Benjamin A. Levenson – Founder and Chairman of the Board
As co-founder of Origins Recovery Centers, Ben Levenson brings the strategic vision and executive leadership to the Origins organization. Ben’s deep love for recovery and compassion for those with addictive illness and their families was born out of his own harrowing battle with and recovery from chronic addiction. Through Ben’s extraordinary recovery experience, he launched Origins Recovery Centers as an enduring beacon of hope to those afflicted. Ben has charged Origins with a legacy to continually develop, improve and provide highly-effective systems of comprehensive addiction treatment. Ben’s passion keeps him on the ‘front lines’ where he speaks publicly on addiction treatment issues and lobbies for improvements in quality and availability of treatment. Ben’s passionate advocacy for recovery extends globally as he works with governments and programs internationally for the advancement of the treatment sciences. Ben actively serves on numerous distinguished boards, including, but not limited to, C4, a global non-profit corporation set to help improve the effectiveness of substance abuse prevention and recovery services, the Center for Students in Recovery at University of Texas at Austin Campaign Advisory Council, the South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce. In his personal time, Ben takes pleasure in being with his family, playing golf, fly fishing and traveling abroad.
Michael J. Levenson – Co-Founder
Co-founder Michael Levenson is one of the primary people responsible for making Origins Recovery Centers a reality. He has over thirty-five years of experience in business, including being the president of a bank at only twenty-six years old and eventually the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company. He has vast experience in other industries as well. Michael takes great pleasure assisting Origins clients in learning about financial responsibility, job resumes, career choices, how to interview for a job and more, all as part of The Origins Experience™.
Drew Rothermel – Chief Executive Officer
With a strong personal commitment to addiction treatment and recovery, Drew Rothermel is an unabashed advocate of delivering innovative quality treatment based on the 12-step program of recovery to patients and their families. Armed with a strong education background, having earned JD and MBA degress from the University of Richmond, VA, he has a long history dedicated to bringing his considerable executive experience to bear for organizations seeking to provide only the highest quality to the clients they serve. His most recent position as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and President of the Florida Market for another highly-regarded national recovery institution, was pivotal in their efforts to become a world-class addiction recovery provider. Through strategic lobbying with the State of Florida and successfully defending both the Fair Housing Act and Americans With Disabilities Act, he was able to improve care and secure important rights for people in active recovery from chemical dependence. He also gives back to the community through his involvement with St. Joseph’s Regional Health Network, the Berkshire Charitable Foundation and the Hanley Family Foundation, just to name a few. Other addiction related efforts include consulting with and advising numerous addiction treatment centers to cooperatively share best practices and performance benchmarks in order to improve overall treatment quality throughout the industry.
Combined with his proven, successful financial and legal management work for a NASDAQ registered bank holding company and a corporate law firm, Drew is someone who knows how to bring together the relevant resources necessary to solve problems and create a solid foundation for corporate growth. This makes him a perfect fit for Origins as it continues to maintain its standing as a leading provider of modern, innovative addiction treatment techniques and programs. Under his experienced leadership Origins will continue to improve its ability to help those currently suffering under this debilitating disease discover the strength to live happy, productive lives free from the burden of chemical dependence.
Robert Park, LCDC – Executive Director, Executive Vice President
Rob has been involved with the field of addiction recovery in a variety of capacities for most of his life. From working as a Director of Admissions to being more directly involved with patient care as a Case Manager, he embraces a holistic approach to healing both mind and body and believes strongly in the Origins Experience. Being a recovered addict/alcoholic himself, Rob understands that personal experience is an essential part of someone’s ability to help others achieve sobriety, that you cannot transmit something that you, yourself, do not have. This belief is continued through his work with mindfulness, psychospiritual and experiential based therapies, which include the concepts of wholeness and acceptance of the disowned parts of the Self as a strong base from which someone struggling with addiction can embrace the process of recovery. He fosters the concept that awareness itself promotes wholeness and healing. As a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator, Rob combines his years of experience at other prominent treatment and recovery centers with his hands on work helping addicts find their own path to recovery, to create an unsurpassed system of Organizational Health. Being the Executive Director, his passion for helping others and his expertise at making systems and departments work together cohesively give him the opportunity to optimize fluidity and enhance overall patient care here at Origins. He continues to further his education and feels driven to learn more about himself and the world around him. In his personal time he loves to play golf, travel, listen to live music, outdoor activities, and eat well.
