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Conference Chair: Nik Gowing

Founder & Co-Director, Thinking the Unthinkable

Nik Gowing is founder and co-author of the Thinking the Unthinkable (TTU) project. Since 2014 it has been investigating why leaders – both corporate and political – struggle in the new era of global disruption. The acute challenges for leadership on sustainability and the climate emergency are a core focus of TTU’s work.

Nik was a main news presenter for the BBC World News (1996-2014), presenting The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates and Dateline London. For 18 years he worked at ITN as bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and diplomatic editor for Channel Four News. He has been a member of the councils of Chatham House, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Overseas Development Institute; board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy; and advisory council at Wilton Park. Nik was appointed a visiting professor at Kings College, London and at Nanyang University, Singapore. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Exeter University and Bristol University. He is now a Distinguished Fellow at the RUSI.

Ian Riley


After graduating from Cambridge University in 1979, Mr Riley worked in a number of management roles in the UK, the USA, Australia and Japan before moving to China in 1998. He was General Manager of a British project management and consulting firm, based in Shanghai and also Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai before joining Holcim/Huaxin in 2006.

As Huaxin VP responsible for international business, strategy and sustainability, he oversaw Huaxin’s first overseas venture in Tajikistan. Mr Riley was Greater China Country Head for LafargeHolcim from 2014 to 2019.  He has been CEO of WCA since September 1, 2019.

Suhair Abu Salem

Human Capital & Communication Director, A³&Co.®

A strategic & practical thinker; Certified Senior International Human Resources Professional from HRCI, ISO 30414 Lead Auditor & Certified International Trainer from International Association of People & Performance Development.Possess a prolific commercial acumen in pioneering HR programs of attracting, development & retention of quality people to enhance revenue growth & profitability while creating sustainable high levels of human capital engagement to impact the business bottom line.

Suhair has been providing Human Capital advisory for more than 14 years of for different industries across MENA, and for Cement Industry for the last 5 years based on her direct experience in working with different international organizations commit to high standards and best in class practices.Suhair has also delivered management and human capital training programs at different levels to include CEOs, C suite executives and management in Arabic and English languages, for different organizations and among their diverse cultures.

Emir Adiguzel

Chairman, ACG Consultancy Group

The Chairman of ACG Consultancy group, the founder and former President of the World Cement Association, long time (20+ years) global CEO of the Heidelberg Cement Group’s international business (HCT) until 2020, Mr. A. Emir Adiguzel is an industry executive with over 30 years of experience. He has led mid to large-sized industrial organizations in the heavy building construction materials sector, such as cement and concrete, with special expertise in international trade, sales and procurement of raw materials. His professional network covers a global range of business partners across 61 countries, offering international business development opportunities to companies via trade deals or successful overseas mergers & acquisitions.

He has worked as the Chairman and Board member in leading cement companies in emerging markets such as Akcansa in Turkey, Indocement in Indonesia and Hanson Spain, with responsibilities to oversee the cement operations in the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East region for Heidelberg Cement Group. Mr. Adiguzel has had long years of experience in handling international logistics and especially on sea borne-maritime-transportation and shipping of dry bulk cargoes (coal, cement, slag, iron ore, bauxites).

Thomas Atkinson

International Business Development, Hoffmann Green Cement

Thomas Atkinson, Export manager in the construction Industry for 15 years.

Following the Hoffmann Green cement project since 2015, in charge of all international purposes of the company.

Ambassador for Hoffmann green cement, clinker free cement technologies, catalyst of the carbon transition

Nasser Ayoub

CEO, EPD Egypt

Nasser Ayoub is Co-founder and CEO EPD Egypt, He is an accredited EPD Verifier, Professor, Senior Lead Environmental Consultant and a Certified LCA Professional from the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment and Global Reporting Initiative Professional Training.

