Gavin Grant, PhD, P.Eng.

Managing Director

Dr. Gavin Grant has two decades of experience in the field of environmental remediation and was a critical member of the team that developed the Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) technology. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, under the direction of the co-inventors of STAR technology. As Managing Director, Gavin oversees all operational aspects of Savron including commercialization, project delivery, and research and development. He has completed many STAR/STARx projects for top-tier clients in the chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, and utility industries. Gavin is also an adjunct professor at Western University, where he supervises graduate students studying smoldering combustion. He is also the co-inventor of H2STAR, an energy-efficient process that converts a variety of waste and biomass materials to renewable hydrogen.

Grant Scholes, P.Eng.

Manager of Engineering

Grant Scholes has spent over 20 years working as an Environmental Engineer focused on designing, operating, and constructing remediation systems and developing new technologies. Currently the Manager of Engineering for Savron, Grant has worked on the development of STAR and STARx technologies for over 14 years. Grant completed his Masters of Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario under the supervision of STAR co-inventor Jason Gerhard. His graduate work focused on developing equipment and procedures and implementing the first field demonstration of STAR.

Grant has been on the leading edge of STAR and STARx development since the technology’s inception and has played a lead technical role in all Savron projects to date. Grant currently supports STAR and STARx projects for top-tier clients in the chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, and defense industries, in addition to managing STAR and STARx research and development programs.

Gabriel Sabadell, PhD, PE


Dr. Gabriel Sabadell focuses on the development, improvement, and application of Savron’s STARx systems. He leverages his experience to help oil and gas sector clients to meet their remediation and environmental stewardship goals and has successfully implemented STARx projects in North America and internationally. Recent projects include the design, construction, and commissioning a plant using the Hottpad configuration of STARx for treating a blend of crude oil sludge and oil contaminated soil in the Middle East; successful field demonstration of sludge and oil-impacted soil treatment in California; and management of research and development projects in coordination with industrial clients. Gabriel has three decades of experience as an environmental engineer and groundwater hydrologist with expertise in soil and groundwater contamination assessment, monitoring, and remediation. Before joining Savron, Gabriel was the Program Director for Soil and Sediment Remediation Research at Chevron Energy Technology Company where he led a group of industry and university collaborators performing research focused largely on crude-oil-impacted soils and waste materials.

Warren Ferguson, P.Eng.


Warren Ferguson is a Principal Engineer with more than 20 years of experience focused on major project proposals, oversight and quality of detailed engineering designs, equipment selection, and project and construction management. He completed a Masters of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering at University of Toronto. As a project manager, he oversees the delivery of the STAR/STARx technologies to clients worldwide, from conceptual-level design to detailed engineering; he also manages construction of these systems. Warren has managed engineering for several STARx projects with budgets larger than $US5MM, including unique pilots and full-scale projects for international locations. No matter the role, he works closely with clients to understand exactly what they need and delivers the STAR/STARx technology that meets that need.

Dave Liefl, P.Eng.

Senior Engineer

Dave Liefl has more than 13 years of experience in the environmental industry. He has helped develop and implement STAR technology at numerous project sites around the globe. Dave’s primary duties include managing operations for Savron’s full-scale STAR and STARx treatment plants in North America and the Caribbean, providing engineering design and project delivery, and supporting STAR and STARx pilot tests. A key figure in Savron’s research and development group, Dave uses his operational experience and mechanical background to lead STAR in situ heater design, automation, and data management and analytics and to support STARx product development. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and industry events.

Benoît Boulay, P.Eng.

Project Engineer

Benoît Boulay is a mechanical engineer with over 10 years of experience who specializes in heat and mass transfer. He completed his Master of Engineering studies at the University of Guelph. Benoît has been with Savron through the evolution of benchtop testing through full scale remediation for several smoldering applications. He has helped develop Savron’s ex situ treatment systems and recently led the design of Savron’s newest mobile treatment system (the STARxpress). Throughout his career, Benoît has designed and implemented projects throughout North and South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Laura Kinsman

Project Engineer

Laura Kinsman has over 12 years of experience researching and implementing smoldering remediation. She completed her Master of Engineering Science Studies at Western University under the direction of the co-inventors of the STAR technology. Laura supports system design, field operations, and project management at sites across North America and Asia, including pilot testing and full-scale applications of both in situ and ex situ smoldering remediation. She managed Savron’s scale-up work on smoldering per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and continues to support research and development for PFAS applications. Laura frequently presents at conferences and lectures.

