About Us

OUR STORY

TACT was founded in 2016 by parents very much like many of you reading this – parents inspired by both the strengths and challenges unique to their child.

In 2009, Claire and Danny were blessed with a beautiful son. The first few years his progress was “on track,” however around the age of three they began noticing his speech was behind, he was toe walking and few other “differences.”  They visited a few doctors and he started speech and occupational therapy to work on his sensory developments.  Fast forward to 2015: Their son is in the first grade and growing into a remarkable young man. He’s becoming an extremely creative and innovative thinker, however, there are clearly some continued difficulties. After years of working with doctors and teachers he is placed on the Autism Spectrum.  He’s not alone. In 2014 the CDC reported that 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 168 girls) are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.

As parents, Danny and Claire started looking into programs to build upon their son’s strengths to help him build confidence and social and emotional awareness. They couldn’t find anything outside of the doctor’s office. So, they founded T.A.C.T.

Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop.

Temple Grandin

BOARD MEMBERS

Abbey O'Loughlin

Abbey O'Loughlin

abbey@buildwithtact.org

Abbey O’Loughlin joins the T.A.C.T. Board after a lengthy tenure at the Temple Grandin School in Boulder, Colorado. Abbey’s education and passions have taken her all over the country. At Michigan State University, Abbey obtained a B.A. in Special Education then went on to Ohio State to earn her M.A. in Special Education. As Director of Socio-Academic Planning, Ms. O’Loughlin developed, deployed, and documented TGS’ curriculum and educational model which fosters a growth mindset focused on the whole student. She is a passionate educator, leader, and advocate committed to making a difference in our community. In Abbey’s spare time, hobbies include pottery, hiking, music, camping, and road trips.

Chris Boyle

Chris Boyle

christopher@buildwithtact.org

Chris Boyle has lived over 20 years in Colorado, including undergraduate studies at Colorado College and an MBA in Finance for the University of Denver.  Chris has lead and facilitated teams, projects and businesses spanning several industries, disciplines, continents and Fortune 100 to garage level startups.  Professionally creates value by orchestrating fact-driven strategies, human potential and complex systems.  Chris ran a home accessibility business and made some headway teaching his kids some trade skills on weekends.  They now teach him things like coding and digital marketing.  Chris’s involvement with TACT is a natural extension of his passion for learning, doing and human flourishing.

Kerry McCowen

Kerry McCowen

kerry@buildwithtact.org

Kerry McCowen is a Texas native with a rural background who moved to Colorado in 1976 where he has been employed in the energy business for 43 years. Mr. McCowen originally served as a volunteer for TACT, teaching in the automotive section of the organization. His grandson is on the spectrum and resides with Mr. McCowen and his wife Deb.  Having a full time child with special needs has driven him to perform much research on the disorder in order to understand and help his grandson improve. He was introduced to Danny and Claire at a TACT meeting early on where he was able to interact with Temple Grandin and volunteered to help immediately. Mr. McCowen holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Management from the University of Phoenix as well as serving in and holding the title of District Engineer in the energy business. He has been a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers for 35 years. His focus is on helping all children on the spectrum to learn skills that will serve them for a lifetime.  He is a father of two and Grandfather to his buddy Kyle.

Logan Killpack

Logan Killpack

logan@buildwithtact.org

Logan Killpack grew up in Madison, WI.  He and his wife, Megan, met at Colorado State University in 2002 and they have called Colorado home ever since.  Logan, Megan, and their 2 dogs have lived in Denver since 2005.  Logan has worked in finance since 2008. Currently, he is a financial planner with Centennial State Financial, he dedicates himself to improving his client’s financial positions and helping them establish achievable goals.  Logan finds assisting people protect their families and seeing them realize their dreams of retirement to be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.  Logan is passionate about TACT and their mission to better the lives of the community through support and education.

 

TEAM

Danny Combs

Danny Combs

Chief Executive Officer

danny@buildwithtact.org

Danny has a bit of unique background. He is a fourth-generation wood worker and mechanical tinkerer who grew up building and making things with his family.  However, he decided to follow his own path and went to Nashville to play music. He was extremely fortunate that he had a vibrant career and he worked with various platinum album selling Grammy and Oscar winning recording artists. After 10 years in the music industry he began to cultivate his passion for education. His heart for teaching lead him to leave the music industry to start teaching private lessons and run the music program at an inner-city high school in Nashville, TN. He was granted several awards in teaching, including a Grammy Enterprise Award for the program he designed in the Nashville schools, became a published educational author, arranger and songwriter. Danny has a Master’s Degree in Education, is a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist, a Certified Autism Specialist and a classic car junkie. He has two incredible children, Dylan and Ellie. When his son Dylan was diagnosed with Autism he pulled from his family legacy and put together TACT.

Amanda Therrien

Amanda Therrien

Special Education Coordinator

amanda@buildwithtact.org

A Nebraska native, Amanda moved to Denver in 2012 where she became involved in the autism community through her love of art, legos, and early childhood education. On a trip to Peru to better understand how autism is addressed globally, she realized the importance of learning a trade or skill at a young age to guarantee future independence and sustainability and the lack of services like this in the US. Around the time she graduated from University of Colorado Denver with her Masters in Education and Human Development, she discovered TACT and couldn’t wait to volunteer. Her experiences, along with the mission and the values of TACT led Amanda to join our TACT Team in July 2017 as a part time Special Education Teacher. In March 2018, she joined the team full time as the Special Education Coordinator and Skills USA Chapter Leader. She continues to advocate locally for the autism community serving on the Commission for People with Disabilities under the Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships for the City of Denver.

