IFHE Executive Committee

(2022 - 2024)


Steve Rees
1st Vice President
Kevin Poggenpoel
Country:South Africa


I am Kevin Poggenpoel qualified as a shipbuilder and completed my Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. I have been involved in Maintenance for my entire working career. 12 years in the South African Navy services and 31 years in the Private hospital Industry.

I served as Technical Manager of a hospital, Regional Technical Manager of various regions and currently the General Manager of Technical Operations in the South African division of Mediclinic.

I have served as Chairperson and President of SAFHE over the last 30 years and been involved with planning of all the local and international congress planning in SAFHE since 1990.

2nd Vice President
Walter Vernon


Walt has degrees in Math, Philosophy, Engineering, Business, and Law. He is the CEO of Mazzetti, an employee-owned Benefit Corporation focused on healthcare technology and infrastructure, with offices across the US and in India. He is also the founder and CEO of Sextant, a not for profit committed to developing sustainable infrastructure for health facilities in low-resourced countries around the world. 

Walt has a long history of driving change in ways that help healthcare reduce its environmental footprint. He represents the US to the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering, and he serves on the Exco for the IFHE. He co-authored the unpublished WHO book, Health in the Green Economy: a prescription for the Global Health Sector, and he consults to the WHO through his position with IFHE. He works to develop healthcare standards for IEEE, ASHRAE, NFPA, and FGI.

Walt led the efforts of the American Hospital Association to create and develop its national sustainability programs. He was a co-chair of the Green Guide for Healthcare; he helped to develop the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides for Healthcare. He co-led the team that won the Kaiser International Small Hospital Big Idea Competition; and he is the vice-chair for the ASHRAE 189.3 Healthcare Sustainability Standard. Walt is also on the National Board of the Association of Medical Facility Professionals, and the Facility Guidelines Institute, which publishes the national model licensing code for health facilities. Walt wrote the National Academy of Medicine Paper 2030: Next Steps to Healthcare Climate Leadership. He is currently leading the new ASHRAE Infectious Aerosols Position Document development. 


Walt is a frequent speaker/author on healthcare infrastructure. He leads the research efforts for the FGI. He is a frequent research partner for Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. His most recent project with LBNL is the US-India Energy Alliance, developing energy reduction strategies relevant to hospitals in both India and the US. Walt has done numerous projects to bring infrastructure to low-resourced countries, including India, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines.

Walt is currently the PI for grants from ASHRAE, NFPA, the and the University of California Office of the President. Walt is currently leading two grant-funded projects from the California Energy Commission; one, to write the book on Decarbonizing Hospitals, and a second to design and deploy a microgrid for the emergency system of a major California hospital. In the US,
Walt spearheads the climate consulting business for Mazzetti, helping clients with a wide range of solutions, from purchasing, to data flow, to carbon accounting, to behavior change.

Immediate Past President
Daniela Pedrini

Technical Director, University Hospital of Bologna, Sant’Orsola Polyclinic
President of the Italian Society for Healthcare Engineering and Architecture (S.I.A.I.S.)

Engineer Daniela Pedrini has a long career in the health sector, with important roles in the management of technical aspects of the hospital. Director of the Technical, Planning, Development and Investments Department of the Hospital-University Authority of Bologna – Sant’Orsola Polyclinic, one of the major hospitals in Italy. Has directed a multimillion PFI contract for the total renovation of the hospital’s energy production. She is Project Manager for renovations and new hospital construction.

She has served as speaker in many conferences in Italy and abroad. She teaches in many healthcare engineering courses and university masters. Co-founder and present President of “Italian Association of Architects and Engineers for Healthcare” (S.I.A.I.S.), 1st Vice President of IFHE (International Federation Hospital Engeeniring) and Past-President of IFHE-EU. She has been honored with a medal of the Italian Republic Order of Merit.

General Secretary
Gunnar Baekken

Date of Birth: April 09,1952
Nationality: Norwegian


Medisinsk Utstyr A/S, Oslo, Norway
Service engineer
Valley lab Inc, Boulder, USA
Service engineer

Medisinsk Utstyr A/S, Oslo, Norway
Manager of Technical Department
Medisinsk Utstyr A/S   Oslo, Norway
Technical Director

Region Hospital of Trondheim, Norway
Technical Manager

Region Hospital of Trondheim, Norway
Facilities Director

University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway
Facilities Director

University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway
Director of Non Medical Supports


Master of Science, Biomedical Engineering
Technical University Norway

Administration and Leadership    
University of Trondheim, Norway

  •  Courses in Service and administration of Biomedical Equipment
  •  Courses in Hospital Technology, Facilities Management, Leadership and Administration.

Appointments, committees and boards:

  • Past Vice President of Norwegian Association of Biomedical Engineering.
  • Past President of FSTL-Norwegian Association of Hospital Engineering.
  • Different participation in national and international committees concerning HospitalTechnology and Facilities management (Including WHO).
  • President of IFHE-International Federation of Hospital Engineering.

Civil Status:   
Married and four adult children

See full presentation here...

Joint General Secretary
Darryl Pitcher

Darryl Pitcher is the past President of the International Federation of Hospital Engineering (IFHE) and CEO of Bethsalem Care and Greenbriars Village in South Australia. Darryl has more than 30 year’s experience in hospital engineering in the public, private and aged care sectors.

He is a board member and Past President of the Institute of Hospital Engineering Australia (IHEA). In his role for the IHEA board he oversees technology and communications and he is editor of the Healthcare Facilities, the IHEA’s quarterly journal. Darryl’s passions include sustainability and innovation to deliver efficient and improved services to improve health and wellbeing.

Honorary Treasurer
Matthias Schwabe

Matthias Schwabe

Matthias is a diploma engineer in electrical engineering. As a sales manager at BENDER he has morethan 25 years’ experience in the field of electrical safety in healthcare worldwide.
His papers were presented in all continents (more than 40 countries) and he is in close contact with
national committees for safety requirements in healthcare world-wide.

Further he was announced as an active member in the DIN VDE committee UK221.4 and in the
international committee MT40: “IEC60364-7 Electrical installations of buildings – Part 7-710:
Requirements for special installations or locations – Medical locations”
As a board member of the WGKT (scientific association of healthcare technology) www.wgkt.de he is
representing Germany within the IFHE. In Oct 2018 he has been appointed into the ExCo of IFHE

December 2020

General Member
Briseyda Reséndiz Márquez
General Member
Yoshihisa Hirayama

Yoshihisa Hirayama PhDYoshihisa Hirayama is managing director of PS Company Ltd, a HVAC systems manufacturing company in Japan. He has a background in mechanical engineering and his expertise is in the field of healthy indoor climate and thermal comfort.

Yoshi has been an active member of the Healthcare Engineering Association of Japan since 2013, and also as Executive Committee member of the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering since 2016.

He has been involved with the Organizing Committee of the Environmental and Equipment Design Award of the Association of Building Engineering and Equipment for the past 18 years, and is a member of the Architectural Institute of Japan, and the Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Sanitary Engineers of Japan

General Member
Fabio Bitencourt

Fábio BitencourtArchitect D Sc, professor, researcher. Doctor in Architecture, Master in Healthcare Comfortin Architecture. Member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering (IFHE) since 2014.

Member of the Brazilian Academy of Hospital Management (ABAH). Member of International Academy for Design and Health (Design & Health) and Leader of the South America Chapter. Professor in graduate and post-graduate courses in architecture, healthcare, ergonomics, and hospital management.

Author of books and publications on hospital architecture, human comfort, healthcare environments and ergonomics. Past President 2011/2014 of the Brazilian Association of Healthcare Building - (ABDEH)