Peter Piraino, LMSW – Clinical Director
Peter Piraino is a social worker and addictions specialist who graduated from Stony Brook University with a master’s degree in social work and a specialization in addiction. He has worked extensively with clients and families seeking recovery in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He taught the treatment of addiction at Stony Brook University and has been a guest speaker at the National People of Color Conference. He specialized in working with adolescents and children as part of his addiction and family treatment work at programs such as Little Flower Foster Care Agency and the Long Island Center for Recovery. Most recently, Mr. Piraino served as the Program Director of The Dunes East Hampton, where he shaped and helped to create the Northeast’s foremost high-end residential substance abuse facilities. His knowledge and experience helps make Origins a world-class leader in the highly competitive field of addiction recovery.
Dr. Alex Kudisch, MD., DFAPA – Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Kudisch serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Origins Recovery Center. Dr. Kudisch is Board Certified in Psychiatry with a specialty focus in both adult and child psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and is professionally affiliated with numerous hospitals in Texas. Dr. Kudisch has extensive experience treating the chemically dependent and dual diagnosed patient in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Psychiatry at San Antonio. In addition, he holds Appointments at the Texas Medical Association Committee on Medicaid and the Uninsured, also the Department of Family Health Services Ad Hoc Committee on Psychotropic Medications Oversight in the Foster Care System, and the Commissioners Round table. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Tropical Texas Behavioral Health. Dr. Kudisch maintains a private practice in McAllen, Texas and is passionate about spending time with his family, traveling abroad, exercise, art and golf. Professionally, he advocates strongly for increasing Mental Health Care Access in South Texas.
William Warren Prater, MD – Director of Utilization Review
William attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, receiving his M.D. Degree in 1979, following undergraduate work at Abilene Christian University. Immediately following his residency training at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas and Lubbock General Hospital, he embarked on a distinguished career in Addiction Medicine. He was one of the original group certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 1987, and has over 25 years of experience in the field. He has been Medical Director of Adult Addiction Disorder at both Charter Hospital of Dallas and HCA Willow Park Hospital at Medical Center of Plano, supervising the Chemical Dependency Program and providing daily group psychotherapy sessions. While in Plano he directed the Prater Group, an outpatient Chemical Dependency Program utilizing a 12-step program in addition to psychopharmacology, EEG biofeedback and holotrophic breathwork. This program was also a TCADA approved training center, supervising and training many interns while it was in active practice. He also has been a Medical Director for Horizon Hospital, an adolescent chemical dependency program in Dallas, and worked as a staff Addiction Medicine physician for several years at La Hacienda Treatment Center in Hunt, TX, where he managed the inpatient detox unit, as well as at Starlite Village Hospital In Center Point, TX. He also practiced in the Prudent Opiate Pain Program dealing with pain management, and has been a frequent guest lecturer at several Texas colleges and universities. Addiction medicine has been Dr. Prater’s passion for the majority of his years of practice, helping patients cope with their chemical addiction from both the physical and psychological perspective. With his dedication and experience to the field of Addiction Medicine he has served as a patient advocate and Utilization Review Manager here at Origins since January 2011.
Beverly Skloss, RN, MSN – Director of Nursing
Prior to becoming full time at Origins, Beverly was our Senior Nursing Consultant, and brings to us a wide range of experience and training. She completed her graduate work at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, earning a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in psychiatric nursing, mental health, and substance abuse. She has over 24 years of dedication to nursing, with extensive experience in administration, leadership, and management. This includes 12 years in Behavioral Health/Addictive disorders involving detoxification and other inpatient and outpatient services for those with dual diagnosis. She served 17 years of this time at Valley Baptist Health System with her most recent experience being Director of Education. In addition to her work here at Origins, Beverly serves as Adjunct faculty for the Professional Nursing Program at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, and has recently served 6 years on the Texas Board of Nursing Advisory Committee for Education. She continues this role as a nursing school survey consultant. Beverly is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing as well as being the President of the Board of Directors for the Rio Grande Valley Council, a non-profit agency that provides substance abuse education, prevention and treatment services for schools and communities in South Texas. In her own words “Living on South Padre Island, working for the ultimate addictions treatment center, and working in the field I love the most is my life’s dream that has become reality.” Beverly loves walking on the beautiful South Padre Island beaches, boating, and spending time with her family.
