Our Team

Thousands of people suffering from alcoholism, substance abuse, and various behavioral disorders seek help every day. Finding this help can be a very frustrating experience. Our crisis response counselors at Recovery Options, our sister company, will spend the time necessary to review the treatment alternatives, whether at one of our treatment facilities or elsewhere, that will best provide you or your loved one with the help they need. So, don’t let another day go by. Contact us at 800-662-2873 and start the process towards a new life in recovery.

Officers

Richard Jackson

Richard E. Jackson

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Richard E. Jackson been a successful healthcare executive for over 40 years. Mr. Jackson joined with Mr. Dean in 1992 to start Recovery Options Corporation with a vision of helping addicts who were having a difficult time finding appropriate help. Soon realizing that there were few affordable alternatives that provided substance abuse treatment from a Christ-centered perspective, the two founded Pacific Hills in 1993 with a commitment to offer truly Christ-centered treatment in combination with a clinically sound program. Prior to founding Recovery Options and Pacific Hills, Mr. Jackson served as an executive in four healthcare companies in both private and public arenas. Mr. Jackson attended the University of Texas and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Lamar University, where he graduated with honors. Mr. Jackson is a native of Texas. He is one of the few “Normies” (as branded by his colleagues) in the company and credits the Lord for bringing him to this ministry. Mr. Jackson has been a committed Christian for over 45 years.
Susan Sloan

Susan Sloan

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Susan Sloan has been in the treatment industry for many years, serving in various administrative and management capacities. Ms. Sloan joined the Company in 2005. She is responsible for credentialing, licensing and accreditation as well as insurance contracting, billing and human resources. Susan has 4 children and 3 grandchildren. She is an accomplished triathlete and cyclist, competing when she can in local events. Susan has been active in recovery for over 20 years.
Dustin Frei

Dustin Frei

Vice President & Chief Development Officer

With nearly 20 years’ professional experience in the behavioral health industry and the current Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Covenant Hills Treatment, Dustin Frei is a driving force in the movement of high quality, ethical services across the spectrum of addiction treatment. His passion for meticulous, evidence-based, and compassionate addiction/behavioral health treatment, as well as his experience leading teams, developing marketing strategies, and driving revenue expansion—then ensuring the integration of all aspects of organizational efforts—give him distinct insight and combine to make him a exemplar, leading the way in the realms of behavioral health and addiction treatment.

Directors

Vivian Martin

Vivian Martin

Director of Business Systems

Vivian Martin has worked in the field of accounting and business administration for over 30 years. She has developed all of the database applications for the Company. A graduate of the University of Houston with a MBA, Mrs. Martin enjoys gardening, line dancing and bicycling. She and her husband have two grown daughters. She is also an active member in her church and credits prayer for her arriving at the Company’s doorstep.
Elizabeth Steele

Elizabeth Steele

Executive Director

With over 10 years of experience working in addiction treatment, Elizabeth is highly qualified to act as the executive director for Covenant Hills. With a bit of a developing role in the company, Elizabeth directly oversees the day-to-day operations and clinical programs for the women and with the men’s programs. She oversees improvements through evaluation of our current processes and procedures to ensure consistency and effectiveness. She also handles the clinical program development to ensure that our programs are dynamic, engaging, and educational.

In her own words, “I struggled with addiction throughout my teens and into early adulthood. I have been to treatment quite a bit myself, so I think it really helps me to empathize with the client experience. Going through treatment is often one of the more challenging experiences that our clients will have in their entire lives. When they aren’t internally motivated or want to leave, I understand that, because I have been there. When they can’t imagine the rest of their lives without a drink or a drug, I get it. I was also an incredibly difficult client in treatment, so I tend to have a special place in my heart for the clients who may have some behavioral issues; I always try to keep in mind that if there weren’t staff members willing to fight for me even when I was a little more rough around the edges, I likely wouldn’t be alive today.”

Elizabeth loves working with clients and families. She strongly believes that recovery should be fun and that getting sober should open doors, as opposed to closing them, so she always tries to build clinical programs that reflect these principles.

