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.

Nathan Gazaway, CADC-I

Operations Director

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.

Doug Carter, CADC, WFR

Program Manager

Doug moved to Asheville from Maryland’s Eastern shore to pursue a career in wilderness and adventure therapy. His background encompasses restaurant management, agriculture, equine therapy, environmental literacy, and outdoor education. Before serving as Program Manager, he spent three years as a Recovery Guide for Red Oak Recovery. Doug is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington College with degrees in English and Art History; upon graduating, he was a finalist for the Sophie Kerr Prize, the nation’s largest literary award for undergraduate creative writing.


One of Doug’s passions is teaching others how to cultivate the resources necessary to evolve as individual members of a team. Discovering value in varying perspectives, as well as fostering effective communication skills, propels his mission to enhance client and employee culture in the Red Oak community. His continuing education as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor has led him to incorporate self-inquiry, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and spiritual awareness in his professional and personal life.


At home, Doug finds himself fermenting food, tending to plants, reading, writing, and exploring the natural world. His belief in the connection of mental and physical health has inspired him to unify a practice of running, yoga, meditation, and high-intensity interval training. If not immersed in a hobby, Doug spends his time sitting by a fire under the stars with his partner.

Brian Ahern

Field Manager

Brian is a native of New England and his love of the outdoors has led him to a long and rewarding career in outdoor education, with specializations in hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, scuba, and whitewater rafting. After studying Adventure Leadership in college, Brian embarked on an 11-year career with a prominent experiential education company where he was able to share his passion for outdoor adventure with at-risk and adjudicated youth and emerging adult populations.

In addition, Brian partnered with universities to develop multiple semester programs in Central America, with highlights including service-based projects in remote local villages, scuba trips off the shores of Panama, and whitewater rescue in Costa Rica. Brian looks forward to bringing his skills and experience in the outdoors to Red Oak Recovery®’s adventure therapy program.

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.