Executive Team

PhD – Science and Technology Studies (Economics and Mathematics Stream), University of Edinburgh

M.Sc. – Science and Technology Studies (Economics and Mathematics Stream), University of Edinburgh

M.Sc. – Political Science and Public Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science

BJ – Political Science and Journalism, Carleton University

As the President & CEO of CUTRIC, Dr. Josipa Petrunic is leading the formulation of national transportation and energy systems analyses, including battery electric vehicles (BEV), hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and zero-emissions transit technologies.

As one of Canada’s leading experts in Zero-Emissions Bus (ZEB) innovation deployment projects, Dr. Petrunic has designed, developed and launched the Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial (Phases I-II), the Pan-Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Demonstration & Integration Trial (Phase I) and the Canadian National Smart Vehicle Demonstration & Integration Trial (Phase I).

In 2014, Dr. Petrunic developed Canada’s first methodological framework for an interdisciplinary physics-, mathematics- and economics-based modelling tool. TRiPSIM™, Canada’s first electric bus modelling tool, helps Canadian public fleets determine how zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) would operate in their communities and the extent to which they would generate operational savings. Now in its third generation and branded as Rout.i™ 2.0, more than two dozen transit agencies in Canada and the United States have relied on it to plan their full-fleet, vehicle- and block-based electrification deployments.

Dr. Petrunic has created Canada’s most interdisciplinary ZEB Consulting Team specializing in all salient variables associated with battery electric bus (BEB) powertrains, hydrogen fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) powertrains, renewable natural gas-powered compressed natural gas (CNG) powertrains, low- and high-powered charging systems, energy storage, smart controls, scheduling optimization, lifecycle cost analyses (LCAs), lifecycle emissions analyses, and facilities design.

Under the leadership of Dr. Petrunic, CUTRIC has expanded from five founding members to more than 130 transit, utility, industry, and academic institutional members across North America with projects valued at over $50 million.

Dr. Petrunic previously served as the Lead Researcher in electric vehicle policy studies at McMaster University and as a Senior Research Fellow in the history and philosophy of mathematics at University College London (UCL), United Kingdom. Dr. Petrunic continues to lecture in Globalization Studies at McMaster University.

Dr. Petrunic currently sits on the Board of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation and Women’s Transportation Seminar – Toronto (WTS Toronto). She is a regular expert contributor to news stories, panels, and editorials focused on ZEB technologies published in the Globe and MailNational PostBNN Bloomberg, CTV, CBC and Toronto Star, among other major news outlets.

In 2018, she was named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 by Bloomberg News and Canada’s Top Clean 50. In 2019, she was named Aspioneer Top 10 Influential Women Leaders. In 2020, she received an award in WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards for her role in the Science and Technology industry.

Dr. Petrunic is currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Michele Davies has built her career on the front lines of corporate Canada adopting emerging technologies.  From the earliest days of web-enabled applications, enterprise resource planning systems and internet-driven business models, she has helped executive teams to plan and deliver strategic initiatives. As a business generalist, her projects cross lines of business, leverage her political acuity and structure complexity.

The foundation of her career focused on developing the processes, people, and systems to support strategic goals.  Over the last 15 years her operations expertise expanded to include finding, developing and managing significant domestic and international partnerships.  Most recently, she led and managed government and industry partnerships that supported the development of large strategic initiatives including leading a proposal to support the $400M ENCQOR proposal submission that brought pre-commercial 5G R&D infrastructure to small and medium companies in Ontario and Quebec.  An earlier IBM transit smartcard proposal valued at $200M harnessed IBM’s global knowledge base, local and international partners, and technology credentials to create a competitive market position.

Known for her strategic and grounded approach, Ms. Davies received an MBA from Ivey Business School and B. Math from the University of Waterloo and received her management consulting and project management training at IBM’s global training facilities.

Marianne has 15+ years of expertise in directing the financial and accounting activities for private and publicly traded companies in a range of industries and company structures. With experience in both small ($5M) to large ($500M+) companies, she helps CEOs and owners generate more cash and time to run their companies.

Marianne focuses on building trust with CEOs and owners. She partners with them to convert their strategic visions into productive and growth building initiatives. Marianne rapidly assesses a situation and identifies quick wins and long-term opportunities to maximize the value of their company, while mitigating risk. She rolls up her sleeves and collaboratively customizes a sustainable plan to improve the company’s financial health.

Her experience includes working with owners and executives across all business lines to help them to see the bigger financial picture including all elements that support a positive cash flow. She speaks your language about your operations and translates numbers into something that supports you in reaching your operational goals. Marianne is a firm believer in solving challenging areas through group buy-in to achieve better profitability.

