The Balance House Team

Experts in the Field of Addiction Treatment

This may be a nonissue for some, but we are privately held and do not have investors. We put up our own money and risked everything to make Balance House happen—and that mindset still drives our behaviors as active owners who each play a key role in the organization. This is important because it allows us to make decisions based on what is best for our clients and their families. There is no one behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons. There is no standard algorithm, besides the benchmarks and a wealth of experience with the previous 550+ Balance House clients. Parents and their sons who attend Balance House will be dealing directly with the owners of the program. We are independently owned and always will be. This really is our life and our livelihood. If Balance House doesn’t thrive, we lose everything. So, it is of the utmost importance that we take care of all our relationships.



January 20, 2004: It was a Tuesday. I remember that because while I was sitting in jail, the fact it was a Tuesday was coursing through my mind. I remember thinking, who gets arrested on a Tuesday for a DUI and drug possession? Well, I did. It wasn’t the first time I had been in jail and, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last time either. I was seven days away from turning 24-years-old.

Although I was tired at that time in my life, in the back of my mind, I knew I wasn’t done. I’ve never been a fast learner, nor have I ever been great at giving up, regardless of what I was doing. This used to be quite detrimental to my life. Now, though, it’s a quality most helpful to my life and I wouldn’t change it if I could.

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this Bio…what achievements I should include, what boards I have led, what boards I have sat on. I thought about expressing my
education in business or my amazing experience in my MSW practicum, namely the one I had at one of the premier mental health programs in the United States. I absolutely loved it during the time I spent there. I even had a thought about stating my small role in writing Recovery Residence laws for the State of Utah licensing requirements.

Yet, I couldn’t help but feel as though everyone writes about those things in their bio on a website advertising the organization he or she works for (Sorry for ending the sentence in a preposition, dad). And although I am a Co-Founder of EVNSQ by Balance House, I still work for our clients and their families. So, what, at least in my eyes, should be written in this bio of mine?

Well, a few things. First, I am surrounded by not only the best people I know (my “business” partners and staff), but also each of my partners and staff are my best friends which makes me pretty lucky. I also think you should know we are on to something at EVNSQ. If you were to ask anyone what my primary strength is, they would tell you it’s my ability to tell people the hard truth in a soft way and how people always know where they stand with me. I am a good man who knows he is lucky to be, at the time of this writing, 39-years-old. But mostly, I am a great husband to my wife, Ashley, and an amazing father to our daughter, Remi Ray. If anything, remember this: I once was your son, and although that is not to be a qualifier for your son to enter my program, what should qualify us is the eight years of education, research, and thought it took to open EVNSQ. Oh yeah, and the fact we do not have investors…all of us have put our own money into this. If it doesn’t work, we are all screwed. In any case, I hope you find what you are looking for (sorry again, dad). If EVNSQ is not the program for your son and family, please know the right program is out there and if we can help in anyway, we will.

MARK OERTHER|Chief Development Officer, Partner

MARK OERTHER|Chief Development Officer, Partner

With over 19 years of experience in the industries of Mental Health, Substance-Abuse, and Recovery, Mark is a veteran of healthcare program development and marketing. His roles have included Admissions, Business Development, Direct Care and Supervision inside therapeutic settings, as well as Therapeutic Program Management. Mark also helped to start and operate five highly regarded treatment programs around the country.

Mark’s greatestaccomplishment is getting sober. There was a time when addiction controlled his life.With much support from his family and others in recovery, he was able to break the cycle of addiction at the age of 21.It has now become his mission to make the gift of recovery more accessible to others. He believes there is hope for every young adult, that they—and their families—may find a new life.To quote his favorite line from theBig Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “It works, it really does!”

Mark is married to Jackie and has a son, David.They havetwo dogs, Dakota and Duke.MarkIs a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan,and also attemptsto play golf(but plays poorly).

KATIE SLAUGHTER, MSW|Primary Therapist, Partner

KATIE SLAUGHTER, MSW|Primary Therapist, Partner

Katie received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Utah. Katie has been with the organization since 2014, serving as the Executive Director of our women’s sober living program, guiding over 200 women on how to transition from an in-patient treatment program back to society, and teaching them how to utilize the skills they learned in treatment to lead productive, healthy, and balanced lives.  She currently serves as the Executive Director for the extended care phase of our program, and excels in her ability to empathize with a client while setting and maintaining strong boundaries.

