Our Team

Our Team

Phil Fung, P.Eng - Managing Partner

Mr. Phil Fung, P.Eng

Phil Fung is a Professional Engineer and Designated Consulting Engineer (Energy and Sustainability) in Ontario, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Systems Engineering.

Mr. Fung also holds several professional designations including LEED AP BD+C, Certified Sustainable Building Advisor, Certified Sustainable Development Professional, Certified Energy Manager, Certified Measurement and Verification Professional, and Certified Building Commissioning Professional among many others. His areas of expertise are energy efficient and sustainable buildings design, biomimetic buildings design, energy modelling, and LEED buildings consulting.

Starting his career as an Automation & Robotics Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation in 1987, he joined SRS Consulting Engineers in 1997, and became its Managing Principal in 2004.  In 2012, Mr. Fung accepted a part-time professorship at Humber College teaching Sustainable Buildings Design, Biomimetic Buildings design, Energy Modelling, and Project Management courses.

In the course of his career, Mr. Fung developed a vision in design of an affordable, self-sustaining, and regenerating MUR building.  He designed and built his first Vertical Indoor Garden (patent pending) in early 2014 which was based on biomimetic and biophilic design principles in combining organic food production, air purification, waste water treatment, nature therapy, and interactive education in an indoor setting. Mr. Fung brings to HiGarden his many years of experience as a consultant, an engineer, a system designer, and an educator, combined with his boundless passion for education and green building design.

Mr. Fung is currently conducting biomimetic and biophilic design research with McMaster University. He has published a biomimicry article in Professional Engineers Ontario magazine, delivered biomimetic design lectures at Ryerson University and York University, and conducted a biomimetic design seminar at the IIDEX Show 2015.

Azizur Rahman, Ph.D. - Director of Research

Dr. Azizur Rahman, Ph.D.Dr. Azizur Rahman is the Director of Research/Principal Scientist of HiGarden, Inc. and a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Toronto. He pursues a broad range of research interests that include indoor ecosystems, freshwater/marine biology, environment and climate change, biomineralization, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biotechnology and protein biochemistry. By applying his interdisciplinary research expertise in analytical and biological methods, he is particularly interested in understanding the biological processes of calcifying marine/freshwater organisms (including microorganisms) and their interaction to environmental change. He is also fascinated with understanding the biological development of freshwater microorganisms and their functional properties in an indoor ecosystem. He was awarded his Ph.D. (with President Award) in Aquatic Biology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Ryukyus, Japan.

Dr. Rahman’s interdisciplinary research has been recognized by over 15 major national and international awards, including several best paper awards and a gold medal. He is a recipient of the Presidential Honorary Award for Scientists, the highest honor given by the University of Ryukyus in Japan for outstanding novel research findings.

Dr. Rahman has over 10 years of academic and industrial experiences both in teaching and in research. In addition to his research work with HiGarden Inc., he teaches and conducts research in Aquatic Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto (since January 2013).

Dr. Rahman has authored more than 40 scientific articles and many book chapters. Dr. Rahman serves as a reviewer for the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Science Magazine, Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), Nature Materials, Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), ChemBioChem, Process Biochemistry, Marine Biotechnology, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters, Materials Chemistry and Physics, The Biological Bulletin, Applied Water Science (Springer), Current Organic Chemistry, and Database (Oxford University Press), among others.

To access Dr. Rahman’s research and publications, please visit our research page HERE.

Leon Wasser MBA, P.Eng. - Director of Business Development

Leon WasserMr. Leon Wasser is a multifaceted Ontario registered professional engineer with extensive experience working with innovative new green building, energy and environmental technologies.

Leon graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with a Minor in Management, and then pursued graduate engineering studies in solar and geothermal engineering at Concordia University. During this period, Leon worked for PetroSol, Canada’s first solar energy company, The ECE Group, Canada’s first environmentally-orient consulting engineering firm and with M. Levis & Associates, an engineering firm specialized in seismic resistant high-rise concrete condominium towers.

Leon then joined Atomic Energy of Canada to computerize the planning process for the new export oriented 600 MW CANDIU Nuclear Power Plant. He later was involved in in the seismic redesign of the CANDU plant and then joined the senior management team for the Cernavoda, Romania project. Leon then moved to Defence Construction Canada to manage a variety defence related facilities across southern Ontario including the Canadian Forces College and the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.

Leon completed an MBA at York University’s Faculty of Administrative Studies, now called the Schulich School of Business, specializing in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, the intersection of business and the greater public good. He served as a lead consultant to entrepreneurial business clients at the school’s student run consulting service, York Enterprise Centre, which subsequently developed into the City of Toronto’s Enterprise Toronto business development office. Later he returned to the Schulich school later to lecture in the Bachelor of Business Administration program where he was awarded the prestigious Seymour Schulich Teaching Award in his inaugural year.

Leon then served York University for 18 years through a series of increasingly senior administrative positions. He began as the Facilities Planner for the massive redevelopment plan for the Keele Campus, following which he was involved in the implementation of the capital development program involving 12 new major buildings, substantial infrastructure expansion and a tripling of the campus population. Leon then became the Business Manager of the university’s Glendon Campus and subsequently was given responsibility for many of the university’s revenue generating facilities and operations in the newly create role of Director of Commercial Facilities, a portfolio which included all campus commercial research and development facilities. Leon initiate numerous environmental and sustainability projects across the university during his tenure at the university.

Over the past several years Leon devoted himself full-time to assisting entrepreneurial new green building and energy technology companies to successfully enter the commercial marketplace. Leon is committed to ensuring the rapid growth of HiGarden Inc. and its expanding portfolio of innovative green building, food and water technologies. Leon understand that HiGarden VIGA™ will to improve the lives of many people and is truly the greenest building technology on the market.

Jurek Kolasa, Ph.D. - Research Partner (at McMaster University)

Dr. Jurek Kolasa, Ph.D.

Dr. Jurek Kolasa is a professor of Ecology & Evolution at McMaster University’s Department of Biology, having obtained dual Ph.D.’s in Ecology and Zoology from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Italy and A. Mickiewicz University in Poland. His work has led him to conduct research projects as far afield as Ontario, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and Africa.

Dr. Kolasa has a specific interest in applying analytical methods to studying the interactions of components and factors within complex ecological systems, focusing primarily on aquatic habitats and their fauna. An example of one of his research projects is the study of invertebrate communities in natural rock pools in Jamaica, seeking to understand among other things, the dependency of biodiversity on the scale of the habitat, its variability, and species composition.

With his decades of experience, and the combination of the above-mentioned research and his teaching, Dr. Kolasa is an invaluable member of HiGarden’s applied research program. Working together, we seek to further the development of our Vertical Indoor Ecosystem concept, identifying new organisms for our closed-loop ecosystems, the addition of which will help improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operating cycles and reduce the need for external intervention.