Prior to the launch of Alpha 180™, Bob Ferguson has served as founder and CEO of Jaywalker Lodge since 2004. Jaywalker Lodge is an extended care residential treatment and recovery community for men located in Carbondale, CO. Before that, Bob served for over 10 years in senior management positions at a number of the leading treatment providers in the addiction & recovery field including: Jaywalker Lodge, Promises Treatment Centers, Crossroads Antigua, and the Hazelden Foundation.
In addition, Bob has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) since 2011. He is currently beginning his second two-year term on the Executive Committee, serving as Secretary for the NAATP Board. Bob also serves as Chairman of the Board for A Way Out, an Aspen-based 501c3 providing crisis referrals and treatment scholarships for families and residents in Western Colorado.
Bob divides his time between Austin, TX and his home in Snowmass Village where he lives with his wife and two college-aged kids. When he’s not at Alpha 180, Bob stays busy as a grateful participant in his own recovery from addiction, which began – one day at a time – on Feb. 12, 1992.
NICO DOORN, M.Ed
My name is Nico Doorn and I serve as the Executive Director at Alpha 180. I was born in the Netherlands, but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina before finding recovery in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education in Human Development Studies with a focus on Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I have a decade of experience working with young adults in recovery from substance use and mental health from residential treatment, recovery residences, and collegiate recovery programs in both client care and business roles. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, running and playing disc golf.
WES WARD, MBA
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Wes’s experience in recovery began in October 2005. After going to a treatment program, he got involved with a recovery community and began to rebuild his life. He acquired his Bachelor degree from Schreiner University in Kerrville. Wes enjoyed college and the inspirational environment it provided. He moved to Austin to attend Texas State University and graduated with his Master of Business Administration. He has worked in the addiction treatment field in both direct care and operations roles, and has a passion for helping individuals in recovery improve their lives. Wes lives in Austin with his wife Veronica. He enjoys reading, hiking, and building things.
WILL CROSSWELL, LCSW, LCDC
My name is Will Crosswell and I serve as the Clinical Director at Alpha 180. I was born in Houston, Texas and attended Southern Methodist University for my undergraduate degree, then University of Texas at San Antonio to earn my Master of Social Work. I was formerly the Program Director at another treatment center, then found my calling with Alpha 180 where I have been for 2 years. In my free time, I enjoy traveling to seeing live music, playing guitar and traveling.
MORGAN SHINGLE, LMSW
My name is Morgan Shingle and I serve as a Primary Therapist at Alpha 180. I’m originally from Missoula, MT. and have moved all over the place including Washington, California, Mexico and now Austin, Texas. I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and an LMSW. I was the Chief Product Officer of a yoga company where I learned how to lead and help others heal through a holistic, somatic lens. I did volunteer work in San Francisco for a few years where I worked with people who had a dual diagnosis, then I interned at the Counseling and Mental Health Center at University of Texas, which has now led me to working with Alpha 180. In my free time, I enjoy yoga, reading, being outside, watercolor painting and my cat.
Amy Alden, LCDCI
Family Recovery Specialist
My name is Amy Alden and I serve as the Family Recovery Specialist at Alpha 180. I am originally from Georgia and moved to Austin in 2012. I am a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern and have served in numerous roles throughout my career including as a Counselor, working in admissions and as a Family Services Manager. My passion is working with families, which is what drew me to my role at Alpha 180. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, kayaking, connecting with friends and family and playing with my dogs.
HANNAH WEEKS, M.Ed., NCC
Academic Recovery Support Liaison
My name is Hannah Weeks and I serve as the Academic Recovery Support Liaison at Alpha 180. I am originally from Madison, Mississippi and now reside in Austin, Texas. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Mississippi. I have worked for various treatment centers in the past and found my calling to work with Alpha 180. In my free time, I enjoy painting, hiking, fishing and water sports.