Katie is a Person in Long Term Recovery and is married to her best friend Nate. When not working, Katie enjoys staying active with activities such as crossfit (Of course, she will be the first to tell you that) and volleyball.  She loves spending time with those close to her, including her two dogs and of course their daughter Kennedy.

TONY PADJEN|Executive Director, Partner

TONY PADJEN|Executive Director, Partner

Tony Padjen is an Executive Director in the extended care phase of our program and has been an integral part of our organization since the beginning. Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s in Social Work at the University of Utah. Tony excels in building meaningful relationships and firmly believes in the principles behind our philosophy. His personal experience in recovery has helped him develop outstanding leadership qualities with those seeking to better their lives.

In his free time, Tony loves to golf, fish, and play softball. He is the proud father of two sweet dogs (Doc and Boone) that he cherishes. His greatest loves are his soon-to-be wife and her two amazing sons.

MICAH WOODWORTH MBA|Chief Financial Officer, Partner

MICAH WOODWORTH MBA|Chief Financial Officer, Partner

Micah is a Utah native who received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Strategy, from the University of Utah and received his Master’s in Business Administration in 2018 from the Executive program at Brigham Young University.

He has very much enjoyed having a critical role within the company since its inception in January 2012. Watching the organization (staff, clients, families, and processes) improve, iterate, morph, and expand in effectiveness and influence over time has been the highlight of his career.

Micah spends his personal time connecting with his wife and two children, playing soccer and golf, and being exposed to new ideas, cultures, people, food, and customs by
traveling the globe. He is passionate about finding unique ways to help eliminate global poverty and increase quality of life for people of many nations by volunteering for, and consulting with, NGOs in Mali, Guatemala, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He often says that being in long-term recovery (April 2008) has given him a life beyond his wildest dreams, and the design for living EVNSQ teaches—a design that promulgates, engenders, and sustains sobriety—is how he achieved it.

CATIE CARTISANO MSW, LCSW, LSUDC|Clinical Director, Partner

CATIE CARTISANO MSW, LCSW, LSUDC|Clinical Director, Partner

Catie received her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work along with Advanced Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training at the University of Utah. With ten
years of experience, Catie spent most of her career in the public sector at non-profit facilities and federal and government agencies. She has extensive experience working
with high acuity mental health patients, combat veterans, chronically homeless individuals and inmates at the Utah State Prison. This experience has prepared her to work with severe cases of PTSD, an array of personality disorders, trauma, substance use disorders and the Severely Mentally Ill. She is EMDR-certified and believes in looking at addiction through an attachment lens. Catie believes that people in recovery must first detach from addictive substances and behaviors in order to develop the capacity to build and sustain healthy relationships. Catie has implemented multiple evidenced-based practices into our outpatient and residential facilities and specializes in the following modalities: Acceptance Commitment Therapy, 12-Step Facilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment and Addiction, Recovery Management and Motivational Interviewing.

Special certifications and training

  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
  • Emotion-Focused Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Prime for Life Instructor
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Advanced Moral Reconation Therapy

BRANDON WALL|Program Director, Partner

BRANDON WALL|Program Director, Partner

Brandon is the Program Director for our extended care program. Brandon is currently pursuing a Marketing degree through the David Eccles School of Business at the
University of Utah. Brandon loves that his job affords him the opportunity to assist and witness other men on their journey to becoming healthy, happy and successful individuals. Brandon is in long-term recovery and is an alumnus of Balance House. His experience allows him to develop relationships with clients on a more personal level so that they can easily relate to his story and path.

Brandon is well connected in the Balance House alumni network because he believes one of the most important elements of recovery is having a solid sober support network, so a big part of his focus is helping clients reach out and develop relationships with previous clients.

In his free time Brandon loves golfing, snowboarding, fly fishing, and hiking with his chocolate lab named “Marlo.”

