Computer Technologies Faculty and Advisors

Faculty/Advisors

Looking for someone else? If you are trying to find a different person or adjunct instructor, please use the A-B Tech employee directory.

Finding your Advisor

Students are assigned to faculty advisors in their individual programs of study. You can find your assigned advisor’s contact information in WebAdvisor by clicking “Curriculum Students” then “Email My Advisor(s).” Note, many advisors are only 9-month and will be gone from Late May-Early Aug. If you need advising, please make a CT Advising Appointment with available advisors.

Chairpersons

Brenda McFarland, Chairperson   
brendahmcfarland@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7669

Education:
AA – Bainbridge College
BS – Troy State University
MBA – Troy State University

Professional:
Before becoming an Instructor at A-B Tech, I worked in private industry for 30 years. I spent 27 years with INFORMS, a software consulting firm specializing in procurement software for State and Federal Government. One of my responsibilities was training staff and clients on how to maintain the software, so the transition to Instructor was a natural one for me.

Personal:
When I am not at school, I am usually doing something with family. I am married and have three boys. We like to attend sporting events and concerts, but can almost always be found in front of the fireplace with a good book.


Marlene Roden, Associate Chairperson   
marleneandersonroden@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7811

Education:
BS – Western Carolinia University
MA – Appalachian State University
Additional technical training and certifications

Professional:
My professional career began fresh out of college ... I stepped out of college and went back to high school (as a teacher). For eight and a half years, I taught computer-related courses at two different high schools. Additionally, I was track coach and FBLA advisor. I also do database and programming consulting (as needed) for local organizations.

Personal:
My ideal environment is outdoors … I enjoy mountain biking, road riding, trail running, hiking, and camping the most. Prior to working in a professional capacity, I was a whitewater rafting river guide and I am now experimenting with kayaking. My husband and I venture to Montana once or twice a year for skiing, backpacking, and wilderness explorations with family. I am happily married, have two (amazing) step-children, and two white Labradors (Grace and Gus).


Digital Media Technology

Ben Goliwas, Instructor   
bengoliwas@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7666

Education:
BA - Tulane University
MED - Appalachian State

Professional:
Ben offers experience in consultation, design, development, and life-cycle management of web-based solutions. He has developed numerous web-based data systems (with PHP and MySQL). In addition to experience as a custom programmer, he has extensive experience managing web services in a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) environment, as a Moodle instructor and administrator, a graphic designer, WordPress developer and administrator, and instructor.


Jonathan Ross, Instructor   
jonathansross@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7305

Education:
BA in Vocal Performance, James Madison University
MM in Opera Performance, Binghamton University

Professional:
I started a career in graphic design as an advertisement designer for the school newspaper at James Madison University. After moving to Binghamton, I worked as a motion graphics designer, video editor, and interactive designer for a corporate production house that specialized in trade-shows and events for large corporations. In 2002, I moved to Asheville to teach. For over 16 years I have taught Adobe software tools. Currently, I often work as a consultant and front-end web designer, specializing in WordPress.

Personal:
Outside of school I may be found singing in a church choir, or on stage. I may also be found on a disc golf course... trying to get that elusive ace!


IT: GIS Fundamentals Certificate

Photo of Pete Kennedy, InstructorPete Kennedy, Instructor
peterukennedy@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7289


IT: Information Systems

Veronica Dooly, Instructor   
veronicapdooly@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7663

Education:
BA, Business Administration – King University
MS, Accounting and Information Technology – University of Maryland University College

Professional:
Before returning to school to eventually become an instructor, I worked in customer service and as a bookkeeper.  Since beginning at A-B Tech in 2001, I have taught a variety of computer courses.  I enjoy teaching as it gives me opportunities to learn.  I have been fortunate to work with Phi Theta Kappa for seven years and now with Phi Beta Lambda.

Personal:
I grew up in Andrews, NC with two brothers and a sister. I am married with a grown daughter. We also have a foster daughter who is the mother of our wonderful granddaughter. Our lives are made complete with a variety of dogs. I don’t get much spare time as I am working on a doctorate. However, when I do get to relax, I love to read, swim, and travel.


Darren Isbell, Instructor   
darrenrisbell@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7179

Education:
BS - Stephen F. Austin State University
MS - University of North Texas

Professional:
I believe everyone can succeed at something. Find the something you are passionate about, do it for a living and you will love every minute of it.