My name is Brian Walker and I serve as the Residential Director at Alpha 180. I am originally from Southern California and moved to Texas 8 years ago. I am currently a student at Austin Community College. I have worked in various substance use facilities in the past and decided that Alpha 180 aligned with me, so I transitioned into this role. In my free time I enjoy running, weightlifting and going to the sauna.
My name is Jared Dean. I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and moved to Texas to get sober in early 2019. I am planning to go back to school in the spring semester to earn my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. As a Residential Technician, I support the students in their recovery and life goals. In my free time I enjoy boxing and graphic design.
My name is Nathan Vardeleon, and I serve as a Resident Advisor at Alpha 180. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, but moved to Austin in 2017 to seek help for my substance use disorder. After my initial enrollment into treatment, the following years of my life were life changing. I am now a senior undergraduate student at St. Edward’s University majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience. My short-term goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree, and my long-term goal is to earn a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience and devote my research to addiction. In my free time, I enjoy staying active. I love tennis, running, lifting weights, and yoga.
My name is Will Hennessey and I serve as a House Manager at Alpha 180. I’m originally from New York, New York, but reside in Austin, Texas as a student now. I am currently a student at Austin Community College studying Psychology and have applied to The University of Texas at Austin and St. Edwards University in their Social Work programs. I got my start in recovery working as a Server but was drawn to Alpha 180 to serve others. In my free time, I enjoy yoga, outdoor activities, Italian food and reading good books with coffee
Community Operations Coordinator
My name is Ryne Linkowski and I serve as the Community Operations Coordinator at Alpha 180. I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but have found home in Austin, Texas. I formerly worked in various roles in direct care and admissions at another facility from the time I got into recovery, to the time that I came over to Alpha 180. In my free time I enjoy working out, being outdoors, video games and drinking coffee.
My name is Andres Contreras and I serve as the Operations Administrator at Alpha 180. I am originally from Houston, Texas and moved to Austin to get sober in August of 2018. I started my career in the field of recovery as a sober house manager. I gained a year of experience in that role before I decided to come to Alpha 180. I am also finishing my BBA in Entrepreneurship at St. Edward’s University. Some of my hobbies include; yoga, hiking, cooking, and traveling.
Admissions and Outreach Coordinator
My name is Andrew Warren and I serve as the Outreach and Admissions Coordinator at Alpha 180. I was born in California and grew up in Southern California. I am currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Human Dimensions of Organizations and minoring in Business. I previously worked in direct client care at Alpha 180, but found my true passion was working with families and developing the program. In my free time, I love playing golf, running and watching shows on HBO.
Admissions and Outreach Coordinator
My name is Joseph Martin and I serve as Outreach and Admissions Coordinator at Alpha 180. I was born and raised in Austin, TX. I have an extensive background in technology sales, alongside part-time work for a local Alternative Peer Group (APG) as a Program Director. I wanted to make a transition full time in this field into this field to make an active difference in people’s lives with an organization I was aligned with. As an alumnus of the program, I found my way to Alpha 180. In my free time I like to peruse art museums, work on my car and enjoy volunteering for local non-profits.
Director of Recovery Outcomes
My name is John Ingham, and I serve as the Director of Recovery Outcomes at Alpha 180. I was born and raised in Colorado, but after moving around the country to a few different states, I decided that Austin is home. I started working in recovery during my first year of recovery as a sober living house manager. After discovering that wasn’t my path, I found another opportunity working for a sober high school, which is where I found my community. After leaving the high school, I gained experience at multiple other organizations and learned new skills, but also learned a lot about what type of organization I wanted to be a part of, which is what lead me to Alpha 180. What I like to do in my free time is art and riding my motorcycle.
JC SHAKESPEARE, LPC-S
JC Shakespeare, LPC-S has worked for over a decade in schools, treatment centers, IOP programs and in private practice, delivering compassionate counseling through a trauma-informed lens. JC believes that the human emotional system holds the key to healing and recovery; learning to identify, connect with, and regulate emotions leads to resilience and clarity. Through modes of treatment like EMDR, somatic psychotherapy, and mindfulness JC helps clients unblock old emotional pain and enter into a more vibrant, connected sense of self. JC has lived in Austin for 25 years. He has three daughters, and enjoys writing, bad golf and good movies.
