Aquila Recovery is a diverse group of people working together to bring you a comprehensive, evidence based addiction treatment program focused on your long term recovery. Learn more about our leadership and clinical teams below.

Aquila Recovery Team

Senior Leadership Team

Johnny Allem

Johnny Allem

Founder

Professional Background:

The philosophy and practice of Aquila Recovery stems from more than 25 years of recovery experience; engaging in my personal recovery, serving as a citizen advocate for addiction disease, researching new brain science developments, in addition to over 55 years of practical business experience.

My life as a reporter, public relations specialist, political campaign consultant, and business owner taught me how to find compelling truths and engage new audiences. While I succeeded in professional pursuits, my internal life was seriously out of balance. Alcohol seemed to give me the permission to have the confidence to face life. When it stopped working, I was truly hopeless.

Finding and investing in recovery renewed my existence. And it made no sense to me to be quiet about it. A key experience that informed how I founded Aquila came as an associate of the late US Senator Harold Hughes who pioneered advocacy for recovery in the modern era. I then served as DC Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health, president of Johnson Institute, and a founder of Faces and Voices of Recovery. One of my biggest thrills was conducting Recovery Ambassador workshops throughout the nation in 2004-2006, teaching advocacy and leadership skills to more than 3,000 people in recovery.

As new science developed to enhance treatment and recovery, I saw an opportunity to improve business practices and management to help clinicians use the science, embark on co-occurring treatment, and pioneer in Recovery Coaching and other peer-model supports. Aquila is the result of my findings and passion for moving treatment to serve earlier stages of illness.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
Start every day with a plan, knowing that if you haven’t changed it by noon you are not listening to what is happening around you. Always be an example of what you teach and share. 

Ask Me About...
Paddling in the Everglades, Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount, growing up in East Tennessee, how to make spaghetti carbanora.

Robert Coffey

Bobby Coffey

Executive Director

Professional Background:

My business career began more than 30 years ago working in the finance and insurance industries. It’s a career that taught me the importance of building meaningful relationships with my clients as well as the importance of honoring someone’s confidence.

Twenty-six years ago, I began my personal recovery journey. This is where I learned the importance of stepping out of myself to help someone else. This led to becoming an advocate for people in or seeking recovery from substance use disorders. Following the lead of Aquila Recovery’s Founder, Johnny Allem, I learned the value of sharing my personal story to make a difference in my community.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to combine my business experience and my recovery experience to start Aquila Recovery. I have a front row seat to watch the transformation of the lives of our clients and families.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
Get the right people on the bus and let them use their talents and abilities to make a difference.

Ask me about….
My new grandbaby, how a Mississippi boy ended up on Washington, DC and how excited I am about our Artful 12 Step groups and how they are helping our clients in a profound way.

Nike Hamilton

Omoronike (Nike') Hamilton

Clinical Director; MAC, NCC, LPC

Professional Background:

I completed a Masters degree in counseling over 30 years ago, and my desire to serve people with behavioral health needs has taken me in a number of directions in both the public and private sectors, including psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals, addictions clinics (both in-patient and outpatient settings). I've also provided counselor education and training, whether presenting at a national conference or provide training to clinicians enrolled in Co-occurring Clinical Competency classes. It is therefore, no surprise that my “ counseling journey” has formed the platform on which I stand today that allows me to be a strong proponent of a Comprehensive and Continuous Integrated System of Care (CCISC).

My role as a Clinical Director at Aquila has afforded me the opportunity to help cultivate a culture and environment that is trauma informed and strives towards co-occurring competency.

I have found it very exciting that, over the years, my role as a trainer and educator, I’ve been able to introduce the concept of integrated behavioral health to my peers and new clinicians, thus expanding our ability to assist those who are taking their individual journeys toward long term recovery.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
It is important to me as a supervisor to impart knowledge and nurture others. I continue to seek out cutting edge techniques and modalities that will allow me and my team to provide the most effective as well as ethical and evidence based treatments.

"Once a therapist always a therapist” and because of my background, I treat “what shows up” or collaborate with other professionals who can.

Ask Me About: 
My creative arts and television background, when I might be appearing on your TV next, and how my roots are spread across three continents making it both easy and very important to me to embrace different cultural perspectives to create a welcoming environment for all who come through Aquila Recovery’s front door.

