Monique Simair (Haakensen), PhD, RPBio, PBiol, EP

President & Principal Scientist

  President & Principal Scientist

Dr. Monique Simair (formerly Haakensen) holds a PhD in applied microbiology, and post-doctoral research associateship in environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry.  With over a decade of experience, Dr. Simair’s expertise in bioremediation and passive/semi-passive water treatment spans from conceptual design, to technical and public regulatory hearings, through to implementation and long-term closure. She has worked on passive treatment systems such as constructed wetlands for more than a dozen mines at various stages of operation including exploration, active, closed and abandoned, many of which are located in Northern Canada.  A specialist in passive water treatment, constructed treatment wetlands, biogeochemistry and genetic microbial profiling (microbiome, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics), Dr. Simair oversees research programs for technology development in these areas at Contango in addition to their consulting activities.  Since founding Contango in 2010, she has grown the company into a thriving environmental firm with laboratories and dedicated pilot facilities.  As a result, she has been named one of Canada’s future entrepreneurial leaders by Profit Magazine (2011), and to their W100 list of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs (2015)

Outside of her business activities, Dr. Simair serves as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University (South Carolina).  She previously served as an Academic lead for the University of the Arctic.  In 2014, Dr. Simair became the youngest person ever appointed to Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, providing the federal government with confidential, evidence-based advice on key issues that affect Canadian society and our economic development.

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Vanessa Friesen, PhD

Partner & Principal Scientist

Dr. Friesen (Pittet) has worked in the environmental industry since 2011. With Contango, she has experience as a scientific lead or collaborator on projects (over 25), including remediation, water treatment, and industrial and environmental microbiology. She has extensive knowledge in biogeochemistry, scientific design and testing of treatment systems, project planning and management, and scientific data analysis and multi-disciplinary interpretation. She has coordinated the phased approach for passive and semi-passive water treatment system development, including feasibility studies, site assessments, modeling, design, and testing for projects world-wide. She has also provided specialist support for bioreactor performance monitoring, optimization, and control. Dr. Friesen oversees supervision of technical staff, and provides scientific oversight to projects at Contango. Prior to joining Contango, Vanessa successfully lead the development of novel microbial profiling services which are now being applied at Contango to assess environmental and remediation projects around the world.