LAUREN BAJWA M.ED.
Lead Educational Specialist
Lauren is founder and owner of Boutique Educational Services. After getting her masters degree in special education from The University of Texas at Austin, Lauren taught Special Education in AISD, where she helped coordinate the work of teachers, paraprofessionals, and related personnel in order to meet the individual needs of Special Education students. During that time she designed and implemented Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and attended Academic Language Therapy training, a systematic dyslexia remediation program. In addition to teaching, Lauren has experience consulting with program directors in private and independent schools, helping them develop best practice methods when identifying and accommodating students.
Currently, Lauren specializes in helping families prioritize next steps when their child is struggling emotionally, academically, or behaviorally. Lauren’s practice focuses on school avoidant children, particularly those struggling with debilitating anxiety and other related mental health challenges. Lauren is humbled by her own three vivacious daughters, and has a deep appreciation for the parenting experience. Lauren loves reading aloud to her girls, walking her dog, and cooking with her husband. She serves on the board at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School and Generation SERVE and is a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. Lauren also represents children’s best interests in family law cases as a Guardian Ad Litem in Travis County.
CARY FYFE, M.S.ED.
Cary earned her M.S.Ed. from UCLA in Bilingual Early Childhood and Elementary Education, but she maintains that the richest part of her learning sprang from the unique educational experiences of her two sons, as each navigated his way through public, private and home school environments. The learning continues as each son enters young adulthood, and her work with children is highly inspired by a combination of her years of teaching in Early Childhood, her work as a Child Life Specialist, and the educational journey of each of her sons. She is passionate about supporting and nurturing the unique abilities of each student she encounters, and she delights in the gems of wisdom that each child brings her way.
Steve’s passion is working with families of students to ensure an appropriate and meaningful education for their children. He is known for his collaborative spirit in working with families, principals, campus staff and community agencies and has over forty years of experience in the field of Special Education. He received his B.S. in Special Education from Texas State University, then taught in Austin ISD for twelve years, where he served students with various, significant challenges. Steve then earned both his Master’s degree in Special Education, and post-graduate certification in Mid-Management and Educational Leadership from the University of Texas.
Steve served as Assistant Principal and Principal of Rosedale School in Austin ISD. In that role, he helped develop the Family Support Cooperative, a collaborative designed to inform and support families of students with special needs. Later, as Assistant Director of Special Education for AISD, he led Special Education mediations, advocating that students with disabilities experience inclusion in meaningful educational and social environments. He also served as a member of the Children’s Partnership in Travis County, supporting parents and families of children with mental health challenges in securing quality intervention. After retiring from AISD, Steve became a Special Education Program Specialist and Consultant at Texas Education Agency. For ten years, he helped districts create more inclusive settings for students with disabilities, and hence improve student outcomes.
Steve and his wife Kathie have three adult children and four beautiful grandchildren. Gracie, their youngest grandchild was born prematurely, and her neo-natal experience and subsequent progress has inspired Steve to once again work directly with children and families.
Mike’s interest in working with students with learning differences and special needs began in high school when he volunteered at a school which served this population of students. After graduating with his B.A. in Psychology from Dickinson College in 2000, Mike moved to Boston and taught at a therapeutic school for students with special emotional, behavioral, and academic needs. After several years of teaching in Boston, Mike moved to Australia to expand his global experience and to appease his love for traveling at the same time. Upon returning to the States, Mike taught Language Arts to middle school students with special needs and learning differences, in St. Louis. While in this setting he also had the opportunity to coach boys’ and girls’ high school tennis. During these years, Mike earned his Masters of Special Education from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 2007. After Mike and his wife moved to Austin, he began working at a school for students with dyslexia. Over those 13 years, where he specialized in teaching World Cultures and History, he gained invaluable experience teaching students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing, executive functioning, and other learning challenges. Mike’s passions within education include helping students with a wide variety of learning differences reach their full potential, individualized writing instruction, and executive functioning coaching. Mike’s own journey as a parent of school-aged children has only further validated his passion for working collaboratively with parents to help students feel more confident and successful.
