About Us

Who Are We

Salish Elements is a majority Indigenous-owned green hydrogen production company. We engineer green hydrogen solutions to end fossil fuel dependence in hard-to-decarbonize use cases. We are focused on heavy-duty trucking, community power in remote, diesel-dependent communities, and reserve power applications. As we grow, we aim to pursue marine and air travel applications.
We seek to create sustainable projects that respect the needs of the communities with whom we do business. We do this through a collaborative development process that begins with community representatives and leaders seeking a green energy solution.

Our Partners

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Our Story

The journey of Salish Elements began when one man handed a bundle of tobacco to another. This act, initiated by an entrepreneurial engineer from Egypt to a community and spiritual leader of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, was the genesis of “A Clear Way Forward”.

Rueben George and Omar Kassem first met at a gathering addressing how activists can support Indigenous communities. Reuben spoke about how green business ideas would be helpful for many First Nations. This piqued Omar’s interest as an engineer with a desire to be part of meaningful change in the energy industry.

Omar had previously worked as a hydrogen engineer for a major energy company and had worked in other energy sectors before embarking on his own ideas toward decarbonization solutions. Rueben’s words inspired him about the potential to collaborate with communities to produce green hydrogen.

Omar had a discussion with an Elder from a different First Nation (who also was Chief of his community) who was hosting a cultural gathering on the land. The Chief gave Omar a bundle of tobacco and suggested he take it to the water and make an offering to the land before he traveled back to Tsleil-Waututh Nation lands.

He did as he was instructed before returning to Vancouver. Omar later met with Rueben George in person and gifted the bundle to him. Reuben accepted the tobacco, and they discussed the idea of a green hydrogen business that could provide an alternative to oil as well as bring economic opportunity for Indigenous communities.

The idea of producing green hydrogen across B.C. with other Indigenous communities sparked a light in Rueben. He has globally advocated for the protection of Indigenous lands, waters and peoples and has been speaking for the last decade about the dangers of oil impacting his home territory of Tsleil-Waututh. Being part of building a solution seemed like a natural next step to take in his work.

After many prayers and conversations, together Rueben and Omar formed Salish Elements, a majority Indigenous owned green hydrogen development company that is transforming how fuel is produced. As time progresses, so are the development of multiple Indigenous owned green hydrogen production and distribution facilities.

We believe Indigenous communities should have the opportunity to share in the benefits of a shift to green energy. We are transforming business practices that benefit very few people and do not consider the long-term consequences of irreversible actions done to lands, waters and people. We do this by allowing our values and relationships to lead the direction of our business.

We do this through working with the principles of community sovereignty and human connection to nature. These principles nourish each project and support the core growth of the company values from traditional Longhouse Law: truth, family, health and culture.

Applying this mindset reveals to us a clear way forward. A way toward more balanced, reciprocal, and respectful relationships among the natural cycles and beings of this world and the current human-built systems and technologies we use to live on the Earth. We are not only walking this Earth – we are the Earth.

As Rueben’s grandfather Chief Dan George said: “We are as much alive as we keep the Earth alive.”

And we want to live.

The Team

Portrait of Rueben George

Rueben George

Chairman and President

Rueben George is the Chairman, majority owner, and a co-founder of Salish Elements. He is from Tsleil-Waututh Nation — one of the original groups of Coast Salish peoples living in the Vancouver area since time immemorial. Rueben provides a lifetime of relationship building and extensive public speaking figurehead experience to the company. He is a globally recognized environmentalist who was successful in resisting oil and gas development in his territory and beyond. Rueben started his career as a family therapist and has more recently been consulting to multiple businesses for more than 9 years. He is well respected within his own community as a spiritual leader, and this extends into the larger community as well. Rueben recently wrote a book that is a National Bestseller – It Stops Here: Standing Up for Our Lands, Our Waters and Our People.

Rueben’s main responsibilities include representing Salish Elements in the public sphere with business and government officials, initiating and maintaining relationships with First Nations partners, guiding the business in a way that aligns with Coast Salish values and meeting with the executive team to understand and contribute to how the business can accomplish its goals.

Portrait of Omar Kassem

Omar Kassem

CEO

Omar Kassem is the Chief Executive officer, chief engineer and primary hydrogen technology expert for Salish Elements and a co-founder. He runs the company’s day-to-day operations. He is a registered Professional Engineer with more than seven years of energy industry experience, particularly in plant design, maintenance, and operations.

Omar provides the company’s vision and works toward making that vision a reality by developing and executing the necessary scopes of work, staying up to date in the hydrogen industry, meeting with investors and applying for funding opportunities, identifying and maintaining positive relationships with key partners, and determining an overall plan and direction for the company. Omar also manages the company’s engineering services.

Portrait of Deanna Ambrose

Deanna Ambrose

Communications Director

Deanna takes five years of professional working experience from the technology consulting industry combined with a mind for understanding people and stories cultivated from her university education in journalism. Her ability to understand organizations and how people fit into a greater system and her writing, editing, verbal, and visual communication skills provide a unique lens to give Salish Elements a human-centred and systems-thinking-based framework to communicate internally and externally.

Deanna takes insights from members of the internal team, First Nations partners and industry partners to create internal reports, press releases, marketing communication materials and presentations to give voice to the company and narrate the story of Salish Elements.

Rory North

Business Development

Rory North was the Chief Executive Officer of North Growth Management Ltd for more than 20 years. Under his leadership, the investment fund grew from $40 million to $700 million in value. He is a known philanthropist and major investor in B.C.’s hydrogen and renewable energy sector.

Since 2007 he has been closely following and investing in the hydrogen and renewable industry and investing in it. He is also a director for the North Family Foundation, a registered nonprofit. His investing and funding priorities are environment, reconciliation, and mental health services.

Portrait of James Delorme

James Delorme

VP of Community Development

James is a former Chief of the Klahoose First Nation and former President of Qathen Xwegus Management Corporation. He has been a witness and has had the privilege of heralding technology, eco-tourism, green energy, aquaculture and forestry projects serving the social and economic needs of the Klahoose.

As VP of Community Development, James Delorme brings his expertise and knowledge of Indigenous business and community development to major projects. This, combined with his leadership experience as former Chief and champion of clean energy and technology projects, brings a global-scale Indigenous perspective to the Salish Elements team. James supports relationships with First Nations and Indigenous groups, fosters relationships with intergovernmental groups and assists with overall business goals.

Careers

Salish Elements is a majority Indigenous-owned green hydrogen production company. We engineer green hydrogen solutions to end fossil fuel dependence in hard-to-decarbonize use cases.