Dr. Ayoub has more than 20 years of comprehensive academic and technical experience in seven different countries. He holds a Doctor of Environmental Engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology in the field of Environmentally Friendly Supply Chains and Life Carbon Footprint Assessment. He worked on analyzing wicked environmental policy problems and governmental intervention approaches to promote renewable energies.. 

Since 2020, Dr. Ayoub has been with DCarbon Egypt as Senior Lead Consultant in the area of Carbon Footprint Assessment, Life Cycle assessment and Environmental Product Declaration. Dr. Ayoub started EPD Egypt, as a registration and training hub of the EPD International System.

Felix Bartknecht

Technical Industry Manager Infrastructure, SICK AG

Felix Bartknecht, born in 1987, is working as a technical industry manager for infrastructure-related industries at SICK AG in Germany. He has extensive experience in automation applications, process gas and emission monitoring systems as well as customer specific sensor solutions for production processes along the entire value chain of cement production. Within SICK, Mr. Bartknecht is globally responsible for observing technology trends and developing the company’s process automation solution portfolio for cement, power, glass, waste, recycling, maritime, pulp & paper industries. He takes care of the international coordination of SICK`s solution business and is known as internationally recognized conference speaker, social media content creator and live host as well as renowned author within the global cement community.

Before starting his career at SICK he worked as an energy consultant for industrial companies where he conducted numerous energy efficiency projects. He holds a bachelor`s degree in Process Technology and a master`s degree in Sustainable Energy Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology KTH Stockholm, Sweden.

Francisco Canepa

Team Lead Sales, Christian Pfeiffer Maschinenfarbrik GmbH

Francisco Canepa entered into the working life with an education as salesman and round off his profile later on with the graduation as Dipl. Marketing at the University of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, in 2000. In 2010 Francisco Canepa joined Christian Pfeiffer and started working for the cement industry. He started his career as Area Sales Manager for Central and South America. After several successful market experiences, he took over responsibility for all America. During inspections and numerous audits related to cement plants around the world he gained comprehensive experience in the field of grinding and separation of cement. 

Since 2011 Mr. Canepa has conducted Christian Pfeiffer Latinamerica’s annual 3-day intensive training course for customers on the subject of grinding and separation processes. Furthermore, Mr. Canepa frequently presented technical papers at numerous international conferences. From 2011 to 2021, Mr. Canepa was focusing all his efforts in making the brand Christian Pfeiffer in America stronger, putting into operation numerous diaphragms, separators and complete grinding plants. 

Since February 2022, Mr. Canepa, works together with the global Christian Pfeiffer Sales team, including subsidiaries, creating a solid and strong network to serve customers with state of the art technology in grinding and separation technology for different product lines.

Bram De Graaff

Director | Climate and Sustainability Advisory, PwC Middle East

Bram is a Director in PwC’s Climate and Sustainability advisory practice. He works with both public and private sector organizations on integrating and embedding sustainability considerations into their strategy and day-to-day operations. Bram’s core focus is on sustainable finance, working with banks, investors and other financial institutions. Recent work includes the setup of a green investment fund and the assessment of climate risk in the portfolio of a major global investor. Bram has been based in Dubai, UAE, for the past 5 years. Before that, he was part of PwC’s global center on sustainability and climate change in London, UK. Bram has a background in economics and environmental policy and is active in various industry groups and forums that aim to advance the corporate and policy agenda in this area.

Mostafa Elrakhawy

Business Growth & Projects Management Director, A³&Co.®

Chemical Engineer and an innovative thinker and practitioner of Business Growth Strategies of the Cement Business. Eng. Mostafa specialties gained from hands-on expertise in managing and leading projects for 15+ years within Middle East & Africa in the following areas:

  • O&M Projects in different classical and hybrid contexts.
  • Managing and supporting the implementation of Digital Transformation of multi-discipline areas in a cement business unit.
  • Supporting the leadership and direct management of projects related to Artificial Intelligence implementations.
  • Business Growth & Risk Management planning and implementation.
  • Business Strategic Management to include planning, implementation and evaluation of several business strategies.
  • Cement Business Unit Performance Management.

