Leadership

Shawn McMillen, MPA, ASUDC

Executive Director

Shawn began working within the field of substance abuse treatment services in 1987 at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). While at UNI, he moved from serving as a counselor on the graveyard shift to the position of Primary Counselor on the Recovery Unit, and Program Manager for Experiential Therapy (Ropes Course). In 1998, Shawn served as the Statewide Intake Coordinator for a substance abuse treatment provider tasked to develop a centralized assessment unit. After joining First Step House in 2003, Shawn earned his Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Utah, and in 2005, Shawn became the Executive Director of First Step House. During his tenure as Executive Director, First Step House treatment capacity has grown by 75%, and its transitional housing capacity has grown by 200%. FSH annual revenues have grown by 157%.

Austin Davis

Associate Director

After working in the for-profit sector for five years as the owner/operator of both a landscape firm and a tree removal company, Austin earned a degree in Business Accounting from the University of Utah in 2001. From there, Austin added to his business management experience by creating a construction development company that he operated for five years before joining First Step House in 2008. Since 2008, Austin has worked side by side with Executive Director, Shawn McMillen, to help First Step House move successfully into the 21st Century.  Austin’s prior business management experience and his degree in business accounting provides him with the technical skills needed to solve the problems of the past while preparing for the opportunities of the future. At First Step House, Austin has served as a Driver for the Transportation Department, Project Assistant, Financial Director, and now as the Associate Director. As the Associate Director, Austin is responsible for all day-to-day operations at First Step House.  Austin is a person in long-term recovery, a First Step House graduate, and an active member of the local recovery community.  He currently serves as the Board Treasurer for USARA (Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness).

Sarah Bauman, MBA, SSW

Development Director

Sarah began her career in the nonprofit sector in 1997 as a crisis worker and victim advocate at Seekhaven Family Resource Center – a domestic violence shelter and resource center located in Moab, UT. In 2001, Sarah began working with nonprofit organizations as a contract grant writer and development coordinator, and in 2002 she co-founded, WabiSabi, a community nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for nonprofit organizations.  Since that time, she founded the Moab Free Health Clinic and served on the Moab City Council from 2008-2011. In 2009, Sarah entered the field of substance abuse prevention as a Prevention Specialist and subsequently as the Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for Four Corners Community Behavioral Health. Sarah has an M.B.A. in healthcare management is a licensed social service worker (SSW).

Jared Ferguson, LCSW

Clinical Director

Jared is a Utah native and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who completed his Bachelor and Master of Social Work Degrees from the University of Utah in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Along with his MSW, Jared completed an emphasis in substance abuse treatment. During his graduate education, Jared completed two internships at the Utah State Prison; an experience that forever changed his outlook on issues of justice and social equality. Jared has since focused on the areas of criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse and he enjoys working with many types of clients. Cumulatively, these experiences have given him a solid understanding of the difficulties of dually-diagnosed clients. After 5 years of therapeutic experience, Jared accepted the position of Clinical Director; a goal he had held since entering his practice. Jared works to build upon the strengths of the clinical staff he oversees and plans on serving First Step House for many years to come. When he's not working, you can often find him pedaling around the Salt Lake Valley with his friends and family.

Matthew Warthen

Clinical Operations Director

Matthew Warthen studied clinical psychology at the University of Utah and has a strong background in research and statistics. While at the University of Utah, Matthew led a research project studying addiction and he has published a number of articles in the areas of addiction and neurobiology. Matthew is currently working on increasing standards across the organization. This includes creating a better environment for clients and employees through developing management skills and improving internal processes. Matthew is working to further develop the use of empirical data to guide productivity, program development, and client care.

Rodney Symes

Operations Director

Rodney is a veteran in the realm of substance abuse treatment. He first began working in the field in 1999 as a House Manager for the Alcohol Treatment Center, located in Salt Lake City. Soon afterward, Rodney advanced his skills by participating in the Alcohol and Drug program at the University of Utah. During his studies, Rodney performed his practicum at First Step House. His potential was quickly recognized by management and Rodney was asked to join the First Step House treatment team as a counselor in 2000. He graduated from the Alcohol and Drug program the following year and was promoted to the role of Director of Outpatient Services in 2004. In this capacity, Rodney assisted with the development and growth of the department, a task which eventually led to his current position as Director of Operations.

Jazz Hamilton

Human Resource Director

Jazz discovered a love for nonprofit work when he was 20 years old and working for the YMCA residential camps in Bellefontaine, Ohio. After graduating from Bowling Green State University in 1996 (go Falcons!) with a BS in psychology, Jazz began working for the YMCA in Seattle (go Seahawks!). He started as a Lifeguard and worked to become the Senior Program Director of Membership & Marketing. After moving to Salt Lake City in 2008, Jazz became employed with the Salvation Army as the Business Manager where he developed an understanding of the needs of those struggling with addiction as well as the rewards of helping people achieve their recovery goals. He began his career at First Step House in October 2011 as the Human Resource Manager and since then he has used his skills and experiences to recruit, hire, and train qualified staff who are committed to the First Step House mission, possess an outward mindset, and are highly invested in the success of our patients. In 2016, Jazz joined the executive team in the role of Human Resource Director; he looks forward to continuing to contribute to First Step House while embracing the challenges, rewards, and triumphs along the way. Jazz works tirelessly with our team to seek out the solution to every problem and is not afraid to make misteaks!