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The Interview

Former coal-mining executive Annette Verschuren has the government’s ear on cleantech

Annette Verschuren has come full circle. After growing up on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Verschuren started her career as a development officer for a coal-mining operation in the late 1970s, just as the industry’s heyday on the island was coming to an end. At the time, she was responsible for promoting the resource. But as evidence emerged of its negative impacts on human and environmental health, Verschuren began plotting her next career move. “I didn’t see a future for coal,” she told The Logic. “I got that it was polluting, [but] when I questioned that, people there just shut me up.”

Nearly 30 years later, governments, cleantech entrepreneurs and energy executives are soliciting Verschuren’s advice on how to transition away from fossil fuels. 

Now the founder and CEO of energy-storage company NRStor, in June Verschuren was named the new chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), replacing Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), who had held the position at the government-funded organization since 2013.

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