Again she says, “Bottom line, I am sick of seeing young people dying unnecessarily, and I want to help support clients in living a life beyond their wildest dreams.”

Ron Gellis, PhD

Ron Gellis, PhD

Clinical Director

With a history of over 41 years in the addiction treatment field, Ron’s experience is vast. He directed treatment in a drug rehab prison; he was a clinical psychologist in the Navy; he supervised treatment at the Naval Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (NDRC) and the Naval Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (NARC); he trained counselors at the Naval Drug & Alcohol Counseling School (NDACS) for the Navy’s worldwide network of Chemical Abuse Counseling Centers (CACC’s); he started (from scratch) Chemical dependence units for CompCare, National Medical Enterprises, and for his own private practice.

He is a forensic psychologist providing treatment alternatives for alcoholics and addicts in lieu of incarceration where criminal offenses are an issue. He also does custody and marital mediation, works as a sports neuropsychologist, and Chairs the Faith Based Working Group for the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative (OCVMFC).

With Covenant Hills he works as a screener for those individuals with challenging co-occurring disorders or who may present with history of or current suicidal ideation and/or attempts—providing particular involvement with first responders, veterans, and others with trauma associated with their addiction. As well he participates in clinical planning of clients, offers groups, and individual counseling.

James Croley

Director

James Croley has been involved in Pacific Hills from its inception in various capacities. Mr. Croley graduated from Lamar University with a business degree and has over 40 years of experience in construction and healthcare management. Mr. Croley brings a wealth of experience to all areas of operations and marketing. Along with his responsibilities within the company, he and Tana have a true compassion to help those that are suffering from the disease of addiction.

Managers

Logan Bennet

Logan Bennett

Intake Manager

Logan Bennett is the Intake Manager for Covenant Hills and has been with us since 2012. Logan attended Arizona State University, where he studied architectural design. He is an alumnus of the Company’s treatment program and brings a special understanding of the difficulties college life presents on those who suffer with addiction. Logan has helped countless families over the course of his time with us.
Mary L. Fisher, LPT

Mary L. Fisher, LPT

Utilization Management and Nurse

As the Covenant Hills utilization nurse, Mary obtains authorization at the highest level of care possible based on medical necessity. She works closely with the clinical team and the insurance companies case managers in tandem to ensure quality care. She passionately encourages the ongoing relationships with our administration, our treatment team, and insurance case managers to ensure that Covenant Hills continues to provide the highest level of care for clients utilizing their insurance benefits.

Mary has been involved in Behavioral Health industry since 1985. She has worked in hospital-based detox and treatment for addiction. As well, she’s worked with the elderly addicted and mentally ill in underserved communities in California, Florida, Arizona, and Oregon managing a Health and Wellness Program providing resources for treatment. Beyond that, she managed a team of providers that helped the stabilization of patients with co-morbid diagnosis utilizing a multitude of resources.

Understanding that recovery is a process of transformation and those struggling with addiction are separated from God, she is particularly inspired by Covenant Hills utilizing a God centered approach to addiction treatment. She holds herself accountable daily to her own program of recovery and her relationship with God.

Cody Crawford

Cody Crawford

Resident Manager Supervisor / Office Manager

Cody is the Resident Manager Supervisor at Covenant Hills men’s residential treatment center in San Clemente, CA. The responsibilities that come with include supervising the resident managers and working alongside the program director and transportation director, making sure they have what they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.

Cody is passionate about producing a high-quality of work. Not interested in half measures, he puts his all into everything he does. His dedication to the treatment field finds its origins in his personal experience in treatment where he was given the help he needed. He believes in returning that to the clients that he works with.

Covenant Hills Addiction Treatment team

Blair Jackson

Office Manager

Bio Coming Soon
Shanae Santibanez

Shanae Santibanez

Office Manager

Bio Coming Soon
Pooya Omshehe

Pooya Omshehe

Insurance Specialist

With over a decade of experience working in the field of recovery, Pooya is responsible for all revenue cycle functions in support of the company mission, vision, and goals. She has been the director of billing & collections and has a vast knowledge of insurance rules and regulations within major payers.