Sherif Elsayed-Ali

CEO, Carbon Re

Sherif Elsayed-Ali is co-founder & CEO of Carbon Re, a spin-out company of Cambridge University and UCL developing cutting-edge decarbonization solutions for the cement and steel industries. A construction engineer by training, he has extensive experience in technology innovation and leadership. Sherif has a BSc from the American University in Cairo and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School.|

Yousra El Sayed

Principal, EBRD

Yousra El Sayed, Principal Banker, joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2013 and started in the Cairo RO as an associate banker in the Manufacturing and Services team. She has then moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2017; leading business development efforts for new and existing clients across the entire portfolio spectrum on both debt and equity sides; focusing on GCC based investors. Prior to joining the EBRD, Yousra worked for the Arab African International Bank, as an investment banker.

Mohammed Adil Guelzim

Sustainability And AFR Director, CIMENTS DE L’ATLAS

Mohammed Adil Guelzim started his career in 1998 with Holcim (Morocco) as a process engineer at the Oujda cement plant.

After a stint at Holcim Group Support (HGRS) as a pyroprocessing consultant, he joined the CIMENTS DE L’ATLAS / CIMENTS DE L’AFRIQUE group where he took charge of the AFR business and then Sustainability of the group.

Alexander Hall

CEO, Concrete.ai

Alex has 25 years experience in the building materials, construction and ESG sectors.

Alex has held executive leadership positions at Holcim, the world’s largest cement producer and Suffolk, the largest private construction and technology company in the United States.

Concrete.ai is the world leading artificial intelligence company using machine learning to optimize concrete, the world’s most consumed product after water.

Hari Harikumar

VP & GM Advanced Carbon & Membranes, CHASM Advanced Materials

Hari leads CHASM’s Advanced Carbon and Advanced Membranes business units, which delivers game changing solutions ranging from, Additives enabling “low carbon-low cost” Cement to Conductive pastes for Batteries to Vertically aligned nanotube membranes for water purification. With more than 30 years of senior techno-commercial leadership globally, including, CEO of QM Power, an Electric Motor startup in Kansas City, Missouri, VP- Innovation, Sustainability and Technology for Ingersoll Rand/TRANE in Charlotte, North Carolina and President & CTO for USHA a leading consumer brand in India.

Hari brings leadership experienced gained in multiple domains including Mechanical and Electrical Systems, Computational mechanics, Material Science, Smart Controls and Power electronics, Energy efficiency and Sustainability, Engineering software, Remote Monitoring and Analytics. Hari holds an MS & PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science – Bangalore, India.

Sassan Hatam

Partner, Roland Berger

Sassan Hatam is a Partner in Roland Berger's Dubai office leading the firm's turnaround & restructuring practice in the GCC.

Sassan focuses on driving value-creative 'fit-for-the-future' transformation programs covering strategic re-alignment, financial restructuring and operational excellence. He has helped re-shaping companies in a diverse set of industries such as building materials, chemicals, construction, steel and telecoms among others. He firmly believes in the need to leverage both people and technology to create maximum and sustainable impact.

Sassan holds a Diplôme de Grande Ecole from ESCP Business School Paris and a Master in European Management from City University London.

Ahmad Heshmat

CEO, Alpha

Holding a BS in Architectural Engineering from the University of Cairo, a Diploma in Financial Management from the American University in Cairo and a Certificate in Business Management from the IMD in Lausanne. Ahmad Heshmat is a leading figure in the Global Cement Industry. Throughout his 35Y career, Mr. Heshmat has been in charge of massive growth plans and green field operations.A founding member for Orascom Cement group and a Regional President for ME at LafargeHolcim group.Leading investments exceeding $7bn and operations of annual turnover of $1,1bn with strong profit margins for Orascom, Lafarge and LafargeHolcim groups.