David Major, PhD, BCES

Senior Advisor

Dr. David Major has over 25 years of international experience in negotiating, managing and directing the development and deployment of cost-effective remediation strategies for challenging contaminated sites for Fortune 500 companies, the United States Departments of Energy and Defense, and NASA. Dave was inducted into the Space Hall of Fame® for helping NASA commercialize one of the “Products from Space Benefiting Planet Earth.” He has also been successful in commercializing intellectual property from the University of Waterloo, University of Tennessee, University of Toronto, Stanford University and DuPont for the treatment of contaminated groundwater, and biomolecular markers and genes in environmental samples. In 2007 he received a University of Waterloo, Faculty of Science Alumni of Honour Award in recognition of his professional accomplishments. He is currently an Associate Editor of Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation. Dave has also served on the Board of Directors for Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., and for Kidsability.

Our Partners

The Savron team benefits from close collaborative relationships with the inventors and lead researchers of the STAR technology at the University College London (UK), the University of Strathclyde (UK), and the Open University (UK).

José Torero

Professor of Civil Engineering
Professor & Head of Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering

Dr. José Torero joined the University of Queensland in 2012 as Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of School. He earned a BSc from the Pontificia Universidad Catolice del Peru (1989) and a MSc (1991) and PhD (1992) from the University of California Berkeley. Before joining UQ, Dr. Torero served as the Head of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, the BRE Trust/RAEng Professor of Fire Safety Engineering, and Director of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering. Additionally, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland (USA) and Charge de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France). He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Building Research Establishment.

In 2008, Dr. Torero was awarded the Arthur B. Guise Medal by the Society of Fire Protection Engineering and, in 2011, the Rasbash Medal from the Institution of Fire Engineers (UK) for eminent achievement in the advancement of the science of fire safety.

Dr. Torero has received numerous education-related awards, and in 2010 he received the Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Communicating Scientific Knowledge to the Public. His work on bringing technology to the Fire Service was the subject of the April, 2007, BBC Horizon show: “Skyscraper Fire Fighters,” which has been shown in more than 30 countries.

He is the author of a book and more than 500 other technical documents for which he has received multiple awards. Currently Editor-in-Chief of Fire Safety Journal, Dr. Torero was Associate Editor of Combustion Science and Technology (2005-2010). He is a member of the Editorial Board of Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, Fire Technology, Journal of Fire Protection Engineering, Fire Science and Technology and the International Journal for High-Rise Buildings. He is the vice-chair of the International Association for Fire Safety Science, chair of the Fire Safety Working Group of the International Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and a member of numerous influential committees and standards development bodies.

Dr. Torero is a consultant to many private and government organizations around the world, having participated in landmark projects such as the Buncefield, Sago Mine, and Texas City Explosions, the collapse of the World Trade Centre and the design of complex infrastructure. He is recognized for leading edge research in a broad arrange of subjects associated to fire safety and for the development of many innovative educational programs in several countries. Dr. Torero is a co-inventor of the STAR technology.

Christine Switzer

Lecturer, University of Strathclyde

Dr. Christine Switzer is a Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom. She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her MS and PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University. Her research interests are in the areas of contaminated land and water, with specific interests in contaminant transport and remediation. Dr. Switzer has more than 10 years of experience in the remediation of organic contaminants and was part of the core research team that developed STAR from an idea to a field-demonstrated remediation process.

Tarek Rashwan

Lecturer, the Open University

Dr. Tarek Rashwan is an expert in applied smoldering combustion and an Assistant Professor of Sustainability and the Smart Environment at the Open University. Tarek has more than a decade of experience leading research innovations in topics including smouldering applications, experimental designs, and diagnostic tools. Working alongside Savron, these research innovations have led to commercial breakthroughs.

After completing his doctoral studies at Western University on applied smouldering systems under the guidance of STAR inventors Jason Gerhard and José Torero, Tarek joined the Open University. Tarek now researches a range of environmental engineering topics that support a low-carbon and circular economy. In his lab, he explores new smouldering applications that push the boundaries of existing STAR technology, alongside new waste-to-energy and resource recovery applications. In his current research post, he hosts numerous visiting and graduate students.

In Memoriam

Jason Gerhard

University of Western Ontario and University of Edinburgh

Jason Gerhard’s life’s work was studying dense nonaqueous-phase liquids (DNAPLs) and finding better ways to remediate them. At the University of Edinburgh, he led a research group that undertook and studied smoldering remediation; in addition, his group generated breakthroughs in multiphase flow theory, developed proprietary models for DNAPL migration-dissolution-transport-reactions in both unconsolidated and fractured porous media, and produced novel experimental data sets for validating these numerical models. Upon being awarded the Canada Research Chair in Geoenvironmental Restoration Engineering at University of Western Ontario, Jason moved to Western while remaining an adjunct at University of Edinburgh. At Western, he continued his research and co-directed Western’s RESTORE (Research for Subsurface Transport and Remediation) Group, managing a graduate research team of more than 20 people in four experimental and modeling laboratories. He also worked as a professional engineer, providing expert technical advice on how to design subsurface investigations and remediation systems.

He co-invented the STAR technology, trained and mentored many of our staff, and was a champion of environmental sustainability.

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