JON WITEBSKY|Program Director, Partner

JON WITEBSKY|Program Director, Partner

Jon received his BS degree in the areas of Child Psychology, Social Work, and English Literature from the University of Minnesota. With four years of experience in
the treatment industry, he uses these skills, along with his personal experience in the process of achieving long-term sobriety, to focus on building strong
relationships with clients. He finds this makes it easier to help the client set and achieve goals for their future, work through their day to day problems, and share
some laughs along the way. Jon’s personal philosophy with clients is based around the concept of “I’m the same as you (the client), just a few years ahead in the
process.” If Jon isn’t reading or watching Netflix, you’ll find him snowboarding at one of Utah’s many ski resorts.

NAN MICHAELIS, MSW, LCSW|Associate Clinical Director

NAN MICHAELIS, MSW, LCSW|Associate Clinical Director

Nan received her Bachelor of Social Work at Utah State University and her Master of Social Work at the University of Utah. As part of her graduate degree she did a short study abroad in Mongolia studying homeless youth and video game addiction. She has over 4 years of experience with treating complex substance use disorders and mental illness. She has experience working with some of the most extreme cases including veterans, chronically homeless individuals, the Severely Mentally Ill and inmates at the Utah State Prison. She has spent the last 3 years working for a non-profit providing treatment for men with substance use disorders and personality disorders namely Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial personality Disorder. She specializes in the following modalities: Motivational Interviewing, Moral Reconation Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, PTSD and TraumaInformed Care.

Special Certifications and Training:

  • Moral Reconation Therapy
  • Emotion-Focused Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions – Core Curriculum (CBI-CC)
  • Animal Assisted Therapy


BRIANNA JONES WHELAN|Director of Operations

After getting sober at age 20, Brianna found her passion in helping other young adults to find a life in recovery. She has worked in operations for residential treatment centers for more than 10 years and has consulted for a number of programs with a focus on alumni services, outcomes, and operating systems. She joined the EVNSQ/Balance House team after experiencing the revolving door of short-term residential treatment and watching Balance House alumni achieve sobriety at rates that were far above what she was seeing in other programs. She enjoys working in operations and attempts to make the treatment process as seamless as possible so patients and families can focus on healing. She attended the Institute of Chemical Dependency Studies and is currently back in school at University of Utah pursuing a degree in Information Systems.

MELISSA MEHAN, ASUDC|Primary Therapist


Melissa received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology along with Advanced Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training at the University of Utah. She has worked in the
University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Unit and has experience dealing with patients right as they begin their recovery process. Melissa specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapies in collaboration with mindfulness techniques and practices. (MBCT) She excels in teaching her clients grounding techniques such as meditation, yoga, visualization, affirmations, intention-setting and grounding techniques as coping methods and self-care practices. She believes in a holistic approach to recovery by utilizing evidence-based cognitive therapies/mindfulness practices and experiential therapies as well as incorporating activities that will give folks in recovery the opportunity to reconnect to body, mind and spirit. Melissa’s hope is to help people recognize the relationship between the way they think and feel, rather than avoid or eliminate negative emotions. Melissa is also a huge advocate of recovery capital. She helps clients identify their individual resource capitol by learning and rediscovering their internal and external resources to sustain recovery. Melissa specializes in the following modalities: Substance Use Disorders, CognitiveBehavior Therapy, Mindfulness and Meditation and Recovery Management.


BRIAN COLLAER|Program Director

Brian is a (retired) Jack Kerouac impersonator, voracious autodidact, unrepentant idealist, Tom Waits groupie, and reformed malcontent. Since getting sober, he has immersed
himself as vigorously in recovery as he did previously in his…extracurricular endeavors. Brian is an active member of the local recovery community, holding volunteer positions of advocacy and service at the local (Salt Lake City) and regional (Central/Western Utah) levels. He has held (and holds) positions of leadership and has been instrumental in the production of annual Young Peoples’ recovery conferences in the state and is active in the mentorship of other recovering men. Brian is a firm believer that service to others is the ultimate ends of any meaningful recovery and spends a majority of his spare time putting his metaphorical money where his mouth is. Brian’s greatest passion in life is to share the great fact with his fellow alcoholics and addicts (and the people who love them): that recovery *is* possible for anyone with the willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness to try.