He started his career as a construction engineer and shifted to sales, marketing and business development of construction industries in the fields of steel and marble for 10 years with leading international companies in Egypt and the Arabian Gulf such as Butler Building Systems / Juffali.Following that Mr. Heshmat joined the Cement industry for 20 years between 1998 & 2018 in Senior Executive roles.

Simon Jensen

Influential Cement Leader, A³&Co.®

Simon Jensen, is a Cement and Mining industry veteran with over 32 years. He has worked with the Danish multinational FLSmidth and played several roles and progressed to hold several strategic roles; his latest position was Managing Director; heading Middle East group, and worked as President & CEO of wholly owned subsidiaries (FLSmidth Ventomatic and FLSmidth MAAG Gear), in addition to working as chairman and/ or holding other senior roles during 32 years.

During his career thus far, Simon has visited 93 countries and 193 different cement plants. Simon speaks about 9 languages spoken around the world and he is happily married with 3 grown up children.An old racehorse cannot just stop to race, so after his retirement from FLSmidth, Simon is associated with the industry as a Business Partner and Advisor for A³&Co. And a Business Partner & Advisor for Ramco Middle East, Africa, and West Asia. 

Tao Junpu

Professor Level Senior Engineer, Sinoma Energy Conservation Ltd.

Tao Junpu, Chief Expert of Sinoma Energy Conservation Ltd., Dean of the Central Research Institute, professor level senior engineer, has won the honorary title of Tianjin Model Worker and National May Day Labor Medal.Sinoma-EC is a holding subsidiary of China National Building Material Group. As a comprehensive industrial group, Sinoma-EC specializes in Energy-saving and Environmental Protection Engineering, Clean Energy Engineering, Building Energy-saving Materials Industry and New Equipment Manufacturing. In 2014, it was listed on the A-share main board of Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Sinoma-EC's waste heat recovery power generation technology is in the leading position all over the world, with more than 400 reference projects. Tao Junpu has always been based on the front line, promoting WHR power generation technology in countries along the Belt and Road. He presided over hundreds of technical proposals for projects at home and abroad, covering more than 20 countries in Asia, Africaand Europe, involving cement, glass, carbon, silicon, coking, gas turbine and many other fields.

Fouad Kammoun

Director Sales – Near East, Middle East and Central Asia, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG

Fouad was born and raised in Lebanon, graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor in Engineering in Electrical Engineering. After working one year at Polysius in the Electrical Engineering department, he pursued a Master of Science at the University of Westphalia in Germany which he completed with honors. He then joined thyssenkrupp polysius in 2005 and have worked in different engineering and sales functions before taking over the role of Director Sales for the region in 2020. He has 2 kids and speaks Arabic, English, German and French.

Ahmed Shireen Korayem

CEO & Managing Director of Al Nahda Cement Company | Head of the Egyptian Cement Division

Ahmed Shireen Korayem Joined AL NAHDA CEMENT in April 2021 as CEO & Managing Director. Also,He is Head of the Egyptian Cement Division, Member of the Board of Directors of the CBMI (chamber of building materials industries) & Member of the Executive committee (CBMI). Prior to joining NAHDA CEMENT, Mr. Ahmed spent the past 30 years of his career at Frito-Lay International, then Americana, then Pepsi-Cola Egypt, and in 2002 he became the Sales & Marketing Director at Helwan Portland Cement (that was acquired by Italcementi then currently is acquired by Heidelberg), where he contributed to the development of the company from an old facility to the well-known state-of-the-art facility.

Then he established and managed Pharaohs Group for Trading, one of the largest cement distribution companies and one of the most reputable in the cement market. Also, he launched cementegypt.com, the first website providing specialized information about the construction industry. Mr. Ahmed holds his MIBA from ESLSCA Business School and is in the process of obtaining his DBA from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport.

