Our Team

The Venerus Advisory Partners Team

Venerus Advisory Partners serves clients across Canada and internationally through our experienced team of professional advisors. Our diverse backgrounds and complementary skillsets allow us to provide the knowledge and expertise to keep the most complex projects and most challenging transactional relationships moving forward.

Led by Richard Venerus, the Venerus Advisory Partners team has the resources to help our clients manage commercial transactions in a way that protect their projects, their bottom lines and their reputations. This ensures each client receives the individual care and attention they deserve. No matter how large or time-sensitive a project.

20+ Years

Richard Venerus PMP, CCCA, CCM, M.B.A, LL.B.


Richard has over 20 years of experience in commercial management in a diverse set of industries, including technology, financial services, transportation, construction and oil and gas. He is a qualified lawyer, certified in Construction Law and holds a MBA from the Schulich School of Business. Richard is professionally trained or certified in Project Management, Change Management, Construction Contract Administration, Adult Education, Mediation, Arbitration and ISO 44001- Collaborative Working.

When not being an entrepreneur, Richard enjoys travelling with his young family to warm water locations that offer the opportunity for him to maintain his certification as a Master Scuba-Diver. Residing in Calgary, Canada, Richard can be reached at: richard@veneruspartners.com or 1.855.820.4234.

30+ Years

Anna Gignac PFF, CCS, P.Log, M.B.A

Procurement Advisory Partner: Logistics, Transportation, Customs and Trade Compliance

Anna Gignac has 30+ years experience predominately focused in Logistics, Transportation, Customs and Trade Compliance. Anna has three professional designations in the Supply Chain Industry; PFF – Professional Freight Forward through the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, CCS – Certified Customs Specialist through the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers, and her P.Log – Professional Logistician through the Canadian Logistics Institute. In addition to her commitment to the industry Anna received her MBA from Athabasca University in 2012. She is a conceptual thinker who has an ability to assess complex supply chain situations and identify appropriate solutions.

Anna has managed a broad array of transportation related projects in various industries. Anna can assess supply chain opportunities and facilitate strategic decisions in various areas;

  • Customs Manuals Development
  • Harmonized Tariff classifications (HS)
  • Valuation and Valuation appeals
  • Tax requirements and exemptions
  • Incoterms training
  • Warehouse best practices
  • Optimizing Supply Chains

In addition to her professional credentials Anna maintains that mind and body health is important to success. Anna is a Level one certified Yoga instructor, certified through The Yoga Studio College in Calgary, AB and a certified Meditation Instructor (and practitioner), certified through the University of Holistic Theology.

20+ Years

Chris Mabley

Procurement Advisory Partner: Supply Chain Systems and Technology

Chris has 20 years of experience in the energy sector in both domestic and international markets with exposure to heavy oil, oil sands, conventional oil, shallow gas, coal bed methane, offshore deep-water oil, and power generation businesses, in the fields of drilling, completions and production operations. For 10 years, Chris has specialized in supply chain technology and business process management. With extensive experience in technology implementation, he has collaborated with IT departments to design global infrastructure roadmaps based on leading-edge business requirements, defined system functionalities and lead a variety of supply chain technology enhancement projects. These initiatives include SAP BO WEBI analytics for advanced supply chain reporting; S2P implementations (Ariba, Ivalua, Oracle and Aveva); P2P (procure-to-pay) automation; SharePoint collaboration; and master data management.

Chris is accomplished in technology administration, having created, implemented and lead a supply chain technology Portfolio Management Office with accountability to design user training programs (including SAP) and execute organizational change management. Chris excels in business process management, with proficiency in planning and managing process documentation and governance projects, capturing end-to-end procurement processes in a standardized Business Process Management System, utilizing best practices in business process modeling.


21+ Years

Christie Podiluk

Partner in Construction Claims Management; Supporting Specialist in Project Guardian™

Christie has spent over 21 years in project document control and management. Her experience includes work on complex, multi-billion dollar mega projects in the highly technical oil & gas, pipeline, and nuclear industries, where engineering information standards are very detailed and exacting.

She has been engaged in these projects in a variety of specialist and team leadership roles. And in these roles she has performed a number of services: performing legacy document searches in response to litigation and regulatory requests, conducting document control audits; implementing new and improved enterprise-level document review standards, processes and work tools to support the full project lifecycle all the way from project sanction into the maintenance phase; implementing document numbering methodologies; implementing equipment tag numbering registries; and developing and delivering best practices training and mentoring to document control resources.

Recently, Christie was engaged to plan, build and operate a document management capability for a client where none previously existed, complete with employee and contractor capability development, authoring and implementation of harmonized process and controls, as well as technology selection, acquisition and implementation, including data migration and functionality testing.

As an expert in EDMS technology, Christie has implemented several industry-accepted EDMS systems, including assisting with selection, acquisition, installation and operation SmartPlant Foundation, Aconex, Encompass, Prodom and custom-solutions for tag registries.

Christie is experienced in the implementation of web-collaboration systems for document control in a global context.

25+ Years

Don Smith C.P.M., MBA, IACCM

Procurement Advisory Partner: Category Management, Outsourcing and Shared Services

Don Smith’s impressive career in Integrated Supply Chain, Plan to Pay, BPO, Category Management, Finance, Operations, HR, IT Architecture, Strategy, Transformation and Infrastructure Services spans more than 25 years.

He has experience providing supply chain advisory services in numerous industries including: Energy, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing (Electrical, Steel, Shipbuilding, Tires, Automobiles) Agribusiness, Forestry, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Transportation, Aerospace, Technology, Telecommunication, Public Sector (Depart of National Defense, Government of Ontario, Wheat Board) and Professional Services.