She loves to be able to give back in a way that helps and supports the families she works with.

Bruce Stewart

Transportation Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon

Treatment Staff

Ed Volk

Ed Volk, MA, LMFT, LAADC

Therapist

Ed Volk is the Therapist at the Company’s men’s treatment facility in San Clemente. Ed Volk is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with an advanced certification in addiction treatment, Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (LAADC). Ed received his BA and MA from Wheaton College. He has worked in the field for over 20 years and has worked as a clinician on the administrative side overseeing and developing programs. Ed is certified in Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Seeking Safety. He is also a member of the Orange County, CA Trauma Response Team and has interned at Saddleback Church in the Counseling Dept. Ed has a personal and professional expertise in the field of addiction. He believes in the restorative power of the recovery process with the individual and the family.
Heather Schwartz

Heather Schwartz

Primary Therapist

According to Heather, the greatest pleasure of being the primary therapist at Covenant Hills women’s facility is watching the beautiful evolution of change in others. She remains “ridiculously passionate” about the work she does on a daily basis, which includes being an integral part of the multi-disciplinary treatment team providing individual, group, and family therapy, as well as formulating unique and specific treatment plans of each resident.

Her educational background includes a BS in pastoral ministries and psychology (Vanguard University) and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology (Vanguard University). She is also a California licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified eating disorder specialist, and is EMDR certified.

She educates from the efficacy of positive interventions and believes that everyone gets stuck once in a while, but she maintains that “it’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

jennifer Filipowicz

Jennifer Pappas, RADT-I

Case Manager

Jennifer started working as a receptionist and worked her way up from insurance verification and Utilization Reviewer/Biller. After completing her alcohol and drug studies in 2018, she became a Case Manager at the CH Women’s facility.

Her role at Covenant Hills finds her assessing the needs, goals, and preferences of the clients. She participates in the planning and presentation of didactic/education groups, assist clients in achieving their treatment plan objectives, provides professional referrals for medical, and offers other services post-treatment.

As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, she is able to relate to the pain of what the women are experiencing. As a transformed woman, herself, she is able to share her hope and faith in God, which gives her the opportunity to feel the Holy Spirit work through her to help the women who walk through the doors of Covenant Hills.

She cares most about seeing the ladies walk through the doors, broken and run down, then witnessing the transformation—seeing them smile and feel good about themselves again. She feels a particular mission in this field and feels God has called her to Covenant Hills.

Bruce McMeekin

Bruce McMeekin, CADC-I

Case Manager

Bruce McMeekin is a Case Manager at the Company’s men’s treatment facility in San Clemente. He earned his Associates degrees in Social Behavioral Studies and Alcohol & Drug Studies. Bruce has a CADC-I certification. He has worked extensively with chemically dependent individuals from young adults through older adult populations, utilizing both individual and group counseling. Bruce brings many years of life experiences, knowledge and training, as well as compassion and empathy needed to provide the necessary tools for success in the program.
Judie Merrow

Judie Merrow, CADC-II

Case Manager

Judie Merrow is a Case Manager at the Company’s women’s treatment facility in Dana Point. Judie has been with the Company serving in various capacities since 2009. She has been a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous since 1996 and is an extremely valuable member of the treatment team, with a wealth of experience and caring disposition. Judie is a Certified Alcoholic and Drug Counselor, having attended both Saddleback College and Training Institute for Addiction Counselors. Judie has been with her husband for 28 years and has 1 son and 6 grandkids that light up her life.

Bob Sears, Ordained Minister, CADC-II

Pastoral Counselor

Bob Sears is a Pastoral Counselor at the Company’s men’s treatment facility in San Clemente. He has a CADC-II certification. Bob Sears has over 12 years of experience in the treatment industry. Bob has served as Associate Pastor at two Evangelical Free Churches in California. A university graduate with a Master’s degree in Divinity, Bob has opted to carry out God’s work on a more personal level over the past two years by tending to the men of Covenant Hills.

He loves people and enjoys working with and serving others. Michael believes we were built for relationship and too often men have learned or have become disconnected and isolated from that.