Tania Prizio graduated from American University with a BA in Journalism and Literature. After graduation she explored various paths, such as helping to open a coffee shop, and freelance writing. Tania was inspired to pursue a teaching degree after a trip to Nepal, where she volunteered at Namaste Children’s House, which serves orphaned children. Upon moving to New York City, she became an AmeriCorp New York City Teaching Fellow, and pursued her MSEd in Special Education from Brooklyn College. She then began her work as a Special Education math teacher in a specialized district of New York City that serves incarcerated students. It was here that Tania’s passion for working with at-risk youth was ignited, and continued this work at Talent Unlimited High School in New York City, where she taught Study Skills, Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II. At TUHS, Tania also served as a Special Education liaison, as well as 504 and Transition Coordinator: all roles which nurtured her knowledge about and experience with the IEP and 504 process, and strengthened her skill in advocating for services for students. Tania continued with her education at Hunter College, where she received her MSEd in Literacy Education; she has worked with students with learning disabilities ranging from dyslexia, speech and language impairments and autism. For Tania, the most important aspect of being an educator is having the opportunity to be a constant learner. With this mindset as her beacon, she strives to meet the needs of students in all aspects of learning. As a math teacher with a passion for literacy, Tania infuses these skills into her math instruction to support students with word problems, planning and executing multi-step problems, and globalizing inference and analytical skills. She holds a Special Education License in both New York and Texas, as well as a Reading Specialist license in New York.
Trevor graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with a B.A. in Communications Studies and Public Relations. He later completed the Alternative Certification of Texas-Austin program, with a specific focus on reading, instructional strategies and foundations for effective teaching. During high school, Trevor participated in the Capstone Project, where he helped children with reading difficulties integrate into the classroom. This unique experience sparked his interest in teaching, so he went on to become a STEM After-School Instructor for J.J. Pickle Elementary in Austin. After receiving his certification, he worked as a substitute teacher in AISD, and tutored students in math, science and reading comprehension. Trevor’s classroom teaching experience has been further enriched by his skills in outdoor leadership and education. He served as Director of the Counselor-in-Training Program at Echo Hill Ranch, where he trained adolescents in the development and implementation of leadership skills in an outdoor environment. Aside but not apart from his work with children and adolescents, Trevor is a guitar and music theory instructor, and he recognizes the value of supporting students through music in their educational journeys. Trevor’s strong and varied background in teaching, outdoor skills and music, coupled with his passion for supporting students in the discovery of their authentic gifts, richly colors his work with each individual student.
SAMANTHA BLOOM FRIEDMAN
Samantha is a passionate, certified educator. After completing her MAT in Chicago, Samantha taught in high-need communities and schools. Her students continue
to inspire her every day. She has taught in both General and Special Education settings, as well as adult learners. Samantha has worked with students with a wide range of behavioral/learning needs and styles. She excels at building relationships and creating
a classroom community of caring, engaged, and globally-conscious citizens. Samantha strives for educational equity among student populations. She has also worked with clients in the mental health court, as well as with clients with substance abuse history
and cooccurring mental illness through Austin’s Mental Health authority and Integral Care. Samantha loves working with students to build their confidence, and she enjoys finding ways to make material fun and meaningful for each individual. Having experienced the challenge of her own learning disability growing up, Samantha possesses an innate ability to connect with struggling learners. She delights in leading students towards growth in confidence and intrinsic motivation, and towards setting and following through with personal and academic goals. She strives to instill a love of learning for a lifetime! In her free time, Samantha works with Generation Serve, leading volunteer activities for families, and spending time outside with her family. Her hobbies include training her (very energetic) puppy, hanging out at the library, hiking on the Greenbelt, visiting her family, and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen.