The Songbird Team
Experts in DNA-molecular biology and building science, the Songbird Life Science team brings an unmatched understanding of pathogens, ventilation, air quality, and industry operations. We are your partners in keeping people and communities safe—and operations running.
Deleo de Leonardis Co-founder
Deleo is the co-founder of Songbird Life Science Inc. She is also a co-founder and the CEO of Purity-IQ Inc., a global organization founded upon cutting-edge genetic, chemical and metabolomic biotechnologies. As the CEO of Purity-IQ, she oversees the team responsible for the development of standards, innovative tools and the validation of scientific methods. Applying decades of merchandising and customer-facing retail experience, Deleo provides an unparalleled understanding of the consumer point of view, assuring Songbird services always meet—or exceed—end-user expectations.
Michael J. Soligo, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., C.Dir. Co-founder
Michael is the co-founder of Songbird Life Science and the president and CEO of RWDI, a leading engineering firm specializing in building sciences. Michael effectively leads his teams in setting strategies, defining key priorities and pursuing opportunities. A wind engineer and microclimate specialist who has completed scores of notable projects around the world, he brings a wealth of experience to his efforts to drive growth and deepen technical capabilities, while helping clients solve tough engineering challenges and execute ambitious projects.
Dr. Steven Newmaster Advisor, Genomics
Dr. Newmaster is a genomics professor at the University of Guelph, specializing in molecular diagnostics systems of plants, probiotics and pathogens. He is a leading scientist in the development and validation of mobile detection systems for species identification, DNA barcoding, and nuclear magnetic resonance chemometric systems for identification of natural products. Dr. Newmaster is currently working with a team of international scientists to develop and validate point-of-care diagnostic tools for pathogens. This includes bacteria and viruses that cause human health issues, including COVID-19. He has most recently received a research award to extend his R&D on novel pathogen detection in China. Among his many roles and accolades, Dr. Newmaster is Professor and Director of the Natural Health Products (NHP) Research Alliance, Chief Science Officer at TRU-ID, recipient of the SEDA ICED Award for Enhancing Academic Practice in Disciplines.
Duncan Phillips, Ph.D, P.Eng. Advisor, Building Sciences
Duncan is a Global Practice Leader for Building Performance at RWDI and is the lead ventilation and air-flow expert at Songbird Life Science. Supported by his team of engineers and scientists focused on climate-responsive design, Duncan solves tough building physics problems by analyzing air flow and heat transfer phenomena. These insights apply directly to the ventilation strategies he develops as part of Songbird’s pathogen risk-management services. Through his extensive work optimizing the design of ventilation systems for a variety of settings, including schools, laboratories, stadiums, operating rooms and transit stations, among others, Duncan has gained a unique understanding of how air distribution in a room can directly influence exposure to contaminants.
Dave Bullock Director, Product
Dave is director of product for Songbird Life Science, as well as director at RWDI Ventures, the start-up incubator within RWDI that launched Songbird. A successful entrepreneur, who has played key roles at several high-growth firms, Dave is highly adept at analyzing business challenges to identify solutions that reach beyond traditional models. As a strategic leader, clients benefit from Dave’s unique ability to translate technological innovation into sustained business success.
Justin Downey, BESc., BSc., MSc. Director, Solution Engineering
A recognized expert in high-performance buildings and certification, Justin is Songbird’s director of solution engineering, as well as a strategic director at RWDI. His deeply informed technical advice steers building designs to new thresholds of performance, sustainability and resiliency. Whether delivering planning or pathogen response, LEED or WELL certification, energy and/or ventilation analysis, Justin thrives on ambitious projects that respond to today’s environmental realities, including climate change and emerging pathogen risks. A highly respected sustainability specialist, Justin is a winner of the Canada Green Council Building’s Leadership Award.
