Admissions: 828.275.1319

Our Staff

Derek Engelhardt, CPSS

Owner, Operations

Derek, a native of suburban Nashville, TN, moved to western North Carolina in 2011.  He joined the Oak Tree team in June of 2013, and can’t imagine doing anything else for a career.  Derek is currently a Certified Peer Support Specialist in North Carolina and plans to become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.  Maintaining his own personal recovery has afforded Derek a life beyond his wildest dreams. Those dreams have very little to do with material possessions, but more importantly, a sense of serenity and peace. It is his mission to help all of the residents at Oak Tree achieve this by developing mutual trust and respect.  He works tirelessly with each resident and their family, as well as local alumni.  Derek currently resides in Canton, NC with his three children. In September, 2017, Derek and his best friend Ryan purchased Oak Tree Recovery Homes from Founder Jon Clarke.  They are commited to continuing the loving spirit and tradition of care that has helped hundreds of young men recover at the Oak Tree.

Ryan Mitchiner, QSAP, CSAC-R

Owner, Admissions

Ryan, a native Georgian, graduated with honors from UGA in 2003 and began his career with an architecture firm in Atlanta.  After struggling for a decade with substance abuse, he completed inpatient treatment in Georgia and moved to Asheville to continue his personal recovery in January, 2013.  Ryan began working at the Oak Tree in June of that year as a House Manager.  As Oak Tree Recovery grew, he accepted the role of Administrative and Marketing Director in October, 2014.  Ryan is also responsible for the intake and orientation process, and is one of the first people each resident and family meet when they arrive at the Oak Tree.  He is immersed in the Asheville recovery community and has a contagious passion for helping others.  In his spare time, Ryan volunteers in outreach through his local church and enjoys hiking with his dog Ryder, back-packing, and biking the beautiful, surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.  In September, 2017, Ryan and his best friend Derek purchased Oak Tree Recovery Homes from Founder Jon Clarke.  They are commited to continuing the loving spirit and tradition of care that has helped hundreds of young men recover at the Oak Tree.

Julia Popowski, M.Ed., LPCA, LCASA

Director of Client Services

Julia fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains when she moved to Boone and attended Appalachian State University to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  She then moved to South Georgia to earn her Master’s degree in Counseling Education from Georgia Southern University.  While in Statesboro, she felt called back to the Blue Ridge Mountains and made her way up to Asheville in 2015 after graduating.


Julia feels passionately about walking beside people through the healing process. Her experience includes working with those with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders in residential, wilderness, and outpatient settings. In her clinical approach, Julia utilizes a client-centered, strength-based model that draws heavily on mindfulness, somatic, and experiential practices to promote safety in the client’s environment.  Julia is committed to help build a safe, secure therapeutic alliance that cultivates growth and recovery and removes barriers to change caused by habitual patterns the brain uses for survival.


In her spare time, Julia can be found taking advantage of all the music and culture Asheville has to offer, practicing yoga, and enjoying the great outdoors with her dog, Kaya.


Therapy Dog

Kaya was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains and joins the Oak Tree with 3 years of experience sharing her love and affection in a therapeutic environment. Kaya is present during group, in sessions, and can be found cleaning the floor during her spare time.


Jamie Hoffman

Lead Manager

Jamie is from Johns Creek, Georgia and comes from a family where many battle addictions. He has personally battled addiction for the better part of the last 8 years. He was finally done fighting it and start listening to the suggestions of others around him.  Jamie has found a passion for helping other young men in recovery by sharing his own experience and what he has learned from others.  In his spare time, he enjoys watching and playing sports, fishing, hunting, and being outdoors.

Drew Gilgo

House Manager

Drew grew up in Burlington, NC and attended Eastern Carolina University for 3 years before taking a break to focus on recovery. His rapid decline due to addiction had started at age 17.  He arrived at Oak Tree in March of 2018 after completing treatment at Pavillon and felt at home almost immediately.  In his spare time, Drew enjoys golfing, football, swimming and generally having fun in recovery.

Channing Griffin

House Manager

Channing grew up in Goldsboro and graduated from Rosewood High.  His battle with addiction began in his early 20s after an injury and consumed him for the next 15 years. After multiple treatment experiences in the last several years, Channing arrived at Oak Tree in 2018 and joined the leadership team as a House Manager in November.  In his spare time, Channing enjoys working out, playing and watching team sports, and reading.

Jack Wheeler

House Manager

Jack is from Miami, Florida. Addiction has been a part of Jack’s life since birth, both through himself and his family. Drugs became a major part of Jack’s life at 15 and quickly took a toll on him. At the age of 18 Jack sought help through treatment at Pavillon. In June of 2018 Jack came to Oak Tree Recovery Homes as part of his aftercare plan and began to learn from the examples of both staff and other clients. Jack joined the Oak Tree staff team in January 2019 as the leader in the young men’s house. In his spare time Jack enjoys collecting art, getting outdoors, and working out.


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