Marianne holds a Finance and Accounting Bachelor’s degree from the University of Applied Sciences in Austria and is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Canadian Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Marianne is based in Toronto, Canada. 

Marie-Claude Perreault, CRIA

Human Resources Legal Advisor

Marie-Claude has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1990, and a member of l’Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés as a certified industrial relations counsellor (CRIA) since 2002.  She was a partner at a major Montreal law firm for 23 years, during which time she worked for employers operating out of Quebec for Canadian, American, and European companies.  In addition, from 2013 to 2016, she held the position of Vice President Human Resources, Occupational Health and Safety and Legal Affairs for a public company (TSX Toronto) with operations in Canada and the United States. Marie-Claude was responsible for the integration of working conditions for all companies acquired by the head office (approximately 20 acquisitions over a 3-year span) across different jurisdictions.  Her management experience, combined with her years of experience as a managerial attorney in labour and employment law as well as in occupational health and safety law, has bestowed her with a global understanding and vision that allows her to adopt strategies that encompass all aspects of the business.

ZEB Consulting Services Team

Parvathy Pillai

Program Manager: ZEB Consulting Services and Business Development

Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (ASQ CSSBB®)

Project Management Professional (PMP®)

Environmental Professional (EP®)

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®)

M.Sc. – Global Health, McMaster University

Hon. B.Sc. – Life Sciences, McMaster University

Hon. B.Sc. – Chemistry, McMaster University

Parvathy Pillai, the Program Manager of ZEB Consultation Services and Business Development at CUTRIC, manages a diverse portfolio of zero-emission bus implementation planning projects and simulation projects including predictive modelling and empirical analyses. Ms. Pillai also manages CUTRIC-led research studies in Canada and the U.S. and leads organizational project management and quality assurance/quality control measures.

Prior to CUTRIC, Parvathy worked in project management, environmental consulting, quality control, research, teaching and knowledge translation at various organizations. She is a certified six sigma black belt (ASQ CSSBB®) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ), project management professional (PMP®), and a certified Environmental Professional (EP®) from ECO Canada. 

Parvathy Pillai is currently based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Roberto Sardenberg

Senior Lead – Data Science and Knowledge Management

PhD – Physics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

M.Sc. – Physics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

BSc – Physics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

Dr. Roberto Sardenberg currently works modelling the performance of ZEB buses and related infrastructure in transit systems through the use and development of the Rout.i™ 2.0 tool. The outcomes of this predictive modelling help transit agencies to assess technologies and make appropriate choices for their deployments. Roberto also works in gathering and analyzing empirical data coming from the operation of zero-emission vehicles, providing valuable key performance indicators to the operators and incorporating real world operation data into the modelling work.

Roberto previously worked with electrical measurement techniques to retrieve microscopic information on electrochemical cells and nano-structured samples. His research interests include the electrical characterization, modelling and simulation of electrical devices, sensors, and electrochemical cells. He contributed to the development of the measurement theory of Impedances by investigating constraints imposed on measured data by physical principles such as causality relations.

Dr. Roberto Sardenberg is currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

BES, Geography and Environmental Management

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Zahara received her Bachelor of Environmental Studies Degree in Geography and Environmental Management with a focus in Geomatics from the University of Waterloo and she also recently received her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. 

Zahara Hassan is the Zero-Emission Bus Simulation GIS Technician responsible for working on ZEB predictive modelling and geospatial data analysis aiding cities and transit agencies across Canada and the US to plan their fleet electrification. She is also working to enhance the functionality of the RoutΣ.i 2.0 modelling tool.

Prior to CUTRIC, Zahara worked in the geospatial field on road infrastructure assets within the transportation industry. Her professional experiences are primarily related to the use of GIS applications to solve contemporary urban and environmental challenges and the role that smart, sustainable transportation and infrastructure play in the development of vibrant and resilient cities.

Zahara Hassan is currently based in Ontario.

MEng – Mechanical Engineering, Ryerson University

BE – Mechanical Engineering, University of Technology of Madhya Pradesh

Aniket Basu is the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Simulation Modeller at CUTRIC. As an integral member of CUTRIC’s research team, he is responsible for tasks related to energy consumption modelling, duty cycle generation, and empirical data analysis to support projects using the RoutΣ.i Modelling Tool.

Previously, Mr. Basu has worked as a research and development engineer. He was responsible for combustion hardware selection, engine calibration and testing, system validation, on-board diagnostics (OBD), and after-sales field support for common rail diesel engines. He has experience in valvetrain modelling, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), engine development for emission compliance, and has published papers and co-authored chapters for scientific publications such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and SpringerLink.

Mr. Basu is currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ted Wojcinski works as an Electric Utility Senior Consultant with CUTRIC.