Don has held successive senior executive and leadership roles for 3 of the world largest consulting and advisory firms, including a role as Global Head of Supplier Management/Finance for KPMG’s 156 countries and 172K employees and clients, and Director of Outsourcing and IT Architecture at Capgemini.

Before joining VAP, Don held the position of Vice President Corporate Services, global Procurement for Scotiabank where he completed a costs saving program 2 years ahead of schedule saving 160 million dollars.

Prior to leadership at Scotiabank, Donald assisted BC hydro in developing and running 14 category programs successfully leading transformations and implementing processes that managed indirect and direct spend categories.

Don’s areas of specializations, include identify and implement BPO, Category Management, Cloud, Saas, Iaas, Paas, Caas, APDEV, outsourcing, shared services, and utility

Don currently holds a lifetime C.P.M. certification from the Institute for Supply Management and is an executive sponsor of the IACCM (International Association for Contract and Commercial Management) accreditation program. Don holds an MBA in Agricultural Economics, Finance and Statistics and a Bachelor of Commerce.

14+ Years

Ian Gonzalez BME, M.B.A, CIPS

Procurement Advisory Partner and Data Scientist

Ian Gonzalez is a highly motivated and quality-focused Supply Chain Management Data Scientist with 14 years of experience in oil and gas and aviation. His unique skillset comes from his background in engineering, supply chain management, and computer science. He is skilled in SCM advanced analytics, category management, business intelligence, process automation, reporting and training. He is an organized, innovative, and possesses a natural ability to bridge ground-level analytics with high-level strategic thinking. When he’s not doing performance measurement and reporting for Suncor Energy, he teaches various SCM and analytics courses for the Supply Chain Management Association of Canada (SCMA).

  • Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, University of the Philippines – 2003
  • Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Ateneo Graduate School of Business – 2008
  • Advanced Procurement Diploma, Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) – 2010
  • Certificate in Business Analytics, Harvard Business School Online – 2018
40+ Years

Jim Freiburger BME, M.B.A, CIPS

Partner in Procurement and Contract Administration Advisory; Supporting Specialist in Negotiations Advisory and Construction Claims

After graduating in Civil Engineering Technology from Mohawk College, Jim started his career as a surveyor/field inspector at an oil refinery. He then commenced an impressive 40+ year career working for world class EPC companies and major, global oil companies in the field of contracts management. In those 40 years, Jim held senior management positions in many mega-projects, was the architect of 5 contracts management system implementations, as corporate manager of contracts established department standard documents and procedures, the builder of a Contracts Center of Excellence (CCOE) and has multiple experiences in the field of EPC claim litigation and arbitration. Jim has also spoken at many conferences and was co-chair of the Construction Owners Association of Alberta Contracts Committee.

Representative roles and projects:
  • Syncrude Canada Ltd. – Capacity Addition Project & Expansion projects
  • Corporate Contracts Manager – Legal Dept. Delta/Catalytic – review all client RFX’s & resultant negotiation of commercial & legal terms with client contracts
  • H. A Simons Ltd. – Corporate Contracts Manager – Ekati Diamond mine, Albion Sands Oilsands Development
  • Bechtel Power Corp. (Frederick, MD) – Prime Contracts Manager – Cogeneration Projects in Texas & Mexico
  • Fluor Daniel International (Brisbane, Aus.) – Snr. Contracts & Procurement Manager – Stanwell Magnesium Project
  • McDermott/Jacobs Canada – Corporate Contracts Manager and brief assignment to Aramco OOK contract
  • OPTI/Nexen – Snr. Manager of Contracts Phase 1 & 2 Long Lake Oilsands Plant
  • Nexen/CNOOC – Snr. Manager, Contracts Excellence
35+ Years

Scott Diehl P. Eng, M. Eng, PMP

Partner in Construction Claims Management; Supporting Specialist in Project Guardian™

Mr. Diehl has 35 years of Industry experience and has demonstrated value through Project Consulting to improve outcomes through project cost and schedule control, and effective project team management. Scott has managed complex, interdisciplinary projects with a high degree of success and has diverse experience in numerous industry sectors including: gas and oil production/processing, electric generation and transmission, gas transmission pipelines, water and wastewater utilities, alternative energy, mining and oil sands, pulp and paper, food and beverage production.

Mr. Diehl Manages the full capital project life cycle from conception (FEED) to completion. He specializes in independent project reviews, project planning, project controls, and post project reviews. Scott delivers Project Management Training to a variety of audiences – Owner Organizations, Project Teams, Supply Chain organizations, Contractors, and Vendors. He improves project outcomes of Capital Projects by working with project teams to improve their practices, document procedures, and create more functional teams. Scott builds trust and credibility with clients by delivering and achieving desired results.

Scott holds a Masters of Engineering, University of Calgary (1995) and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo (1984). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has completed numerous courses in Leadership, Negotiations and Project Team Management. Scott is active in many industry organizations such as PMI, AACE, COAA and presents at many industry forums.

10+ Years

Yuri Hul SCMP

Procurement Advisory Partner: Indirect Spend Category Management

Yuri has spent the last 10 years specializing in the application of best practices in strategic sourcing and category management in support of major projects for oil and gas organizations such as Suncor, Husky Energy, and CNOOC/Nexen.

During his career, Yuri developed a specialization in managing Indirect spend categories, including supporting, facilities, finance, travel and IT functions, – and also has experience in managing more traditional oil and gas categories such as drilling and completions. He has successfully executed global initiatives in countries such as: China, Guyana, Russia, and United States.

Yuri’s has an entrepreneurial, can-do mindset and is passionate about developing opportunities for savings and process efficiencies through relationship management.

Yuri graduated with honors from Mount Royal University with Bachelor of International Business and Supply Chain Management, followed by a successful completion of SCMP designation in spring of 2015.

Yuri is Fluent in Russian, Polish and Ukrainian languages.