Derek Kelly Director, Sales
Derek is a director of sales for Songbird Life Science, as well as a principal and senior project manager at RWDI. Known for his ability to make exceptionally complex and demanding projects advance smoothly, Derek is an invaluable project leader. With his strong communication skills, combined with extensive experience consulting in the design and construction of bridges and high-rise buildings, Derek is a highly regarded collaborator, known for his ability to steer projects to successful conclusions.
Aimée Smith, M.Eng., P.Eng Director, Research and Development
A field-leading specialist in the overall performance of buildings and systems, Aimée offers an expansive skillset to her role as director of research and development at Songbird. A director of technical excellence at RWDI, Aimée is widely recognized among the building-design community for her deep knowledge of exhaust dispersion and air-intake systems. The impacts of air quality and ventilation performance on the health and well-being of building occupants serves as the foundation for her work. A natural collaborator, clients repeatedly seek out Aimée’s building-performance expertise to solve complex challenges and deliver outstanding project outcomes.
John Snow Director, Operations
John is director of operations at Songbird Life Science, relying on years of experience in various innovation leadership roles, including global research and development, packaging and supply chain. As co-founder of Ahead of the Curve Group and Purity-IQ, he is committed to bringing life-improving solutions, through science and technology advancements, successfully to market.
Paul Valder Director, Technical Marketing
Paul is Songbird’s director of technical marketing, bringing years of experience successfully achieving third-party certified safety and quality management system assurances for retailers and food manufacturers. As co-founder of Purity-IQ and founder of the ISO accredited Gluten-Free Certification program, Paul is committed to applying best-in-class scientific technologies to support globally recognized operational and business management systems.
Mike Williams, P.Eng., MSc Director, Sales
One of Canada’s top sustainability experts, Mike brings a deep understanding of the engineering principles that drive building performance to his role of director of sales at Songbird. As an RWDI principal and professional engineer, Mike’s project portfolio includes complex buildings of nearly every type, including healthcare centres, university campuses, transit hubs, office towers and residential buildings. This vast experience informs his approach as he helps businesses and institutions develop thoughtful plans to keep their buildings healthy and people inside them safe.
Amber Thelen Manager, Technical Compliance
As an experienced quality assurance professional, Amber ensures technical compliance for Songbird programs, including product development, testing, and research and development. With a Bachelor of Science degree focused in microbiology, Amber has extensive experience in the food manufacturing industry working with major food labs and implementing GFSI food safety certifications. An expert in food safety, regulatory requirements, good manufacturing operations, product quality and cost controls, Amber also holds certifications as a HACCP professional, SQF Practitioner, Advanced SQF Practitioner, and an ISO Internal Auditor designation.
Mona Qaddoumi Manager, Customer Success
As Songbird’s manager of customer success, Mona brings a client-first approach to all areas of our business and enables the seamless integration of Songbird testing and risk-management programs with clients’ existing operations. She works to align, support and coordinate Songbird’s internal processes and teams to ensure success throughout each client engagement. As a strategic marketing analyst for RWDI, Mona is skilled at applying market intelligence data to effectively support companies’ growth and performance. Combined with her strong background in business development and corporate planning, Mona is a passionate leader, redefining the customer engagement experience to ensure lasting, beneficial partnerships.
Chris Charles B.Sc. Development Manager and Privacy Officer
A specialist in helping software startups build their minimum viable products (MVPs), Chris is a highly skilled manager of dynamic units where everyone wears multiple hats. As the development manager at Songbird, his key focus is assembling the expert team of designers and developers responsible for building the user-friendly digital tools essential for managing pathogen risk. Clients and colleagues alike are inspired by his nimble project guidance and enthusiasm for creating innovative, world-changing products. As Songbird’s Privacy Officer, Chris is responsible for monitoring all data systems, including how information is collected, disclosed and accessed, in order to ensure compliance. With his background in computer science (he previously managed his own custom software business) and love of sharing knowledge, Chris can often be found in his off-hours at Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for programmers.