Wang Lan

Director & Professor, CNBM

Wang Lan, Doctor, Professor, Tutor of doctor, PhD & P.E of the United States, has long research experience in the applied fundamental research, key materials and equipment R&D, the establishment of related policies and standards in the field of efficient energy-saving, efficient emission reduction and waste recycling of building materials industry. The core achievements include a) the pre-sintering technology of cement clinker; b) energy management and control technology of cement production; c) mid- and low- temperature SCR DeNOx technology in the building materials industry; d) waste co-processing technology in the cement industry. He has awarded 1 of key R & D project of “13th Five-Year Plan”, 3 of key R & D projects, 2 of National Fundamental Basic Research Program (973 program) projects, 6 of “Science and Technology Support” planned projects, 2 of National Natural Science Foundation projects, and more than 10 of provincial and ministerial levels projects or international cooperation projects.

He has published above 100 academic papers, 4 monographs, above 30 Invention Patent and Software Copyright, and 8 national standards. Till now, he has won one 2nd Prize Project of the National Sci-Tech Advance Award, one 1st Prize Project of Provincial Sci-Tech Advance Award, three 2nd Prize Project of Provincial Sci-Tech Advance Award (Public Welfare), one Innovative Talents Award of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, one Sci-Tech Advance Award of China Building Materials Group. He is also the Vice President of Engineering Technology Branch of the Chinese Ceramic Society, the consultant expert of several governmental administrations.

Dirk Lechtenberg

Managing Director and Founder, MVW Lechtenberg and Partner

Dirk Lechtenberg is a pioneer in the field of the production and use of alternative fuels. During his over 30 years of involvement in the field of alternative fuels, he has been responsible for the development of RDF (Refuse Derived Fuels) projects worldwide. 

Before founding MVW Lechtenberg & Partner in 2004, he worked as a project engineer at MBM Industrieanlagen GmbH, Germany, owned by Portlandzementwerke Miebach & Söhne, Germany, and later Managing Director of an RDF processing plant belonging to Emons Group - one of the biggest private owned Dutch logistic companies. He is the Founder of the company “Blue River Recycling” which builds, owns, and operates processing facilities for processing mixed plastics into pellets for further use as fuel or raw material for the petrochemical Industry, Board Member of the Company “Green solutions for Environment” in Riyadh. 

As the Managing Director and founder of MVW Lechtenberg & Partner, he with his team developed custom-made concepts for the processing of domestic waste and other waste into alternative fuels worldwide. Dirk Lechtenberg is also known for his scientific articles which are published in international cement magazines and other specialized press on a regular basis. He is the co-author of the “Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials Handbook for the Cement and Lime Industry” which is regarded as the most comprehensive compendium on alternative fuels.

Matthias Mersmann

CTO & Member of the Board, KHD Humboldt Wedag

Educated as a mechanical and process engineer from Technical University Aachen (Germany), Matthias has gathered experience of 30 years in the cement industry. He started his work at KHD Humboldt Wedag as a process engineer, worked at all levels and led all technical departments throughout his tenure. In 2008 he founded the company aixergee, which is specialized to provide CFD-based consultancy for the cement industry. He also worked as Technical Director for Loesche GmbH, Germany for 8 years before he was called into the Management Board of KHD Humboldt Wedag AG in 2020.

Matthias focusses his work on the development of efficient machines and processes for the manufacture of cement. This includes the development, adaptation and introduction of technological innovations in the fields of process engineering & optimization, machine design, combustion of alternative fuels, emissions reduction, automation & controls and machine learning. He is a vivid communicator and active networker in the cement community and considers the decarbonization of the cement industry to be the ultimate but feasible challenge for the cement industry.

Eng. Amr A. Nader

CEO, A³&Co.®

Prior to becoming the CEO of A³&Co.® in 2021, Eng. Amr Nader has a record of +20 years working with Cement executive teams and business leaders in more than different 50 countries, including LAFARGE (Middle East, Africa, South & East Europe), ORASCOM (UAE & Pakistan), ASEC (Egypt), SMART Specialized Services (Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq), Yanbu Cement Co. (Saudi Arabia).

