Without a hard working, dedicated operations team, how would anything get done at Red Oak Recovery? With qualified addiction recovery and program guides, facilities managers, life skills facilitators, and gardens and grounds keepers, they keep our facility up and running while maintaining its serene beauty.

Michael Dickinson, BS

Director of Operations

Michael brings over 20 years of business and managerial experience to his role at Red Oak Recovery®, in the fields of both martial arts and construction. Michael’s extensive background in construction lends itself well to his responsibilities to maintain and improve the beautiful Red Oak campus. He earned his degree in psychology with a minor in education, which dovetails well with the work he does with the clients at Red Oak. Michael is very skilled at building connection with people, in the community and with clients alike. His compassionate nature aligns well with the recovery world, by providing support, mentorship, and a powerful example of owning one’s own story. Through his own struggles with substance abuse, he discovered the power of martial arts concepts and ideology to be a very useful tool in recovery. Michael has found that no matter the persons background their ability to connect with body, mind and spirit is paramount in recovery. His ability to meet people where they are in life and help them move forward in a healthy sustainable way has prepared him to work in this field.

Michael’s personal art is Taekwondo, in which he is a Fourth Degree Black Belt. He does individual and group sessions with clients at Red Oak, mainly focusing on jiu jitsu. He leads a weekly Recovery Warrior group explores the concepts and ideas of mindfulness, martial arts, and recovery. In these sessions, Michael is keen to focus on the mindfulness component that martial arts brings to the work of recovery.

He also works directly with clients who might have an interest in hands-on work by creating service projects, woodcraft projects, and other construction related activities. Examples of client projects include chessboards, paddles, and keepsake boxes.

In his free time, Michael enjoys being with his wife and two daughters (who are in high school and college) and his five dogs. He also enjoys playing and writing music and any sport available to him.

Nathan Gazaway, CADC-I

Director of Client Services

Nathan is originally from the Atlanta, GA area and arrived in Western North Carolina seeking relief from a debilitating drug addiction. It was in these mountains where Nathan found new purpose and the desire to separate from all that had defined his life previously. Nathan brings his hard-won recovery to his position at Red Oak Recovery and knows he has been exactly where all Red Oak Recovery clients have been: in the same hopelessness and futility of trying to get clean on their own and failing. Nathan is thankful to be one of the lucky few to have the opportunity to get clean in a treatment facility, and this experience led him to serve in the field of recovery in roles as direct care, management at both transitionary and primary treatment facilities, and adventure programing. Nathan truly believes in the healing power of the natural world and brings an intense desire to respect and protect the mountains of Western North Carolina. This desire compelled him to achieve the title of Leave No Trace Master Educator as well as Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Intern.

Nathan’s mother is also active in her own recovery community, supporting those with addicted children and offering her experience to those in the destructive wake of the addict. In his spare time, Nathan loves to hike and explore the Great Smoky Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest with his therapy dog Ellie May. He enjoys woodworking, playing sports, and working on motorcycles. He also spends much of his time working with and mentoring other young men in recovery that may be seeking help from the 12-step community.

Kandace Coates, BA, CADC

Program Director

Kandace has been working in the field of addictions and mental health since 2016. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Mars Hill University. She is in the final stages of completing her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She has worked with children and adolescents, in a psychiatric hospital, and in public and private substance treatment. During her time working in the field, she has developed a passion for maintaining a role dedicated to programmatic standards, day-to-day functioning, and ensuring each individual served is receiving relevant holistic care. Kandace takes pride in her experience with State and CARF standards. Kandace is dedicated to remaining diverse and updated on approaches to ensure evidence based healing can happen.

Kandace is therapeutically grounded in Motivational Interviewing. However, she knows recovery is not a one size fits all process and must be tailored to each individual and family served. She prides herself in viewing the individual served as a whole entity as opposed to a diagnosis and hopes to work on healing in all aspects.

She is a native to Western North Carolina and has remained a local. Kandace is dedicated to her community and increasing the access, knowledge, and education surrounding substance use to reduce the stigma and promote the availability of services. Kandace has seen first hand the impact that substance use plays on a family system and within a community.

In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband, daughter, and their dog, Buddy. Kandace enjoys sports and community involvement for youth league activities.

Carson Evans, NREMT

Program Manager

Program Manager
After spending some time as a recreational backpacking guide in the beautiful state of Colorado, Carson wanted to combine her love of the wilderness with her passion for mental healthcare. Carson started at Red Oak Recovery® as a Recovery Guide in the summer of 2017. Over the years, Carson has served the Red Oak community in many different roles, including Team Lead, Facilities Assistant, Medical Services Coordinator, and presently serves as the Program Manager.

Carson is very committed to the mission at Red Oak Recovery® and her passion for the work, along with her tremendous work ethic, have earned her multiple awards within the company, including The Spirit of Red Oak Award for 2021.

Carson feels strongly about a holistic approach to medicine, and appreciates the opportunity to care for our clients during their best and their worst days. While on-campus, you can also find her helping with facilities, working to keep our campus looking its best. In her free time, you’ll find Carson running, rock climbing, or hanging with her dog, Rhett.

Matthew Baker

Logistics Manager

Matthew is a Western North Carolina native. Having spent his entire adult life in Asheville, he found the healing power of nature and the mountains that was needed to set his compass for a life worth living. Matthew brings in his experiences of being a recovery guide for four years at Red Oak Recovery®, as well as time spent working with adolescent teens in wilderness therapy and working for a nonprofit wilderness conservation group.

His experience working in wilderness conservation and trail maintenance is where Matthew learned how to heal in nature and find purpose after years of stagnation and loss of direction. He was able to transfer this newfound energy and identity to Guiding and instructing in Wilderness therapy, where he spent more than four years in the field. In his time guiding, Matthew brought Red Oak Recovery® clients to many places in the mountains that were trying, but rewarding, and always tried to provide a space to be like a young kid discovering the woods for the first time. 

In Matthew’s spare time, you can most likely find him anywhere from 10-300 feet up the side of a cliff rock climbing somewhere. He also enjoys backpacking trips with his partner and dog, volunteering for trail days in Pisgah, stomping his feet to any band with a banjo, and exploring remote areas off the map.

Brett Farmer

Facilities Manager

Brett is a longtime resident of Western North Carolina. After graduating high school in Northern Virginia, he returned to the mountains where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University.

He enjoys working with his hands and has many years of experience working in the facilities maintenance field. His time working for a nonprofit organization has taught him the importance of helping others.

He stays grounded by working in his daylily nursery and spending time with his wife Olga.