Staci Levenson – Director of Operations
Staci transitioned to Origins from the innovative MAP program where she was part of its successful introduction and implementation. Now, as our Director of Operations, Staci is responsible for oversight of all the behind-the-scenes details necessary to keep a Recovery Center running smoothly and efficiently. From procedural policies to the financial operations, if it happens at Origins then Staci has a role in it. She first became involved in drug and alcohol recovery early on when family members developed problems with addiction, needing the help and support of those closest to them. This brought her into the recovery community, and from that introduction she has continued to do volunteer and service work in support of others needing help. Now that Staci is directly involved with all facets of recovery, she can watch the patients grow and has come to understand not only their challenges, but the rewards they realize when they graduate addiction free. She especially enjoys family week, when families are reunited with their loved ones who, after more than a month of recovery work, appear happy and excited about their lives, often for the first time in many years.
Kacy Ritter – Director of Alumni Services
Kacy Ritter is a recovered alcoholic and drug addict who sobered up in the Texas Hill Country in 2009. Since her initial awakening to freedom, she has been blessed to work alongside many men and women along their path to permanent sobriety. Having been rescued from the hopeless state of alcoholism and drug addiction, she is enthusiastic to share the solution that was so freely given to her. She is passionate about recovery and dedicated to providing guidance for the clients and alumni of Origins. Kacy is a an active member within respective 12 Step fellowships, and is currently seeking a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.
Penny M. Brewer, CPA – Controller
Mrs. Brewer is a CPA with over 17 years experience in industry and public accounting. She is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Tyler where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and graduated Cum Laude. She has worked for the founders of Origins Recovery Centers for many years in their varied interests. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and most of all watching her two sons play sports.
TJ Howard, BS, LCDC – Director of Admissions
TJ is a Certified Criminalist and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, where he worked as a teacher and a private tutor. TJ also did his post-graduate work in the biology and chemistry fields at the University of North Texas. He is dedicated to helping and working with other alcoholics and addicts. TJ, personally in recovery from addiction, has been a strong member of twelve step community in Dallas Texas. In his personal time he enjoys sports, reading, and spending time with his family.
Stephan Marion – Senior Admissions Specialist
Originally from Sarnia, Ontario Canada, Stephan is a recovered addict and alcoholic who has fully embraced the concept of giving back to the community which helped him recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. As with many who strive to rise out of a life of addiction, his recovery required persistence in the face of failure, finally breaking free of its bonds after coming to Texas for additional treatment in 2010. Having found his peace of mind Stephan stayed on in the Texas Hill Country, devoting most of his time in service to the 12-step community and providing hope to others through his example of what life can become without the burden of addiction. His devotion to helping other addicts recover brought him here to Origins, where he volunteered his services for 7 months before becoming a full-time employee.
Perseverance being what he represents, Stephan continues to push his limits by pursuing a license in chemical dependency counselling and is currently enrolled in LCDC School at ICDS to attain that goal. Origins is proud to have him as part of our dedicated team of addiction professionals.
Eric Church – Admissions Specialist
Born in Detroit, MI, Eric’s family moved to Plano, TX, a suburb north of Dallas, while he was still very young. He grew up there, graduating from Plano Senior High School and moving on to attend Collin County College for a while, but alcohol and drug addiction had taken control of his life so his life spiraled and he lost his direction. As with most people who fall under the shadow of addiction, Eric struggled with this disease for many years until finally finding peace, spiritual freedom and emotional sobriety.
Since that time he has dedicated himself to helping others find the same freedom from a life of addiction, forsaking a career in technology to be able to pass along his insights on how the 12 step program of recovery can take sufferers of addiction from despair to hope. He felt driven to take this message to others like himself, struggling with addiction and barely surviving the trials life levies on everyone. He is extremely happy to be able to effect this goal as a Recovery Advocate here at Origins, where modern medicine and psychological advances in tandem with the traditional 12 step process allow him to convey his passion for life, especially a life of sobriety, service work and helping others find a path to becoming a recovered, productive part of society.