A transformer by nature, Eng. Amr has practiced Cement on every inhabited content and has first-hand experience in almost every major aspect of Cement Industry. He has been instrumental in numerous international projects providing sustainable business solutions.

Bassem Nassouhy

Director, Global SBS UK

Dr. Bassem is the Director of Global Scientific Business Solutions UK (SBS UK), in addition to, he is also an Strategic Advisor for Fujairah Environment Authority FEA as well as other governmental authorities like Fujairah Natural Resources Corporation FNRC as Environmental Advisor, giving support to other various organizations including Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering (SREE) Department as an Advisory Board Member Sharjah University, Chief of Waste Resources Committee of WGGO NY USA and Chief Advisor of SBS group in MENA region.

He is a multi-skilled Advisor, International Speaker & Trainer in various field of business, with a proven track record in particular area of business expertise such as Environment, Health & Safety, Sustainability, Climate Change, and Decarbonization  particularly in Cement Industry, Alternative Fuel & Alternative Raw Materials AFR and Waste Management as an expert in those fields with PhD, MBA & various post-graduate diplomas as well as various international well recognized certifications with vast expertise based on +20 years of diversified experience with multinational groups JICA, Samil, EDF, Orascom, Lafarge, LafargeHolcim, EcoCem Industrial Ecology, Geocycle, FNRC, FEA and SBS.

Arnaud Pinatel

Managing Partner, On Field Investment Research

Arnaud Pinatel, 57, started his career at Group Ciments Vicat in 1991 where he worked first as a financial controller and later as a strategic assistant to the CFO and CEO of the Group. Between 1997 and 2017, Arnaud headed different European Building Materials & Construction teams for Oddo Equities and Exane BNP Paribas (ranked number one over a decade by global institutional investors) and worked as an investment analyst for London-based hedge funds.

Since 2018, Arnaud is a managing Partner at On Field Investment Research, a company he founded in 2018 with Yassine Touahri to offer in-depth proprietary research to global investors and senior company executives on the cement industry

Loïc Pottier

Area Sales Manager, Fives FCB

Loïc Pottier graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Institut Catholique des Arts et Métiers (ICAM) of Lille (France) in 1994.

After 10 years of experience in Automotive Industry (new model launch projects) and Oil&Gas Industry as production manager and sales manager for air-cooled heat exchangers, he joined Fives FCB in 1999 as Area Sales Manager to follow Middle East and Mediterranean Rim. Among others, he was in charge of projects ranging from milling plants upgrade with high efficiency classifier (Egypt, Serbia, …) to complete plants expansion (Qatar).

Ehab Shalaby

CEO, DCarbon Egypt

Dr Ehab Shalaby is a Senior Consultant, Researcher & Lecturer, in the field of Economics and Sustainable Development; with more than 20 years of experience in consulting, lecturing, research, public and private policy advising on Sustainable Development and Climate finance; on the local, regional, and international level.

His consultations experience covers public and corporate consultations, the later includes; financial sector, health, telecom, ICT, F&B, Oil and Gas, construction, real-Estate, petrochemicals, Fertilizers, among others. He received his MSc and Ph.D. from the faculty of economics and political science, Cairo university in cooperation with the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and has been a visiting lecturer among many universities; currently at the Maastricht School of Management (MBA) Program. Ehab Shalaby is the Chairman & CEO of DCarbon Egypt, a board member of Vodafone foundation.

Mahendra Singhi

Managing Director and CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd

Mr. Mahendra Singhi is an affable and cheerful person. He is designated as Carbon Pricing Champion by the World Bank Group, COP 26 Business Leader by UN COP 26 Presidency and also recognised as one of the five global Climate Defenders by the BBC World.

Mr. Singhi is Managing Director and CEO of Dalmia Cement, a prominent cement manufacturing group in India ranked no.1 globally by CDP on Low Carbon Economy Transition and appreciated by the UN Secretary-General on climate innovation. Dalmia Cement has committed to become a carbon-negative cement group by 2040.

