Meet The Team
Founder & CEO
Alana Bennett holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a graduate certificate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MPH from Walden University. She has taken several business courses through the local community college, consistently attends entrepreneurial workshops, and is regularly mentored through SCORE of Chapel Hill. She has over 15 years experience in project management and clinical research with extensive training in business management and administration. She is a wife and mother of two handsome boys. In 2016, her youngest son was diagnosed with ASD and during that time she and her husband strived to create inclusive experiences for both children; ensuring both received personalized care but were able to have fun and learn together. Seeing the tremendous need for inclusive education and entertainment centers in her area, she along with her husband and family founded TECpark. Over the years she has gained valuable caregiver experience through classes, seminars, and real-life experience. She looks forward to what TECpark will bring to the community and beyond.
Co-Owner & CIO
Steven Bennett has over 10 year’s experience in information technology, cyber security, and consulting. He has worked on several major commercial projects to secure data and computer systems, provide network training, and more.
He is a husband and dad of two wonderful boys, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. Steven and his wife have worked tirelessly to provide their boys with the best inclusive opportunities so they may grow and thrive. Steven has several years of caregiver training experience that has prepared him to be an integral part of the TECpark team.
Deb Grener has worked over 15 years in the Alamance Burlington School System. She has extensive experience as a substitute teacher and teacher assistant. She enjoys working with individuals who have learning differences/disabilities and loves to see them develop socially and emotionally through interaction with their peers.
Deb graduated from The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio in 1983 with a B.A. in Business-Writing. Prior to moving to North Carolina in 2002, she worked in county government doing educational environment/ recycling presentations for local schools and community organizations and she also worked with at-risk students on developing career and life skills.
She lives with her husband David and their two dogs Kayva and Kynlee. She has a daughter Amy and a “granddog” Ollie.
Community Outreach Director
Tara Rowe is originally from Fairfax County, VA where she pursued a degree in early childhood education. She relocated to NC 17 years ago and has over 20 years experience in public and private education where she has specialized in special education throughout her career.
Tara has also been in family ministry in Alamance County for over 7 years, leading ministry as well as consulting for multiple church campuses on how to provide an inclusive children's ministry. She did this through providing education, tools and resources to staff and volunteers that will help foster a safe, nurturing, developmentally, emotionally and spiritually appropriate environment for ALL families.
She has also served alongside families with children that with "rebel senses" to help calm, encourage and provide respite care while they are in the hospital. We are excited to offer these same services through TECpark in the near future.
Lead Program Facilitator
Benita Long has been working in the childcare industry for over 30 years and has worked with children with disabilities for 19 years. Her favorite part of working with children is being a part of their growth and watching them develop.
Melissa Shannon has had a role in childcare for over 30 years. She has been an in-home provider, worked in every position within a center and served as program director for a developmental day center in Burlington, NC. She has worked with individuals that have developmental delays and/or dual diagnosis for 11 years. Her education covered birth through kindergarten child development, special education, psychology and early communications. She takes joy in watching what other people would think of as minor accomplishments. “If you have ever seen the first time a parent watches their child walk, hold their own bottle, sit up by themselves and other normal milestones and the joy these things bring, imagine helping a family accomplish these things when they were told it may never happen. The day I saw my granddaughter walk almost a year later than all her peers were amazing. The day one of our children fed herself for the first time at age 5 was such a blessing to be a part of, I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.”
Beth Courtney is a teacher with over 37 years of experience. Of those 37 years, 24 have been in a separate setting classroom for children with autism. Beth believes that creating inclusive environments where each person is valued and respected will benefit everyone and make the world happier and more peaceful. She looks forward to working with TECPark to create those environments one event at a time
Ruth Schallert, an occupational therapist for over 20 years, has extensive experience working with neurodiverse children, teens and adults. She is passionate about collaborating with people who have a variety of abilities and their families to create opportunities to engage in meaningful and purposeful life roles and activities.
Ruth is currently employed with Alamance Burlington School System, but has also worked in other urban and rural school districts throughout central NC. She was recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children’s Division as a Teacher of Excellence. She was also recognized by the NC Parent Teacher Association for her work to make NC PTAs more inclusive of families and their children with disabilities. Before working in the public schools, she was employed as a rehabilitation therapist at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Ruth’s inspiration has been her two children who successfully live with ADHD as well as learning disabilities/differences and her uncle who lived with an intellectual disability.
Herman has over 40 years of experience in all areas of international marketing including being a lead marketer at 2 Fortune 500s, guiding various start-ups, and serving on several Board positions. He’s lectured at MIT, UCLA, and UNC and has been a certified SCORE mentor for the past 5 years. Mr. Sperling has lectured at MIT (Sloan – advanced marketing management), UNC (entrepreneurship), and UCLA (Anderson School – product development), speaking on behalf of Microsoft (social marketing) and Tata (innovation), has performed post-graduate work towards an MEd in Guidance and Counseling from Tufts University, holds a BA with majors in Psychology and Sociology from Emerson College and studies in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
Terry Fleitz, Mancor Group
Mr. Fleitz has been driving small business innovation for over three decades having led, started & owned, bought & sold, or consulted with over 350 businesses. Terry has published over 100 articles on small business operational topics; been a featured speaker at industry business events all of the world; and delivered financial, marketing and operational workshops to a wide variety of industries.
Terry is nationally recognized for small business performance optimization and crisis management and is the author of the first U.S. National small business handbook, the Small Business Mobilization Planner, in 1992.
Mr. Fleitz has a unique perspective on starting and growing businesses given a wide range of experiences, across most industries, through start-up, turnaround, M&A and IPO strategies and has been recognized by the industry with The Key Man Award.
As a volunteer, Terry has worked directly with more than 1,250 young people, for over 25 years, in five states. Mr. Fleitz was also responsible to train and certify youth coaches, positively impacting over 9,600 athletes in the Southeastern U.S., teaching life skills in one of the country's largest youth organizations.