Eric truly enjoys his new life and renewed connection with his family, including a college age daughter, his parents, and a sister who has given him 2 nephews and a niece. Through the institute of Chemical Dependency Studies, Eric is continuing his education in the recovery industry to attain certification as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). In his off hours he loves to fish, camp, outdoor activities and enjoying the beach and ocean readily available here on South Padre Island.
Donna Henry – Admissions Specialist
Being from Nashville, TN, with a father who was often a musician at the Grand Ole Opry, it was only natural for Donna to matriculate into the musical tradition the city is famous for by becoming a professional singer. Unfortunately, the performing arts are often prone to association with drug and alcohol abuse, and she fell into the all too common trap of that influence. For many years after recovering from her addiction in 1999, she wasn’t involved in the treatment community, but in 2006, after taking a secretarial position at a local treatment center, she hesitantly agreed to facilitate a 12-step group as a favor for a counselor who knew her from local meetings. From that experience, where she discussed her own recovery and the pitfalls of relapse, she discovered how much she enjoyed helping others going through the process of addiction recovery and that she had a natural talent for working in the treatment industry. Since then, Donna has worked at several facilities, including New Life Lodge, Buffalo Valley and the Cumberland Heights women’s program, where she happened to meet Kacy Marion from our Alumni Services Department who introduced her to the excellent work being done here at Origins. Living on South Padre Island is certainly a change from her roots in Nashville, and she admits missing the mountains and friends and family of her Tennessee home, but she thoroughly enjoys her new family here at Origins and the opportunity to help the women who come to Origins seeking relief from a life of struggling with addiction.
Dakota Profitt – Intake Specialist
Dakota is a shining example of the positive effect a well-grounded program of recovery can achieve, especially in someone so young and burdened with addiction for most of his adult life. Battling homelessless, and in and out of treatment since he was 16, Dakota chose to find a fresh start by putting into practice the 12 Steps of recovery, and finding a higher power to guide him through the self-affirming recovery process. After winning his battle with heroin and methamphetamine addiction, he has taken it upon himself to spread his newfound hope and joy of living sober to others afflicted with this terrible disease. Working with the men at the Origins Recovery Center main campus gives him the perfect venue to discuss his own successful recovery experience with others, looking to turn their life around. By sharing his insights and educating clients on how to properly implement the 12 Step process, Dakota continues the tradition of passing along the torch of success so that others can learn to take control of their life, often for the first time in their life, to lead happy and productive lives as clean and sober individuals. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and writing his own music.
Raul Cartagena – Continuum of Care Director
Raul Cartagena is a recovered alcoholic from Brooklyn, New York. Raul moved to central Texas in 1991, where he made his home with his family. He has been sober since 2004 with the assistance of the 12-step community and has since made addiction recovery the central focus of his life. Mr. Cartagena has many years of experience working in the field of addiction recovery, and he advocates strongly on behalf of those who suffer and are in need of quality treatment.In his spare time he enjoys being with his family, prayer and carrying ‘this message’ of hope.
Chad Lentscher – Director of Program Operations
Chad Lentscher is a recovered drug addict and alcoholic who has been a part of Origins Recovery Centers since its first year of operation. He is dedicated to a life based on the principles of the 12 steps and passionate about sharing this way of life with others. Chad is currently a senior at the LeTourneau University where he is earning a degree in education. His steady personality and humorous approach to life bodes well with the community at Origins.
Amanda Armstrong – Human Resources Coordinator
Having graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a minor in Psychology, Amanda brings her exceptional organizational and communication skills to the complex world of recovery here at Origins. While not in recovery herself, she understands first-hand the effects of alcoholism and the destruction it can create within a family. Personally, she has great admiration for individuals who have gone through the recovery process and rebuilt strong and happy lives. In her spare time Amanda enjoys working creatively, target shooting, taekwondo and playing with her dog, Ziggi.
Maureen Sander – Community Relations Representative
Bio Coming Soon!!
