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Meet Our Team

by | Apr 8, 2019

Dr NIcholas Kardaras

Dr NIcholas Kardaras

Co-Founder, Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Kardaras is an Ivy-League educated psychologist, an internationally renowned speaker, and one of the country’s foremost addiction experts. A former Clinical Professor at Stony Brook Medicine where he specialized in teaching the neurophysiology and treatment of addiction, he has also taught neuropsychology at the doctoral-level and has worked closely in developing clinical protocols with Dr. Howard Shaffer, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of their Division of Addiction.

He has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, FOX & Friends, NPR, Good Day New York and has written about addiction for TIME Magazine, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Salon, The NY Daily News, and FOX News, and has been featured in Esquire, New York Magazine, VICE, and Vanity Fair
Considered a leading expert on young people and digital addiction, he is the author of “Glow Kids” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), the seminal book on the clinical, neurological and sociological aspects of Technology Addiction (Smart Phones, Video Games, Social Media, etc.) and has clinically worked with over 1,000 teens and young people during the last 15 years. He has been active in advocating that screen addiction be recognized as a clinical disorder akin to substance addiction and has developed the most comprehensive treatment protocols to treat this emerging global problem. 

Dr. Kardaras is also the creator of Seahab, an intensive experiential form of nature immersion therapy. Based on the very successful evidence-based principles of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH), Seahab has proven to be very effective as an intensive intervention to help addicts shift out of self-destructive and toxic lifestyle patterns. 

Dr. Kardaras has also, admittedly, lived a colorful life: he’s a former AAU National Karate champion, a recovering NYC nightclub owner and a coma survivor. Having once owned high-profile NY nightclubs where he had mingled with the likes of JFK, Jr., Uma Thurman and Tom Cruise, Dr. Kardaras emerged from that glamorous-yet-self-destructive world and discovered a healing path to his own recovery from addiction. Dr. Kardaras is also the author of “How Plato and Pythagoras Can Save Your Life” (Conari, 2011) and devotes his life to helping others find their path to recovery, healing and a life of meaning and purpose. 

He lives with his wife and twin sons between Austin, TX and Sag Harbor NY and is a frequent presenter and lecturer on the subjects of mental health, philosophy, and both substance and screen addictions.
David Naylor

David Naylor


David is a creative entrepreneur, CEO and creator of innovative and progressive ideas that become inspiring companies, products and work cultures that ultimately promote and create change. 
In 2015 he left his career at Google to follow his calling in the field of addiction & mental health, a place close to home in his personal journey, going to his first treatment center at the age of 17. He has spent the rest of his life pursuing a life of healing, transformation and recovery and set out on a pursuit of finding his ultimate potential.  Today, he founded what is now Omega Healthcare, a transformational healthcare organization that provides leading programs around the country in the field of treating addiction and mental health. These Programs focus on addressing not only addiction, but also core trauma, shame, compulsive behaviors, and codependency  that treat the root causes. While most centers treat the primary symptoms, our programs focus on bridging the traditional Recovery 12 step approach along with treating the underlying issues and family of origins, focusing on a more whole-listic approach. 
David lives in Austin, TX with his daughter Emily and their two golden retrievers Brewster & Lady, and enjoys being a father, reading mythology & novels, playing golf, boating, and helping others find their purpose, meaning and true path.  He is currently working on a documentary film and tv series that shines a light on this growing epidemic of the millennial age and ways we may just be able to overcome it. 
Michael Smeltzer

Michael Smeltzer

Executive Director

Michael Smeltzer was born and raised in Austin, Texas. As a teenager, Michael was introduced to drugs and alcohol, and began drinking and using regularly. He noticed early on that his reaction to substances was abnormal. He was constantly thinking of the next high. Like so many addicts, he began to isolate, his relationships were strained, he resorted to crime, and his self-esteem plummeted. While studying business at Texas State University, his addiction reached the point of unmanageability.
For years, Michael was in and out jails and institutions. He tried programs, treatments, counselors, and medications, but to no avail. He was forced to drop out of school, he could not keep a job, and his family and friends began to lose hope. He felt hopeless and helpless until he was finally able to give himself completely to a simple program of action. Today, Michael has regained the trust of his family, is a productive member of society, and has taken an interest in spiritual philosophy.
At Omega, Michael uses his experience to encourage and inspire the next generation of recovering addicts and alcoholics. He considers it an honor and a privilege to pass along the essential tools, strategies, and attitudes that shaped his own journey in recovery.
Scott Schroeder

Scott Schroeder

CEO Maui Recovery

Scott’s exemplary financial background brings more than 25 years of senior leadership expertise with a proven ability to raise equity from financial institutions and investors, as well as operating as the COO of 40 Physical Therapy clinics and electronic medical software company managing 600 employees. His drive and dedication, together with the highest level of integrity and values , bring a literal wealth of experience and knowledge to the business.

Scott attended the Hazelden Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has maintained sobriety for 30 years. Since then, his recovery can be mostly attributed to regular attendance at AA meetings, working the 12 steps, working with a sponsor, plus assisting and working with sponsees and others.

His personal commitment to the health and wellness of others is unparalleled. His passion to operate a Recovery Retreat Center where he can demonstrate to others that recovery is not only possible, but sustainable, and is a lifelong dream.

Scott was largely responsible for starting the Association for Substance Abuse Student (ASAS) Program with Dr Carl Anderson at Texas Tech University in 1988, as well as forming the first Celebrate Recovery program, in West Los Angeles, which continues successfully today.

Dr. Carlos Tirado, MD, MPH

Dr. Carlos Tirado, MD, MPH

Medical Director

Dr. Tirado is Board Certified in General and Addiction Psychiatry and in Addiction Medicine. He is a recognized thought leader, innovator, mentor and clinical expert in addiction treatment and systems of care. Dr. Tirado spent the first half of his career in academia holding faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He subsequently has developed and implemented hospital, facility-based and outpatient addiction treatment services, outpatient chronic pain management and primary care for addiction programs. His consulting work concentrates on medication therapy and clinical trials, health plans, peer recovery support, expert witness and medical board review.

Dr. Tirado is President of the Texas Society of Addiction Medicine and has been awarded research and treatment services grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust and National Institutes of Health. He has published work in peer-review, trade and mass media publications and regularly presents at local and national conferences. He is currently appointed as Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the UT Dell Medical College.

Professional Affiliations:

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Member
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Faculty
University of Pennsylvania, Faculty
SIMS Foundation, Advisory Panel
CareFlash, Advisory Panel
Austin Psychiatric Society, President
National Institutes of Health, Researcher
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Researcher
Scaife Family Foundation, Researcher
Betty Ford Institute, Researcher
Pew Charitable Trust, Researcher

Julia C Thompson LMSW

Julia C Thompson LMSW

Clinical Director

Julia received her Master of Clinical Social Work degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2014. Julia has worked in the fields of both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment and community mental health. It was early in her career that it became evident to her that addiction typically indicates an underlying distress and most often trauma. Julia has devoted much of her time to working in the field of recovery from addiction and trauma both in her employment and in volunteer roles in the SW Florida community that she recently
relocated from.
Julia was initially trained in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and now in Rapid Resolution Therapy®. Rapid Resolution Therapy® or RRT is a gentle and brief therapeutic modality, that can effectively treat symptoms of trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aid in successful recovery from addiction. RRT integrates multiple approaches such as hypnotic communication, cognitive techniques, humor and lightness allowing for optimal and deep healing.
In addition to being trained in Rapid Resolution Therapy, Julia also utilizes mindfulness, solution-focused and expressive art approaches.. Julia is an artist herself and enjoys assisting others in discovering and deepening their creativity. Julia is a practitioner with the Institute of Rapid Resolution Therapy and
frequently attends trainings with the founder, Dr. John Connelly, LCSW. Julia is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Association for Traumatic Stress Specialists and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.
Julia moved recently to the Austin area with her family and enjoys outdoor adventure, live music and learning about the local culture. Julia enjoys art, film, exercise, cooking and goofing around with family. Julia believes that optimal functioning occurs when one’s attention is outward, enjoying nature, animals or other people for example. Julia’s goal is always to assist clients in achieving overall wellness, joy and true connection with their best selves.
Courtney Johnson, LPC

Courtney Johnson, LPC


Courtney received her Master of Clinical Psychology Counseling Specialization with Concentration in Trauma and Crisis Intervention from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2013. Courtney has experience working in a school setting, group home, community mental health and inpatient hospital. As a trained trauma specialist, Courtney treats addiction as a secondary response and maladaptive coping skill to deeper trauma and mental stress.

Certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Courtney uses these skills to identify maladaptive thought patterns which result in negative emotional responses that drive individuals to addiction. DBT is incorporated into her therapy by teaching mindfulness, assertive communication, boundary setting, and emotion regulation.

Courtney has worked extensively with individuals exiting the criminal justice system to reintegrate back into society through development of anger management techniques, processing of trauma, and identifying an identity outside of the criminal justice system. In addition, Courtney has worked extensively with survivors of trauma processing through their trauma, learning stress reduction techniques and developing a new sense of self. Courtney believes all individuals should be met and understood as human beings and deserving of a new beginning.

As a Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Courtney teaches communities how to understand mental illness and approach individuals in crisis in a thoughtful and considerate manner. Courtney strives to teach others that the simple answer is usually the best; be empathetic, caring and treat others as you wish to be treated.

LPC # 75291

Lucy Rojas Kardaras

Lucy Rojas Kardaras

Yoga Instructor and 12-Step Coach

Lucy is a certified yoga instructor who was trained by Rodney Yee and his wife Colleen SaidmanYee at Yoga Shanti in New York.  She earned her B.A. in English from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Education from Hunter College. Her love for yoga inculcated a deep appreciation of the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that yoga can provide in the modern age. In her classes, she combines the principles and ideas of 12 step programs with the benefits of yoga. Yoga helps alleviate some of the  modern afflictions many of us suffer from: overworked, poor posture, text-neck, anxiety, addiction and over-stressed bodies, minds and spirits. She combines many aspects of Hatha Yoga and the deeply calming and relaxing benefits of Restorative Yoga in her classes. Her deepest desire is to impart a life-long love of yoga, foster a joie de vivre–that zest for life–and to inspire hope in people’s lasting journey of recovery. Lucy has experienced the gifts of the 12 Steps over the last 18 years of her sobriety. She is forever grateful to 12 Step fellowships as well as to her amazing yoga teachers, Rodney and Colleen, whose expertise continually guide her. Some of the wisest words ever uttered by Rodney continue to echo in her mind today, “Don’t get weird” he once said…except… if you’re in Austin!

Chris Felder

Chris Felder


Chris has extensive working knowledge in several disciplines. His broad experience makes Chris an effective manager with a well developed business acumen. His skill set and education intersect several functional areas of management; Finance, Human Resources, and Information Technology, which enables him to be flexible, as he has achieved success in large corporate environments and small businesses across a diverse range of industries.

Specialties: Process Optimization, Employee Resource Management, System Integration, Vendor and Service Provider Liaison, Network Design, Process Automation Design and Implementation.

Gabriella Jeffords

Gabriella Jeffords

Admissions Director

Gabi has worked in the recovery field since 2012. She was previously the Assistant Director of sober living at Hickory Wind Ranch and has a strong background in addiction and eating disorders. Gabi has a bachelor’s in English from Colorado College and graduate level coursework in counseling at St. Edward’s University. Originally from New York but a Texan transplant for almost 20 years, she brings her heart, intelligence and passion to ensure individualized care for every Omega Recovery client. 
Jina Arandela

Jina Arandela

Insurance Specialist

After overcoming years of suffering from addiction, I found a spiritual path to healing that introduced me to a life full of heart and meaning through helping others. I decided to go back to school for insurance billing and coding, graduating with highest distinction, and have found work I’m truly passionate about. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to bring my experience and knowledge of the insurance industry to Omega Recovery, helping clients to utilize their insurance benefits as much as possible in support of their healing process.

Shane Cunningham

Shane Cunningham

Director of Business Development

Shane was born in Anaheim, California and spent 6 years of his life in Germany. His family settled in Arizona where Shane attended high school. Freshmen year he suffered a sports injury which required multiple surgeries and multiple prescriptions for painkillers. Shane was only 17 when he graduated from high school and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout within the Boy Scouts of America. While his potential looked endless, Shane was battling an addiction to black tar heroin. With multiple failed attempts trying his own way, Shane finally moved to Austin, TX for drug treatment. That was back in 2012 and has remained sober since.. 

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