He utilizes his demonstrated expertise in the electricity distribution utility industry for CUTRIC’s ZEB Consulting Services Team to contribute to the needs assessment from an electrical and technical standpoint for energy transition and ZEB implementation.






Titash Choudhury

Social Scientist: Low Carbon Smart Mobility

M.A – Anthropology (University of Alberta)

M.A – Ecology Environment, and Sustainable Development, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Hon. B.Sc – Microbiology, West Bengal State University 

Titash Choudhury, the Social Scientist – Low Carbon Smart Mobility is responsible for CUTRIC’s social science research. As part of the ZEB Consulting Services™ team, she also undertakes research for CUTRIC’s  members and clients to understand the social impact of transit electrification in Canada.

Ms. Choudhury has worked in various sectors like Energy, Environment, Wildlife, Mental Health and Education. Prior to CUTRIC, she worked as a researcher with the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association to solve the existing issues faced by urban Indigenous people in Canada.

Ms. Choudhury has a Masters in Anthropology from the University of Alberta, and a Masters in Ecology and Sustainable Development from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India.

Titash Choudhury is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Janet Eby is a consultant with CUTRIC supporting ZEB implementation projects. 

Hon. B.Sc. – Earth and Environmental Sciences Co-op, McMaster University


Junli Hu is the Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Simulation GIS Technician responsible for working on ZEB performance modelling and geospatial data analysis. This work assists cities and transit agencies across Canada and the US to plan their fleet electrification. Mr. Hu also performs literature reviews to aid CUTRIC’s modelling projects to enhance the functionality of the RoutΣ.i 2.0 modelling tool.

Junli received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences Co-op with a specialization in Geographic Information System (GIS) from McMaster University and he is currently pursuing the GIS Professional (GISP®) designation. 

Prior to CUTRIC, Junli worked as a GIS Technician for Ontario Land Trust Alliance. He created the maps and geoprocessed spatial data through ArcGIS to support various land conservation projects. During Junli’s co-op, Junli utilized his GIS knowledge and geospatial techniques to support electric mobility data analysis for McMaster Institute for Transportation & Logistics and to assist the implementation of Source Protection Plans for the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Junli Hu is currently based in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

Membership Success Team

M.U.P. – Urban Planning, McGill University

Planning the Cycling City Summer School, University of Amsterdam’s Urban Cycling Institute

AA Mexico City Visiting School, Architectural Association School of Architecture

B.A. – International Development Studies and Political Science, McGill University

Certificate in International Cooperation, University of Montreal

A.C.S. – Community Development and Intercultural Relations, Marie-Victorin College

As a Membership Success Officer at CUTRIC, Marie-Ève Assunçao-Denis supports CUTRIC’s national membership outreach efforts through various mediums including email, meetings, presentations and other communications mechanisms. She acts as a liaison and support officer for current and potential members and partners, while also developing and implementing membership recruitment and retention strategies, focus group methodologies, interviews and surveys.

Prior to CUTRIC, Ms. Assunçao-Denis worked as a transportation planner and project manager at several international organizations including ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and UN-Habitat. She has contributed to public policies, active and public transportation projects as well as urban and community development proposals. Before moving back to Canada in 2019, she worked a few years in international and community development, which led her to live in seven countries over four continents. She also studied bicycle planning, architecture and graphic design, and she is a published researcher in the field of active transportation. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish, and also speaks Portuguese.

Marie-Ève Assunçao-Denis is currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

B.A. Art History, Université Laval, Quebec

Magali Frenette is the National Membership Success Officer responsible for supporting members from Quebec and Ontario in addition to supporting CUTRIC’s public and government relations efforts.

Before joining CUTRIC, Ms. Frenette was elected City Councillor in Neuville, Quebec for two terms while running her own business.

Magali Frenette is currently based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Government & Public Relations Team

Hafsa Arif

Communications and Social Media Analytics Officer

B.Comm – Communication and Media Studies and Political Science, Carleton University

DI.J – Journalism, Seneca College

Hafsa Arif, the Communications and Social Media Analytics Officer at CUTRIC, plans and launches communication plans to build awareness and generate commitment to CUTRIC’s low-carbon smart mobility projects across Canada. Ms. Arif will also liaise with CUTRIC’s team members and external stakeholders on a regular basis through its social media and website.

Prior to CUTRIC, Ms. Arif received a combined Honours in Communication and Media Studies and Political Science degree from Carleton University and a Journalism diploma from Seneca College. She has worked as a multimedia journalist, marketing and communications manager, and community development coordinator. She is fluent in English, Urdu and Hindi.

Hafsa Arif is currently based in Ajax, Ontario, Canada.

M.A. Spanish/German, University of Glasgow

Grace Reilly, the Government and Public Relations Officer, leads CUTRIC’s national, provincial and municipal government relations efforts through strategic development, outreach and coordination. Ms. Reilly also leads national public relations and marketing efforts to support the achievement of CUTRIC’s national business strategy.