Jody Guerra – Community Relations Representative
Jody has been in the field of alcohol and drug abuse/recovery counseling for more than 20 years, with much of that time practicing as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADAC) as well as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He has been involved in a variety of capacities, including both nonprofit and private practice counseling, Program Director for an outpatient 12-step program, Marketing and business development, as well as work in adolescent leadership development for over 15 years. This diversity of involvement in the industry is an example of his dedication and true passion for the Ministry of saving lives, and the depths he has gone to provide a means for people to overcome the disease of addiction from both a professional and personal directive. It has been his calling, and he is proud to be part of this altruistic movement to help people help themselves beyond the adversity of addiction, to lead fulfilling and productive lives. Being born, raised and still living in nearby McAllen, the Valley has been Jody’s home his entire life. He has been happily married for 20 years and has 2 great kids.
Rick Hubbard – Community Relations Representative
Rick represents Origins as the Community Relations Liaison for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He comes with a background rich in managerial and community relations experience. Having studied Finance while at college, Rick’s early career in that field culminated with his founding Revere Mortgage Banking Corp., and functioning as its CEO until 1999. It was at this time that Rick starting working in the recovery industry, where he has worked at both The Watershed of the Palm Beaches, and Serenity Foundation of Texas as the Community Relations Director for many years. Rick brings his years of experience to Origin’s in order to cultivate our presence within the Dallas/Ft. Worth community, to better serve their recovery needs and be a resource for those chartered with helping people caught in a battle with addiction. In Rick’s own words…
“It is an honor and a privilege to join an organization as well managed and as highly regarded as Origins Recovery Centers. I have observed the deliberate structuring of a high quality administrative, clinical and recovery support team at Origins over the past few years, and I am impressed with the sophisticated nature of the programming offered to the patients and families finding recovery here. I am proud to represent Team Origins as a member of the Community Relations department, and I look forward to a long and fulfilling career with this organization.”
Jaime Loera, BA – Community Relations Representative
Jaime Loera earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been an active member in the recovery community for over twelve years and remains dedicated personally and professionally to helping those afflicted with chemical dependency. Jaime has worked for a number of the most prominent drug and alcohol treatment providers in both Texas and Nevada. He has had the honor of working with his fellow members of 12 Step Fellowships to create a passionate recovery community in Austin, Texas. Jaime enjoys spending his personal time with his family, loves nature and distance running.
Bo Claypool – Director of Multimedia Marketing
Bo is a talented web marketer whose experience with Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing pre-dates even the existence of Google itself. While he maintains a parallel career as a physician recruiter, and is educated and experienced as a physician group practice consultant, Bo’s primary strategic initiative is to increase awareness of the Origins brand through various channels, inclusive of the Origins web presence. Bo is passionate about his position with Origins and he wishes to always make it easy for prospective patients and their families to learn about Origins online, as he knows Origins provides life-saving care with an unsurpassed degree of compassion and an unwillingness to provide anything but total dedication to the the recovery process.
Claire Smith – Operations Assistant
Claire Smith is originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana. After multiple attempts, Claire, at the young age of 18, finally Claire finally got sober in Enid, Oklahoma. She is very proud and extremely grateful to be a recovered addict and alcoholic.
Claire considers herself to be very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with hundreds of adolescents and young adult females suffering from addiction. She has been doing work like this over the last 4 years, while sharing her own experiences, strengths and hopes with her clients. For Claire, working with people who seek to recover is highly fulfilling on a number of levels.
Claire has attended Northern Oklahoma College with a major in Psychology. Her hobbies include golf, oil painting, photography, cooking and cultivating her own spiritual growth. She also very much enjoys spending time with her Yorkshire Terrier, Layla.
Jim Livingston – Operations Specialist
Jim is a recovered alcoholic, having been sober since December 3, 1988. He originally became involved with recovery, in Port Huron, MI, but now applies his extensive experience and knowledge to working with the clients here at Origins, where his easy going style and manner help him provide an enduring example of what a future free from addiction can be. Jim is very active in the 12-step community, both locally and when he travels. He has helped start new 12-step groups and has continued to support them in various communities. He very much likes to help newcomers discover a new way of enjoying life without the burden of addiction, and providing an example of how service work and maintaining active involvement in the community play a major part in any successful recovery process. In his spare time he likes to work on his vehicles and is known to always have new joke ready to deliver when the situation calls for one.
Andy Riley – Lab Liaison
Bianka Cruz – Executive Assistant
Kristy Mansor – Receptionist
Bio Coming Soon!!