp, P.Ag, MBAAgribusiness Manager

Drew is the Agribusiness Manager for Phytokana Ingredients Inc. and has over 6 years of experience working in the agriculture industry throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Most recently, he was the North American Agriculture Manager for Boortmalt, the world’s largest maltster, with a global footprint of 27 malting plants in 15 countries spread across 5 continents. Prior to his time with Boortmalt, he worked in grain merchandising and agronomy with Rahr Malting located in Alix, Alberta. Drew is a professional agrologist with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists and holds an undergraduate degree in Agronomy, with Distinction, from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Business Administration in Food and Agribusiness from the University of Guelph.

Martin Vogel, CPA, CASenior Manager, Finance

Martin has 15 years of experience in finance, accounting, budgeting, treasury and audit. Most recently he was the Manager of Finance and Accounting at Velvet Energy Ltd., where his responsibilities included financial analysis, financial reporting, treasury and budgeting. Prior to Velvet, Martin worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Calgary where he obtained his Chartered Accountant designation. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Calgary.

Tyler Arnott, P.EngPlant Manager

Tyler is the Plant Manager for Phyto’s Strathmore plant protein processing facility.  Tyler has 18 years of operations and engineering experience in manufacturing facilities spanning fertilizer, upstream energy, downstream refining, and petrochemicals.  In those industries, he has filled a variety of roles including front line engineering support, strategic and operations planning, operations leadership and most recently as a technical services manager for a new design build facility in Alberta’s industrial heartland.  Tyler has led large operational sites with diverse teams larger than 200 people.  Tyler is a Professional Engineer with APEGA and has held Responsible Member duties at previous employers.  Tyler has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Systems Engineering from the University of Regina.

Board of Directors

The Phytokana Board of Directors is a diverse group of leaders that bring creative tension to the boardroom and oversight of the executive team.

Vincent ChahleyIndependent Businessman – Chairman

Vincent brings 40 years of experience in the investment banking, oil and gas and venture capital/angel investing industries. As an investment banker, Vincent was a founding partner of Tristone Capital and KERN Partners, co headed the Calgary office for RBC Capital Markets and began his career with Burns Fry in Toronto. Vincent has served on numerous private and public company boards and in addition to Phyto Organix, is currently a director of Velvet Energy and the Aequitas Neo Stock Exchange. As an angel investor he is an active member of the Creative Destruction Lab working as a mentor in CDL Rockies for the Ag and Prime Streams and in CDL Wisconsin in the Health and Risk Streams and is the founder of the UCeed Haskayne Student Fund, a venture capital fund managed by students at the University of Calgary.

Scott Exner, LLBAgriculture & Food Lawyer, MLT Aikins LLP – Independent Director

Scott is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and a partner in MLT Aikins LLP. He has provided legal and business advice to food and agriculture companies for 30 years. An international legal ranking publication has consistently recognized Scott as one of the top food and agribusiness lawyers in Canada. He was also recently recognized as one of the Top 50 most influential individuals in Canadian agriculture. In addition, Scott co-developed and instructs Food and Agricultural Law at the University of Calgary College of Law.

Paul Hemsley, B.Sc., MBAInvestor & Corporate Director – Independent Director

Paul is an entrepreneur, having founded and built Hemmera Envirochem Inc., an environmental consulting and engineering firm that he expanded across Canada over 23 years before subsequently selling it to Ausenco in 2017. He has held various appointments over his career including sitting on the federal Sustainable Development Advisory Council, and the BC provincial Green Energy Advisory Task Force. Paul is a graduate of Queen’s University (B.Sc.) and also holds an MBA from Dalhousie University. He resides in West Vancouver, BC and gives back to the community by supporting the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and the Family Services of the North Shore.