Becky Mershon

Becky Mershon

Chief Program Officer

becky@buildwithtact.org

Becky is a Colorado native, mother of three, Registered Nurse, Certified Autism Specialist and is currently working on her Masters in Behavior Analysis.  She is a founding board member and TACT’s Chief Program Officer.  Becky’s oldest son is on the spectrum and like many parents of children with special needs she has stopped at nothing to help him thrive.  Although there were many therapies that certainly helped her son, nothing like TACT existed so she helped start it.  She is the “go-to” person at TACT for everything from scheduling to grant writing to admissions and beyond.  Becky loves that TACT’s program instills a true sense of pride, accomplishment and practical skills in our children while focusing on what is possible for them and not on their struggles.  She works kindly and patiently with every family and coordinates all TACT programs, family services and development.

Bob Oldfield

Bob Oldfield

Automotive Services Instructor

Bob is known as “the guy” in the automotive world. He worked for 40 years as a professional mechanic at John Elway Chevrolet. He is a master mechanic and a world class chef! He has worked on just about every car imaginable and can fix anything. He became interested in TACT while looking for ways to support this grandson who has autism.

Cara Clouston

Cara Clouston

Computer Science Instructor

cara@buildwithtact.org

Cara is a veteran of the computer science world with decades of teaching experience. She worked for 15 years in the Douglas County school system and Northrump Grumman before that. TACT’s students love seeing what “Miss Cara” has in store for them each day!

Richard Gruber

Richard Gruber

Carpentry Instructor

rich@buildwithtact.org

Rich turned his attention to teaching following a nearly four decade career as a professional carpenter, cabinet and furniture maker and licensed residential remodel and design contractor. Rich taught the Building Trades Program at Ridgeview Academy and helped develop the “Apprenticeship Readiness Program” at Warren Tech. As the lead carpentry instructor at TACT, he shows great enthusiasm in showcasing this field of work to his current and future students.

Mason Ferick

Mason Ferick

Welding/Carpentry Lead Instructor

mason@buildwithtact.org

Born in the beautiful state of Vermont, Mason was constantly in the woods getting dirty, helping out his father with any project around the house, and working with his mother in the garden. Deferring from college for a year to move to Montana was a life changing experience. “What I thought I knew, and what I actually knew about the real world was drastically different.” This sparked Mason’s drive to adapt and learn in order to be successful in any facet of life. His many accomplishments include graduating with a bachelors degree in photography from The Art Institute of Colorado, cooking in a fine dining Denver restaurant, becoming a self taught designer and fabricator of custom furniture and spaces. No matter the challenge Mason is always willing to learn something new and strive to become better.  Joining the team at TACT this year is his new venture and will help him significantly in building his “unstoppable skill set”.

PARTNERS

SPONSORS

We are so grateful to our Patron Sponsors. If your organization has an interest in learning more about sponsorship, please contact us today!

We are also so thankful for the grant funds TACT has received through these incredible foundations and organizations.

VOLUNTEERS

TACT is a truly an organization FOR the Autism community, BY the Autism community. If you are ready to jump in to help us, we would appreciate support in the following areas:

  • Classroom Assistance
  • Facility Maintenance
  • Event Coordination
  • Teaching Workshops
  • Guest Speaking

Contact us if you feel lead to come Build with TACT!

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

We are happy to now offer:

  • Professional development trainings
  • Advocacy for inclusive work environments
  • Workplace consultations

Contact us for more information!

FAQ

Do you only teach individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Yes, TACT’s mission is to support the Autism community and their families.

Who are your founders?

T.A.C.T. was founded in 2016 by Danny and Claire Combs.

Do you have an office?
Yes, we are located at 2733 W. 8th Ave, Denver CO 80204. In addition to the classes that we hold there, we are also a mobile program that partners with local businesses, churches, recreation centers, families and organizations. We can come to you or a partnered location in our awesome 1958 Chevrolet Panel Truck!
What age ranges due you serve?

TACT serves ages 5-21 in a variety of different programs. Please contact us for more details.

How do clients pay for your services?

The method of payment is very individualized. However, TACT is a vendor for DVR, accepts Medicaid and school district funding under certain conditions. TACT is a PASA for supported employment and transportation. Private pay is also an option. Please contact us for more information.

Do the students get to keep everything they make?

Yes! With a few exceptions. Contact us for details!

What is your non-profit tax ID number?

TACT Kids, Inc. is a Federal 501(c)(3). Our FEIN is 81-3015819.

Can we get a tax deduction if we donate to TACT?

Yes! Please contact us for details.

We’re interested in hosting a course and partnering with you. Who do we contact?

Please contact us at tact@tactkids.org

We’d like to donate tools and supplies for your program. How do we do that?

Thank you! Please contact us first with the details of your donation so we can be on the lookout for it. Our mailing address is: TACT Kids, Inc. PO Box 11056 Denver, CO 80211

Are the projects difficult?

We teach a variety of different levels. We have patient and kind teachers. We teach tool safety first. We believe it is important for the students to respect the tools and the materials. The projects may be hard, but they’ll be rewarding and hopefully spark a lifelong interest or career.

Will the kids get dirty?

Yes and no. If they’re working on an engine – then yes. If they’re knitting a stress ball – then no. We’ll provide information upon registration about the proper attire.

Do parents need to be present?

It depends on the class you are signing up to take. Please contact us for more information.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

We offer a 48 hour cancellation policy.

My child is nonverbal, is that OK?

Absolutely. We speak with parents before the courses and we’ll make the proper arrangements to help them be successful.

Other questions?

Please contact us!