Russ Kallina

Russ Kallina

Housing Director

Professional Background:  

After beginning my professional life in sales, I realized that working with and helping others was my true calling. This led me to obtaining a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and then teaching American History to 11th and 12th graders for 10 years. It was during this time, while nurturing the development of young adults, that I realized that I needed to direct my energies in my own development – which also meant dealing with my growing struggle with addiction.   

While doing the hard work of getting on the path of recovery, I had the good fortune of working for Jody Pegram (who is one of Aquila Recovery’s founders) as the Housing Director for a program he ran in Prescott, Arizona. And it was through that relationship I was asked to head the establishment and management of Aquila Recovery’s residential program. That was almost three years ago and it has been truly humbling (as well as hugely encouraging) to know all of the individuals who have been helped by the Aquila program. Accepting the offer to become part of the Aquila team is the best professional and personal choice I have made to date.

Work Philosophy / Approach:  
To work as long and as hard as it takes to get the job done, and at the end of the day to know I did right by both my clients and my employer.

Ask Me About:
My irrational obsession with the Tennessee Titans, how my recovery has changed my life and made waking up every day a pleasure and a miracle, reminding me to always remember how grateful I am.

Rebecca Petillo

Rebecca Petillo

Art & Mindfulness Director

Professional Background:

I have been involved in the arts and museum work since my undergraduate days,and the arc of my life has also included side trips into broadcast public relations, film production and artistic work in various media. My love of the arts, coupled with my long-term recovery and dedication to a daily meditation practice, prepare me perfectly for my position at Aquila. My love of teaching meditation and recovery principles and deep experience in both the creative process and curation uniquely qualify me to guide others through an artful expression of their own recovery journey.

Work Philosophy:
Be curious; try something new and be useful. Radical amazement is waiting. 

Ask me about...
How to meditate, it's easier than you think and there are so many ways to do it. My latest creation or exhibit. My kids, wow what a ride!

Clinical Team 

Billie Mitzner

Billie Mitzner

Sr. Therapist; NCC, CACI, LPC

Professional Background:

Prior to becoming a substance use therapist, I worked in the financial services industry for 25 years. Those years of developing and maintaining strong relationships highlighted the importance of commitment, trust and follow through.

Fourteen years ago, I decided to pursue a dream I’d had since childhood, which was to become a therapist. After making that decision, it took several years to figure out how I could reach that goal, which also meant having to accept that it would be a seven-year commitment of time to achieve.

As I gained the necessary education and experience, I had the great fortune to become part of Aquila Recovery’s clinical staff, as well as being part of the larger recovery and therapy community in Washington, DC. I’m pleased to see that both have continued to grow and gain recognition for the positive impact they have had on people’s lives.

I now work as a therapist at both Aquila Recovery and in private practice. But no matter where I’m working with my clients, there is nothing better than seeing someone finally smile.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
Start with people’s strengths not “shoulds”…and work from there.

Ask me about…
Making a big change in your life even when you think it is too late. Trust me, you can do it.

David Havsky

David Havsky

Sr. Therapist; MA, LPC

Professional Background:

During my 12 years as a professional (AEA) actor, I became aware of how therapeutic the dramatic arts can be for individuals and groups dealing with addiction and co-occurring disorders. This led to my achieving a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree, with a Concentration in Drama Therapy, from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Over the ensuing years I have found that the combination of research-based clinical practice and drama therapy can make a real difference in the lives of people struggling with a substance use disorder. Recovery from addiction becomes a realizable goal when we recognize that we are more courageous, more resilient and more capable than we had previously thought.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
Assisting my clients to acknowledge their present state while facilitating their movement toward embracing an expanded range of “authentic roles” that can aid them in the goal of developing and sustaining a full and satisfying life free of substance misuse.

Ask Me About...
My interest in the neurobiology of addiction and brain resilience, my work with seniors, and my interest in EMDR as a treatment for trauma and PTSD. 

Karen Buehler

Karen Buehler

Sr. Therapist; MS, LPC

Professional Background:

Working in the field of substance use and co-occurring disorders represents my fourth career change, and my most rewarding. I would say the overarching theme in my professional life has been to work as an “agent of change”, and as a therapist at Aquila, I literally watch people transform before my eyes. 

