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 Dickinson CroppedMichael 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 connections 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 person’s 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 that 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, 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 Gazaway CroppedNathan 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.

Matthew Baker

Logistics Manager

Matt Baker 1 2

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

BrettFarmer E1526309182922Brett 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.