Prior to CUTRIC, Grace worked as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager in Toronto and was previously an ESL Teacher in Austria, Scotland and Spain.

Grace Reilly is currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Leah Geller is a senior writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience communicating complex information in an engaging and meaningful way.

With a B.Sc. from McGill, Leah specializes in translating technical and scientific information into content for a general audience. She has written on behalf of cabinet ministers, senior executives and Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, and has been published in university and trade magazines.

Leah Geller is currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Coordination & Operations Team

Melissa Heynes

National Administrative Coordinator & Marketing Lead

Diploma in Public Management at the University of South Africa

Melissa Heynes is the National Administrative Coordinator & Marketing Lead. In this role, Melissa leads CUTRIC’s marketing initiatives and provides administrative support to the CUTRIC team across Canada. Melissa is responsible for accounts payable and receivable, coordinating executive schedules, internal communications, executive support, marketing and advertising strategies and sponsorship sales. 

Prior to CUTRIC, Melissa worked as a Professional Officer of Marketing and Communications at the City of Cape Town (South Africa).

Melissa Heynes is currently based in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada.

Jess Smith, as the Governance & Funding Proposal Coordinator, coordinates CUTRIC’s governance meetings which include the Board of Director, Committee, and Members’ meetings. They also coordinate CUTRIC’s national and provincial funding proposals.

Jess sits on Fierté Canada Pride’s Board of Directors as Vice President of Governance, and does activist work for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Prior to CUTRIC, they worked as a Legal Coordinator and Digital Producer in Halifax.

Jess Smith is currently based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Commercialization Team

Certificate – Next Generation Cities and Transportation, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

M.Sc. – Logistics Management (Transportations Systems Concentration), Universidad de la Fuerza Armada Nacional, Venezuela

B. Sc. – Architecture, Universidad de los Andes, Venezuela

Advanced Technician – Design of Civil Engineering Construction, IUT Antonio José de Sucre, Venezuela

Maria Pinto, the Project Manager, Rail Innovation at CUTRIC, manages CUTRIC’s Smart Rail Innovation initiative.    

Prior to CUTRIC, Maria led integrated physical security projects with the introduction of new technology in transportation facilities with the Government of Canada. She participated in the development of the Confederation Line, the Ottawa Light Rail Transit project and the Hwy 417 Expansion project. She holds the Next Generation Transportation certificate from the Simon Fraser University and has a Master of Science in Logistics Management with Transportation System concentration from the Universidad Nacional de la Fuerza Armada Nacional in Venezuela.

Maria Pinto is currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Saumya Bhavsar

Project Manager: Pan-Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial

M.Sc. – Economics and Business Administration (Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment), Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Norway

M.Sc. – Sustainability and Social Innovation, HEC Paris, France

B.Tech. – Production Engineering, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) Surat, India

Saumya Bhavsar is Project Manager on the Pan-Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial. In this role, Saumya manages the launch and implementation of demonstration and early scale deployment projects with a specific focus on hydrogen-based transit applications.

Prior to joining CUTRIC, Saumya has most recently worked as an energy-efficiency programming consultant, policy researcher at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and a thought leader at a co-founded sustainability education and consulting organization. Prior to postgraduation, Saumya worked for several years as a project planner on Engineering – Procurement – Construction (EPC) projects in the midstream oil and gas industry in Canada and Malaysia.

Saumya Bhavsar is currently based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Conrad Kassier

Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Commercialization Team Lead

Accredited Change Manager (ACM Specialist), CMI Canada

Project Management Professional (Candidate), PMI

M.A. – Global Studies (Energy Governance), University of Wrocław & University of Vienna

B.A. Honours – Political Science, Stellenbosch University

B.A. – International Studies, Stellenbosch University

Conrad Kassier, the Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Commercialization Team Lead at CUTRIC, leads a diverse portfolio of zero-emission bus projects, including demonstration and integration trials with CUTRIC’s members and partners across the country. Conrad also leads programs with power providers and covers strategic alignment with stakeholders across Canada.

Prior to CUTRIC, Conrad coordinated communications for net zero pathways in Canada. Before that, he worked in project management for Low Carbon Transport on policy and demonstration efforts, Cleantech Innovation for start-ups, and Industrial Energy Efficiency systems solutions with specialized international organizations. He is an Accredited Change Management Specialist (ACM Specialist) and is working towards his PMP. Conrad received his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies including his Honours Degree in Political Science from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He obtained his joint Master of Arts Degree in Global Studies from the University of Wrocław in Poland and the University of Vienna in Austria.

Conrad is currently based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.