Personal:
Married to my wonderful wife Karen for 12 years. I have two grown stepchildren, Ashley and Rob and a West Highland Terrier named Macy.


Pam Silvers, Instructor   
pamelajsilvers@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7249

Education:
BA – UNC-Asheville
MA – Western Carolina University

Professional:
Pamela Silvers teaches in the Computer Technologies department. She is a first-generation, non-traditional college graduate. Since 1992 she has taught all aspects of computer technologies, first as an adjunct instructor, now as a full-time instructor and former department chairperson. Pamela also serves as Principal Investigator (PI) for a National Science Foundation ATE Grant entitled Skilled Workers Get Jobs. Pamela’s commitment to students and STEM can be found in her numerous presentations and awards.  She has been recognized as the Faculty Member of the Year and as an Innovator Educator by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Personal:
I am a huge Disney fan. My husband, Vernon, and I also like to take advantage of the outdoor hiking opportunities in Western North Carolina.


IT: Network Management

Nathan Pfeiffer, Instructor   
nathanrpfeiffer@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7875

Education:
AAS,Network Technology - AB-Tech
BS, Industrial Technology - East Carolina University
MS, Network Technology - East Carolina University
Cyber Security Professional Graduate Certificate, East Carolina University

Professional:
Nathan has worked in the IT industry since 2002 in roles ranging from desktop support specialist to network engineer. He specializes in routing, switching, and wireless networks, but also has experience with Linux/UNIX and virtualization. He has various industry certifications.


IT: Systems Security

Drake Thomas, Instructor   
drakethomas@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7922

Education & Certifications:
BA, History - King University
MS, Technology Management - Columbia University in the City of New York
Microsoft: MCP, MCP+I, MCSE, (NT4.0, 2000)
EC-Council: CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator)
Computer Technology Industry Associates: A+, Security+

Professional:
"Be nice and fix things" is the mantra that comes through every course I teach where we train students how to listen and engage with their future employers, while also teaching scalable solutions that keep in mind information security and privacy. I believe many careers in IT are best enabled by creating listeners in search of people as opposed to solutions in search of problems. So, I focus our efforts in the classroom on developing technical expertise through practice, while also developing skills in social intelligence, critical thinking, and creative problem solving - all of which are the fundamental skills needed by tomorrow's workforce. Many of my courses integrate large-scale projects that can be accomplished only with effective communication and coordination between students, which allows us to achieve goals far beyond the typical experience of similar programs. We are also heavily focused on preparing students pass several industry standard certification exams, which employers count on for evidence of technical expertise.

Personal:
When I am not teaching I certainly enjoy time away from technology by cycling, fixing things around the house, and traveling with family.


IT: Software and Web Development

Alec Fehl, Instructor   
alecafehl@abtech.edu 
(828) 398-7881

Education & Certifications:
BM, Music Production and Engineering - Berklee College of Music
MCSE, A+, NT-CIP, ACE, ACI certified

Technical Certifications:
Microsoft: MCP, MCP+I, MCSE, (NT4.0, 2000)
EC-Council: CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator)
Computer Technology Industry Associates: A+, Security+

Professional:
Alec Fehl has been a technical writer, computer consultant, and web application developer since 1999 and a classroom teacher since 1989. After teaching math for ten years in Los Angeles, he and his wife moved to Asheville where Alec now teaches web programming/design and computer hardware/software. He was named 2007 Adjunct Teacher of the Year at A-B Tech, was a recipient of the 2008 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award, and was thrice nominated for the A-B Tech Teacher of the Year. His involvement with SILSA (Asheville High) earned him the 2017 Asheville City Schools Parent Champion (SILSA ) award. He has written over 20 technology books ranging in topics including HTML/CSS, computer security/maintenance, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and A+ certification.


Charlie Wallin, Instructor   
charleskwallin@abtech.edu
(828) 398-7662

Education:
BFA, Ceramics and Photography - Michigan State University
MS, Software Engineering - University of St. Thomas

Professional:
Before working as an instructor at A-B Tech, I taught at Western Carolina University in the Business Computing Department. I have also worked as a programmer for a small web-based company and worked as a programmer for the software development department in a large architectural firm in Minneapolis.

Personal:
I am married and have one son who is 17 years old. When I’m not spending time learning new technologies and programming ideas, I enjoy playing traditional Irish music on the Anglo concertina. In addition, I enjoy reading for pleasure.