It was also my own journey in recovery that drew me to this field. I know from personal experience the devastation of addiction, and I am honored to be a part of helping clients reclaim and restore their lives. The healing of substance use and mental health disorders is exhilarating and exhausting, compelling and challenging; on a daily basis, I am inspired and humbled by the courage and determination of our clients and their families.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
I strongly believe in an integrative therapeutic and holistic approach to treatment; addiction impacts all aspects of one’s life, so should recovery.

Ask Me About...
The different jobs I have had; Relapse Warning Signs Charades; “The meaning of life, the universe, and everything.”

Patti Goohs

Patti Goohs

Therapist; MA, NCC, LGPC

Professional Background:

After graduating with a BA in English Literature, and pursuing my Masters Degree in creative writing, I changed direction. This included getting married, moving overseas, and then returning stateside to raise a family. I was blessed to be able to stay home and watch as my four children grew into healthy individuals while I found a sense of purpose outside of the house by working part-time in home health care and as a certified yoga instructor.

After several dark years, during which my own personal journey through recovery began, I determined that it was not enough for me to simply walk the walk. I wanted to do more. In 2011, I returned to school and received my Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling with the recognition that substance abuse and addiction should be my main focus. I had been one of the lucky ones, finding grace and an ability to once more see the beauty and wonder of living life with transparency, and I came to believe that this could be so for anyone. I am happy to say that I now definitely talk the talk!

In 2013, I became an intern in an addiction clinic, and I had earned the role of Lead Clinician when I departed in mid-2016. During these last years of facilitating groups and working with individuals and family members, I’ve been continuously blown away as my clients transform their lives. Observing as they grow, fill their tool chests, and build their own diverse skillsets has made me even more dedicated to helping them on their own walks. Seeing recovery happen- now that’s where it’s at! I am so excited to be part of the Aquila family as we all continue on in this journey, together.

Work Philosophy / Approach:

One can’t skirt the pain, or go around it somehow in the hopes of avoiding it. No, it is the process of going through the pain and getting to the other side where the real healing begins.

Ask me about…

Raising four teenagers who are all head home for the summer, moving from northwest DC to a log cabin in Potomac, and my favorite exercise of all times, “Trashcan”.

Chelsea Cambell

Chelsea Cambell

Counselor; MA, NCC, LGPC

Professional Background

While my interest in psychology was sparked at an early age, my professional journey began at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  While obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, I gained early work experience as a research assistant at an anxiety clinic and as an intern for the drug treatment court program in the public defender's office. 

After graduating from Temple, I moved to DC to pursue my dream of becoming an addictions counselor. I attended The George Washington University and graduated with my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. During my time at GWU, I interned at Community Connections, a non-profit that specializes in trauma-informed care. I provided therapy and case management services to clients who were struggling with a wide variety of issues such as severe mental illness, addiction, trauma, homelessness, victimization, and legal involvement. I also interned at the George Washington Community Counseling Services Center, a training facility located on GWU's campus. 

I am very proud to have been a member of Aquila’s clinical team since June 2016 and look forward to continuing to help new clients as they address their addictions and develop healthier lifestyles, creating a better future for themselves and those in their communities. 

Work Philosophy
"A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement." - Bo Bennett 

Ask Me About
My psychodynamic counseling background, the certification I am currently working towards, and my relapse prevention group!

Olivia Mancini

Olivia Mancini

Social Worker

Professional Background:

What do journalism, playing music, teaching, and social work have in common? They each demand a love of getting to know people as individuals, a desire to understand and appreciate their backgrounds and environments, and passion to connect and relate by whatever means available.

I have worn all these hats over the last 20 years, and my quest to connect and relate – to help people achieve their goals - has led me now to Aquila Recovery, where I combine my clinical skills with my music background to add to Aquila's recovery toolkit.

I graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in History and from Columbia University with a Master of Social Work.

Work Philosophy / Approach:
It is my job to help you be your best self.

Ask Me About...
My experiences traveling the world playing music, growing up in Washington, DC, and combining music-making and exploration with recovery.