In the past, Mr. Singhi headed Shree Cement Ltd. For 20 years. During his tenure, Shree Cement was adjudged as New Sustainability Champion by World Economic Forum in 2012. Mr. Singhi has represented the business and cement sector globally in the most recognized, multi-country platforms such as the UN Climate Ambition Summit, Climate Action Summit of UN General Assembly; Paris Climate Agreement Ceremony; Global Climate Action in COP-24; High-Level Govt.-Business dialogues of French Presidency and TED Count Down Summit and World Climate Summit in COP-26. Mr. Singhi has 44 years of experience in the cement sector and inculcates happiness for a productive, flexible and resilient workplace. Mr. Singhi is Science & Law Graduate & Chartered Accountant (21st Rank).

Apoorv Sinha

CEO | Co-founder, Carbon Upcycling Technologies

Apoorv is a co-founder and CEO of a world-leading carbon capture, utilization and solid waste management technology start-up, Carbon Upcycling Technologies. Carbon Upcycling is commercializing a process to convert CO2 emissions into performance enhancing fillers for cement and concrete, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and batteries. Carbon Upcycling has scaled its technology over 10 million times since conception and operates a commercial 20 tonne per day facility providing carbon-embedded cementitious materials to the Calgary market in Canada since April 2021. Apoorv is currently onto the next scale up of the technology to a 50 tonne per day modular unit. Carbon Upcycling is a Carbon X-Prize X-Factor award winner, an Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) Grand Challenge Semi-finalist, and has received support from various provincial and federal entities in Canada. 

Apoorv is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy awardee (2020), a Clean 50 Honoree (2021), an alumni of the Energy Futures Lab, a 2016 Leading Change delegate, a Clean50 Emerging Leader 2016, and has served on the ACTia (Alberta Cleantech Industrial Alliance) Board of Directors (2017-19). Apoorv is also a 2018 Action Canada Alumni, Canada’s premier youth leadership training program. 

Riccardo Stoppa

Global Marketing Manager, GCP Applied Technologies

Riccardo is a Global Marketing Manager at GCP Applied Technologies since 2017, responsible for Cement Additives and CO2 programs for Cement and Concrete. He has previously served in various R&D and Technical Service roles at GCP and W.R. Grace, eventually leading the global R&D and technical organization until 2016.

He holds a master degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Milan and an MBA from the SDA Bocconi School of Management. Cement Additives have been its field of research for almost 20 years. During this period he contributed to the development and launch of new technologies and products such as the CO2ST® reducer, Tavero® VM, Improved CBA® and Synchro® families, and innovative services such as the GCP DASH® Additive Intelligence and the Customization platform.

Riccardo has been an advisor of the NanoCem research network and a member of Innovandi and CSHub; and has held more than a hundred seminars, training courses and conferences worldwide, including annual lectures at the ‘Tomas Vasquez’ post-doc course on cement chemistry. He has a longtime interest with the carbon footprint of Cement and Concrete; and authored his first article on CO2 in 2014 (ICR’s Cement Plant Environmental handbook, 3rd ed.), and first presented it publicly in 2015-2016 (13th TCMB, Antalya; AICCE21, Abu Dhabi).

Sui Tongbo

Vice President, Sinoma International

Vice president, SINOMA International Engineering Co. Ltd., CNBM, and director general, SINOMA Research Institute, has been intensively engaged in belite-based low energy & low CO2 clinker cements for over 20 years. He is also senior advisor of China Cement Association, co-chair of WKG 5 for cement & concrete innovation, GCCA, visiting professor of UCL, UK. 

Before joining Sinoma in 2010, he worked as vice president of China Building Materials Academy and director of UNIDO International Center for Technology Promotion during 2006-2010.

