Team

Michael Hoffman, Principal, Managing Director

Co-founder and CEO, Michael has overall responsibility for operational management and business development.

Michael brought the expertise accumulated as a student in the in co-op program in mathematics and computer science at the University of Waterloo to the founding of whatIf? Technologies in 1989.  As the principal software architect of the whatIf?® Modelling Platform, he led the firm’s technical innovation process and has more than 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of simulation models, client relationship management and the technology transfer/training process. He has worked across a broad range of sectors, but extensively in energy and urban planning.

Michael holds an Honours B. Math degree in applied mathematics and computer science from the University of Waterloo.

Robert Hoffman, Principal

Economist by training and systems modeller by vocation, Robert Hoffman has been involved in integrated socio-economic and biophysical systems modelling for four decades, first as an analyst and research program director at Statistics Canada, then as Research Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, and currently as co-founder and President of whatIf? Technologies Inc.

After receiving a master’s degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario, he joined the team at Statistics Canada that pioneered the development of commodity-by-industry and multi-regional input-output analysis for Canada, collaborating with Professor T.I. Matuszewski and Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief. Influenced by the system dynamics modelling of Jay Forrester, he led his research team in the development of a succession of dynamic socio-economic resource systems models that were concerned with the postwar demographic transition, industrial strategy, and the oil crises of the 1970s. This work gave rise to the design approach to socio-economic modelling, the design for a database of industrial process descriptions, and the first generations of what became the whatIf? modelling platform. 

As President, he has management responsibility for corporate finance, business development, and research and development activities. For clients, he has professional responsibility for project management, workshop facilitation, and model design. He has extensive knowledge of data sources, surveys and data collection methodology. He has extensive experience in modelling, quantitative techniques and in research management. 

Robert Hoffman has been a visiting researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, a participant/contributor at international conferences, and a consultant to United Nations agencies in the field of energy analysis. He is author or co-author of more than twenty articles and professional papers published in scholarly journals and books. His work in global systems modeling has been recognized by the United States Association for the Club of Rome for which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 1990 he has served the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome as member, director and chairman.

Marcus Williams, Principal

Marcus is a Senior Model Analyst with more than 15 years experience in integrated systems modelling and analysis encompassing energy, emissions, land use, transportation and demographics.

Marcus has been instrumental in the development of CityInSight (Community Edition) - a state-of-the-art energy, emissions and finance model for cities - since its launch at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. He has also led the development of CityInSight (Corporate Edition), oriented towards organizations planning low-carbon transitions for their building portfolios, vehicle fleets, employee commuting and travel. In addition to the development and deployment of these core models, Marcus is interested in the application of the exploding open-source data ecosystem - for data processing, geoprocessing and data visualization - to urban and regional low-carbon analysis.

 

He holds a B.A.Sc. in Computer Engineering from Queen's University and an M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto, where his research focused on coordinated land use and transportation modelling at the regional scale.

Deryn Crockett, Principal

With a strong background in systems engineering and customer support, Deryn plays roles in model implementation and technical marketing.

Early in her career, she applied mathematical models and discrete event simulation to assess the end-to-end viability and performance characteristics of various communications systems.  More recently, she has designed and supported custom solutions for clients using software product suites in the fields of military simulation and training and energy management.  She achieved an excellent performance record by becoming a product expert and building collaborative relationships with customers.

She holds a bachelor's degree in systems science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in electrical engineering from The George Washington University.

Bastiaan Straatman, Principal

Bastiaan Straatman has been modeling complex systems throughout his career, and happily continues to do so in his analyst role with whatIf? Technologies.

He holds a B.Sc and M.Sc in mathematics from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in economic geography from Memorial University Newfoundland. While working towards these degrees, his research covered the dynamics of spatial Markov chain diffusion models and models of evolutionary dynamics in economics. As a post doctoral fellow at the University of Calgary he continued his work on evolutionary dynamics, and for a second post doctoral position at the University of Southern Denmark he developed a model to generate consumption-based greenhouse gas emission accounts at the municipal level. Outside academia he worked for four years as a modeler for a consulting company where he developed and calibrated constrained cellular automata based land use models applied as a spatial decision support tool.

Since early 2012, he has been at the University of Calgary and, in collaboration with whatIf?, he has been focused on developing and using the Canadian Energy Systems Simulation (CanESS) model. He also provided (and still does part-time) energy systems model support to students and faculty to study the past, present and possible future energy systems of Canada.

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Erik Frenette, Model Analyst

As a model analyst at whatIf? Technologies, Erik utilizes his experience in energy modeling to quantify environmental projects and provide clear-cut insight to key decision makers.

He has worked on energy models since 2011, with a focus on providing solutions to Canadian specific energy and climate change issues. Earlier in his career, he was a research assistant at HEC Montreal and an environmental consultant at ESMIA. His academic research experience includes several published papers and conference presentations relating to strategies for greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption reduction.

He holds an Ms.c. in Economics from HEC Montreal where his research focused on the energy and environmental impacts of meat and dairy consumption in Canada.

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