Carice Blazo

Carice Blazo, Ordained Minister

Pastoral Counselor

Carice Blazo is the Pastoral Counselor at our women's treatment facility in Dana Point. Carice is an ordained minister and holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, Addictions and Recovery. Formerly, as a regional director at Christian non-profit educational organization, Carice has experience discipling, training, and equipping individuals and groups in their educational and spiritual journeys. Her roles in the recovery field include administration, group facilitation, spiritual leadership and counseling.

Carice loves to guide clients in transformational spiritual recovery by facilitating Christ-centered lessons, one-on-one counseling, prayer, evidence-based recovery interventions, and 12-Step principles. Carice provides a grace-filled and comforting environment for clients.

Jeremiah Wright

Jeremiah Wright

Pastoral Counselor, Case Manager

Jeremiah has been around addiction treatment nearly two decades supporting and inspiring men to find sanity and sobriety. He is currently the men’s home pastoral counselor where he helps individuals resolve spiritual conflicts to allow them to have a more meaningful relationship with God. He also serves as a case manager and works to educate and help clients walk through the recovery process. He has worked for Teen Challenge International and served as an Associate Pastor for many years. He currently holds a degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling and is ordained through the International Christian Ministers Association.
Michael Felton

Michael Felten

Case Manager & Clinical Intern

As the case manager and clinical intern at the men’s residential facility, Michael supports clients as a case manager and facilitates/teaches group therapy sessions. As an intern, he provides counseling to clients under the supervision of the staff therapist.

Michael received his B.A. from Chapman University, in English and worked as a professional journalist, utilizing observation, writing and interviewing skills. He received his M.A. from Concordia University Townsend Institute in Counseling.

Previously, Michael has worked as a case manager for a non-profit organization that assisted people with disabilities and was in City government where he provided case management, inspections, interviewing, and crisis intervention. Beyond that, he also has three years’ experience teaching in church and public school settings.

He loves people and enjoys working with and serving others. Michael believes we were built for relationship and too often men have learned or have become disconnected and isolated from that.

Outreach

Mike Robertson

Mike Robertson

Outreach

Mike Robertson is an established authority in the substance use disorder field. He brings a deep understanding of SUD, process addictions, and mental health issues to the field. Beyond that, his intimate knowledge of the community, treatment centers, various programs, and wilderness and therapeutic schools (and more), make him an invaluable pillar of the organization.
Benjamin Fucanan

Benjamin Fucanan

Outreach Manager Southern California

“Bringing hope to those in despair.”

Benji has been the Outreach Manager for Covenant Hills addiction treatment center in Orange County California for over three years. He sees his role as offering an accessible bridge to recovery to those suffering from substance use disorder. His personal journey with recovery, as well as his experience as a detox technician, has given him crucial insight into the causes, consequences, and processes of recovery from addiction.

Jennifer Sawyer

Jennifer Sawyer

Admissions

“Bringing hope to those in despair.”

Benji has been the Outreach Manager for Covenant Hills addiction treatment center in Orange County California for over three years. He sees his role as offering an accessible bridge to recovery to those suffering from substance use disorder. His personal journey with recovery, as well as his experience as a detox technician, has given him crucial insight into the causes, consequences, and processes of recovery from addiction.

Jeret Vallerino

Jeret Vallerino

Admissions

Bio Coming Soon
Eddie Lysen

Eddie Lysen

Admissions Coordinator

Eddie Lysen works in the admissions department at our corporate office where he works through the entire admissions process with families and clients. That ranges everything from engaging through the initial phone calls of individuals looking for addiction treatment, going over the program, explaining insurance/finances, coordinating detox, transportation, and pre assessment for admission for treatment.

Having had the experience of recovery himself, he is able to share his story in hopes of helping others. This also gives him particular insight on truly understanding where addition can take someone and how hard it can be asking for help.

Previously Eddie worked as a house manager for Covenant Hills where he was able to work face to face with the clients and over the years developed a sense of how things work at the treatment level.

Ultimately Eddie is most interested in helping lift others out of addiction to give them a new hope in life—in the same way that it was done for him.