Keynote speaker Thom Ruhe, NC IDEA FOUNDATION President & CEO, will share his insight on NC IDEA's strategic funding direction and the state of North Carolina entrepreneurship. The May 1st program will introduce a "new, interactive formate that focuses on prom…
Directory of Staff
Meet Our Team
Paul Wetenhall, President
Paul Wetenhall joined the Ben Craig Center May 2008. Paul led the transformation of the Center into Ventureprise, the region’s conduit to entrepreneurial development.
Paul comes to The Ben Craig Center from High Tech Rochester, Inc. (HTR) in Rochester, New York where he served as President and Director. Paul started with HTR in 1997 where he launched and managed the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center incubator. As HTR's venture coach, he worked with over 100 start-up and early stage companies. He began his service as HTR's President in January 2004 and was responsible for all aspects of the organization's work, supporting innovators, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers in the nine-county Finger Lakes region. He worked closely with HTR's Board of Directors and with academic, economic development, government and private sector partners.Paul was an adjunct lecturer in entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester's Wiliam E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration and a regular guest speaker at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has been director of Odyssey Software, Inc. and a director of a statewide economic development initiative, New Jobs for New York.
Prior to joining HTR, Paul founded and was president of QSoft Solutions Corp., a business software company formed in 1993. In 1985, Paul co-founded Microlytics, Inc., a Xerox-funded software company formed to commercialize technology from Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center. As Chief Operating Officer and a Director, he managed rapid growth, mergers, Hong Kong manufacturing, and public company issues. Previously, he held a variety of management positions in pricing, marketing, and operations during 13 years at Xerox Corporation.
Paul is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with Honor and earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Paul is not all work and no play. When not mentoring entrepreneurs or speaking to city council, he is traveling to adventurous places; most recently Egypt, Jordan, China, Poland and the Ukraine. He can also be found relaxing with his favorite Jazz station or attending a regional theater or dance performance with his wife.
Marilyn Carpenter, Director Venture Development
Marilyn Carpenter comes to Ventureprise with over twenty years of proven performance in business development, sales, and marketing for entrepreneurial organizations. Most notably, Marilyn was employed as the Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Source Technologies, Inc., managing a $65 million business unit with a team of twenty marketing and sales professionals.
In 2006, Marilyn achieved the Associate Certified Coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She created a coaching and content program – Sales Entrepreneur Institute - to engage entrepreneurial sales and marketing teams with go-to-market strategy shifts required for success through
social media, personal branding, social networking and community building.
Most recently, Marilyn worked as the Director of Business Development for UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics, to successfully launch the new NSF I/UCRC research site for Safety, Security, and Rescue.
Marilyn is also a published author and a speaker, with a focus on training and development.
Robert Aldrich, Director Finance and Operations
Robert Aldrich serves as the Center’s controller, manages the building property and operations, and provides accounting and financial planning guidance to client companies.
Robert joined the Ben Craig Center in November 2004 from InterNET Services Corporation in Fort Mill, SC where he served as Senior Regional Accountant (Asia/Latin America). He started with InterNET in 2000 and helped to grow the International Department from eight to fourteen countries throughout Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Robert was in charge of the accounting functions, reporting, budgeting, and inner-company transactions for the seven countries contained in Asia and Latin America, as well as assisting on a monthly basis in the consolidation process to include Europe.
Prior to joining InterNET, Robert spent four years in public accounting. His experience includes audit and tax work with individuals, corporations, and partnerships.
Robert is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelors degree in Accounting and earned a Master in Business Administration degree from Queens University of Charlotte.
Devin Collins, Assistant Director for Business & Entrepreneurial Development
Devin Collins is Assistant Director of Business and Entrepreneurial at UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Research Institute and is responsible for accelerating technology commercialization and collaborations with industry, government and academia.
Based at the North Carolina Research Campus a $1.5 billion private-public venture, Mr. Collins provides commercialization assistance to the eight university partners. At UNC Charlotte, Mr. Collins generates opportunity assessments on research for the patent committee and assists in developing university start-ups. He also manages the Charlotte Venture Challenge a regional (NC, SC, TN and VA) start-up competition designed to commercialize innovative technologies and accelerate early-stage high-growth companies through opportunity assessment workshops, mentoring and resource connections.
Previously, Mr. Collins was a strategy consultant with RAM Consulting, Inc. where he worked with domestic and international small-to-medium enterprises for development financial services. Prior to joining RAM, he founded Innervate Systems, an early-stage new venture creation services company and BrainGoals a brain fitness product development company.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Collins worked on internationalization and foreign direct investment projects in Europe while at the Camera di Commercio Italiana in Trento, Italy. He also served as a visiting scholar in a Balkan Economic Development Program.
Mr. Collins received his undergraduate degree from Babson College and his master’s degree from American University.
Holly Dimmitt, Accounting Consultant
Holly Dimmitt has been with the Ben Craig Center for seven years. She serves as the Center’s Accounting Consultant, assisting clients & tenants in their bookkeeping needs, accounting systems setup, training and analysis. Holly has been in the accounting field for over twenty years with 4 years previous military experience with the US Air Force. Holly's trainer and accounting experience has provided Holly the experience necessary to assist our many clients in improving their financial reporting and understanding.
Holly lives in western Gaston County with her husband JT and has her hands full with children Justin, Brittany, Connor and Andrea.
Carolyn Smith, Administrative Assistant
Carolyn Smith has been an employee at The Ben Craig Center and now Ventureprise since 1994. She provides valuable administrative support to clients and staff, as well as support for the Center’s accounts receivable and project management functions.
Carolyn and her husband, Tony, are life-long residents of Charlotte. They have two adult sons and two grandchildren. Carolyn and Tony are active members of First Baptist Church in Matthews. Her hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing and spending time with her family.