Students with Professionals Acquiring Real Knowledge
BEP Foundation’s SPARK (Students with Professionals Acquiring Real Knowledge) is an interactive program that ignites students’ interest in exploration of different careers by helping make connections between what students are learning in the classroom and how those lessons are applied in real-world careers and experiences. BEP’s SPARK program has received regional and national attention for its approach to education and workforce development.
SPARK volunteers are ready to share their career experiences with students and help them develop an understanding of how they can build careers based on their own interests and favorite subjects.
To volunteer to be a SPARK speaker, please complete our volunteer registration form.
To request a SPARK speaker for your Rutherford County or City of Murfreesboro class, please complete our SPARK speaker request form.
Tim Pote, Cicayda
Current Role: Senior Engineer
Education: BA in Music and Physics, Hendrix College
Career/Academic Topics: Programming, Networking, Music, Physics, Math
Hometown: Hope, Arkansas
Hobbies: Playing trombone with TN Valley Winds, playing guitar, volunteering with youth
Theo Glave, General Mills
Current Role: Quality Engineer
Education: BSc in Chemical Engineering, Clarkson University
Career/Academic Topics: Statistical Analysis, Problem-Solving, Chemistry of Dough, College of Preparedness
Hometown: Manchester, Jamaica
Hobbies: Traveling, food, music, books
Julie Corcoran and Wes Ballard, Nissan (Retired)
Role Prior to Retirement: Director of Organizational Development, Smyrna Battery Plant (Julie); Director of Product Quality Assurance, Smyrna Plant (Wes)
Education: BS in Clothing and Textiles with minors in Chemistry and Business, Virginia Tech; MA in Economics with concentration in Industrial Relations, MTSU (Julie); BS in Industrial Technology, MTSU (Wes)
Career/Academic Topics: Engineering Design Process, Automobile Design and Manufacturing, Leadership
Hometown: Bucyrus, Ohio (Julie); Knoxville, Tennessee (Wes)
Hobbies: Running, grandparenting (Julie); golfing, traveling (Wes)