COLIN SMITH, SFR|Chief Adventurist

COLIN SMITH, SFR|Chief Adventurist

Colin Smith had the opportunity to go through treatment for his alcoholism in December of 2007. He became actively involved with 12-Step recovery programs while he was in sober living and was able to find his first love, the great outdoors. While he was cleaning up the wreckage that his addiction caused he was able to engage in many adventures and was able to hone his skills in backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, white water kayaking and rafting, and wilderness emergency medicine. He knew how important it was for his sobriety and general life satisfaction to engage in the activities that he loves.

Colin entered the field of addiction treatment early in 2010 working for a young adult male wilderness program. This is where his passion for being in the wild places of the western united states and working with newly sober young men merged. He spent most of the last decade working with young men at a number of different programs before he landed at Legacy Outdoor Adventure where he ended his career in wilderness therapy as the Assistant Field Director. After leaving Legacy he was in charge of recreation therapy at a young adult program here in Salt Lake City before he joined the team at EVNSQ to build out and manage the adventuring element here.

JANIE CORBYN|Program Director|The Bloc

JANIE CORBYN|Program Director

Janie studied History and Political Science during college and is passionate about politics, human rights & immigration policy. She was also a professional pastry chef for years and enjoyed her experience working in celebrity kitchens.

Janie is one of our Program Directors and is also a person in long-term recovery. She is passionate about sharing her experience, strength, and hope with those in early recovery. Janie has strong case management skills, possesses high levels of engagement, and excels when working with families. She also does an incredible job when it comes to instilling hope and motivation in our clients. In addition, she assists clients with executive functioning and provides them with humor to help them through their hard days.

NATE SLAUGHTER|Chef Extraordinaire

NATE SLAUGHTER|Chef Extraordinaire

As a native to Utah, Nate has lived most of his life in the Salt Lake Valley. Raised by parents who taught him to love the outdoors, Nate enjoys spending as much time as
possible, camping, fishing, and snowboarding. Nate graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Communications and Public Relations. Professionally, Nate has worked in Sales and Sales Management for over 20 years, in industries ranging from outdoor recreation to hearing aids and everything in between.

As a self-taught chef, Nate has been cooking since the age of 9. With a love of working with his hands and a need for creative expression, Nate has decided to leave the
corporate world and dive into his one true passion…cooking delicious food for people who can appreciate it.

When Nate is not cooking at EVNSQ or spending time outdoors, he can be found in his home kitchen cooking for his wife, listening to Depeche Mode, and watching YouTube videos about 4X4 van modifications.



McKenzie received her Bachelor of Social Work degree along with her Advanced Substance Use Disorder Treatment Certification from the University of Utah. She has worked in the macro field of social work as the Development Director for a local nonprofit treatment facility, utilizing her knowledge of social services and substance use disorder as a grant writer and has built extensive professional relationships in the behavioral health community. McKenzie is passionate about recovery; her passion led her to work with Utah’s policy makers during Utah’s legislative session to help improve policies surrounding addiction and increase treatment services for those suffering from addiction. McKenzie works with individuals, families, and community on a micro level utilizing evidence-based practices of Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Recovery Management, Assertive Communication techniques, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. McKenzie works with individuals to help them connect to their values and live a purpose-driven life.

ANNIE TASSE|Client Services Specialist|EVNSQ

ANNIE TEASE|Client Services Specialist

Annie Tasse is a Michigan native from Metro-Detroit. She’s a Midwesterner at heart but fell in love with the mountains of Salt Lake City a few years ago. She studied English and women & gender studies at Loyola university of Chicago and lived there for many years. She is a balance house alumni and person in long term recovery. She is passionate about helping others to regain self worth at the beginning stages of their recovery process and loves working with the clients at EVNSQ and the Balance House Programs.

ALLIE LEE, MSW |Primary Therapist

ALLIE LEE, MSW | Primary Therapist

Allie Lee is a Utah native and received her Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from the University of Utah.  With over five years of experience working in the field of substance abuse and mental health, Allie spent most of her time working with families involved in the child welfare system. Because of her experience, she believes that individualized treatment cannot be successful without the focus on attachment and family systems work. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and her 2 dogs Otto and Moby. Allie likes to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding area hiking and camping in the Utah desert and mountains.

We’re Here for You, 24/7, 365

Call (801) 851-5260 to learn more about the clinical expertise of the Balance House staff members.