Nigel Topping

UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, COP 26

Nigel Topping is the UN’s High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, appointed by the UK Prime Minister in January 2020 and will serve until COP27. The role of the High Level Champion is to strengthen collaboration and drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change, and coordinate this work with governments and Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Since his appointment, Nigel, alongside the COP25 High Level Champion Gonzalo Muñoz, established the Race to Zero – a global campaign to commit all actors to net zero by 2050, the Race to Resilience – a global campaign for secure the resilience of 4 billion people by 2030, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) - a coalition of existing and new net zero finance initiatives. He is now working with the COP27 High Level Champion Mahmoud Mohieldin to forward these campaigns for COP27.

Prior to his appointment, Nigel was CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18 year career in the private sector, having worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.

Roland Van Wijnen


Roland was appointed as Group CEO of PPC Ltd in October 2019, and has over 20 years of CEO and consulting experience on a global scale, with a broad skill set encompassing operations management, strategy planning & execution, business process re-engineering, project planning and management, service delivery, senior-level relationship building and people management and development.

His experience in the cement industry started in 1998, and from 2010 to 2013 Roland served as CEO of Holcim Philippines followed by a CEO position at Holcim Trading. In all his CEO roles he has actively contributed to the reduction of the environmental footprint of the companies he worked for and also took additional external roles to drive the environmental agenda.

Rafael Villalona


Prior to Rafael’s current position, he was the Commercial & Logistics Vice President for CEMEX in Egypt. He joined CEMEX in 2007 where he has held multiple executive positions. He has been the Country Director for CEMEX Haiti, Country Manager for CEMEX Jamaica and Technical-Commercial Advisor for CEMEX Dominican Republic.

Rafael has directed or managed all core business units of cement, ready mix and aggregates, as well as the secondary units of lime, infrastructure and housing. In his assignments, he has achieved record breaking results in sales, free cash flow, return on capital employed and cash value added. He was also Commercial Ambassador for the South, Central America and Caribbean region where he trained over 200 commercial executives. Rafael has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Maryland.

Osama Youssef

Operational Excellence Director – Operations & Products, A³&Co.®

Cement Expert with a multi-regional extensive exposure on Cement Complete Quality Management from design to production to developmental solutions, supported by higher studies in MBA & Analytical Chemistry. Osama has developed an in-depth expertise and accomplished a successful track record of 20+ years in which he focused on:

  • Cement Production Quality Management, Quality Assurance & Quality Control.
  • Cement Greenfields Commissioning, Startup and Operation.
  • Management of implementations related to Raw Mix research, studies and assessment.
  • The setup, design, commissioning and operation of Laboratories of Cement, Concrete, Raw Materials and Alternative Fuel according to industry best practices.
  • Product development studies and research of new product production and concrete applications.
  • Testing and Product Development of Cement and Concrete products.
  • Management of Quarry Operation and Optimization of Raw Mix Quality with the focus on cost savings while improving quality.
  • Design, management and implementation of learning initiatives related to Cement Quality Solutions.

Dr. Ahmed Zugail

Chairman, A³&Co.®

With a locally and internationally recognized track record of +25 years working in cement industry, Dr. Ahmed is a co-founder and the Chairman of A³&Co. and a Chairman of Rkizah Mining, he is a PhD holder from Colorado School of Mines in Mineral Economies with Minor in Operations Research. During his +25 years of working in Cement, Dr. Ahmed has devised successful strategies in which he contributed to the success of Saudi Cement Sector; he led the major transformation journey of Yanbu Cement, the largest cement company in the western region, between 2011 to 2020, with a current market value of over SAR 6 billion towards a regional leader in operational excellence internationally recognized as the best plant of the year in 2019 in Berlin-Germany with successful cost targets to be the lowest cash cost producer among major Saudi cement companies, while taking a leader position for the nationalization of the Saudi Cement Industry through joint venture with FLSmidth in the Cement Knowledge Center.

Dr. Ahmed also led the startup of Najran Cement Co. Plant and grinding unit in 2008, an investment of 1.7 billion SAR until successfully achieving an IPO with a value of 1,150 million SAR throughout building the company different business functions as well as the market penetration realizing a market share of 10% within only 2 years of operation.




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