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Michael J. Haws - Executive Director

Michael grew up in Farmington, Utah, with four brothers and a sister, not far from where Red Barn Academy sits today. He was a Boy Scout and church missionary, from a close-knit family. After returning from his mission, Michael attended Utah State University on an athletic scholarship. He suffered a back injury that ended his collegiate sports career, but he still managed to graduate with a BA in marketing. Unfortunately, he also graduated with an addiction to pain killers.

After college Michael worked as a Pharmaceutical Rep, then a Biotech Rep but his addiction to opiates continued to worsen. He eventually left the medical field to become a commercial real estate broker. He was highly successful initially, but his addiction eventually became unmanageable. Michael overdosed several times, was repeatedly arrested and spent several stints in jail, psych hospitals and rehab facilities. He ultimately wound up divorced, bankrupt and out of control.

Then something happened that changed the course of Michael’s life, On June, 29th, 2012, his younger brother, Dustin Haws, died from a heroin overdose. Initially, Michael went even further off the deep end; another car crash, another DUI and waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed, on his way back to jail. But then, on July 26, 2012 at the very table that now serves as the Red Barn Academy conference room table, Michael had a conversation with his dad, Rich Haws, that saved his life. Soon thereafter, Michael, his dad, and the rest of the family, made the decision to create a program at the family’s “red barn” to support individuals like he and his brother.

Michael completed the Substance Use Disorder program at the University of Utah in the Social Work Department in 2014. He worked as a case manager for over three years at Davis Behavioral Health and the red barn became a hub for a variety of addiction services to help those in need. In 2017 the Haws family decided to fully commit to making the red barn a classic therapeutic community and “Red Barn Academy” accepted their first student in August of 2017.

Now Michael is the Executive Director of Red Barn Academy, a flourishing TC with 50+ students. He is also an Ironman and Spartan Warrior and is happily married to the girl of his dreams, Tawni Goldsberry Haws, and they have a beautiful baby boy, Maverick. As a true survivor of the abyss of addiction and the ravages it can wreak on families and society at large, Michael is proud to now be able to help others find a life of built on integrity, discipline, hard work and family.

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John Tervort - Program Director

John was born in American Fork, Utah but grew up in West Valley City. He was raised by his mom and stepfather along with his two sisters in a great environment with good morals and values. Despite his parents’ best efforts and the positive influences they provided, he started getting into trouble. As a teenager he started experimenting with alcohol and drugs. It started out as fun and exciting but quickly it turned into a full-blown addiction, with him ending up in jail 30 days after he turned 18. He was sentenced to prison for the first time when he was 23.

The next 20 years of his life was a vicious cycle of continued use and incarceration. He would do good for a little while, but just couldn’t seem to hold on to the positive lifestyle and stay consistent. February 10th, 2020, John found himself once again sitting in jail and on his way to prison for the umpteenth time. Tired and broken, he came across a Red Barn Academy flyer in his section of the jail. He wrote a letter and went through the interview process and was accepted to Red Barn on May 1st, 2020. While at Red Barn he experienced working with Red Barn Movers and Sticky Bird, until he became the Food Service Manager full-time. He quickly found the key to his happiness was being of service to others. Given the opportunity to be in leadership, he eventually became a House Manager and started really liking the person he was becoming. At the end of his 2-year commitment he decided to stay a 3rd year, giving back to the program that changed his life. On March 1st, 2023, Red Barn offered John a position as a Program Manager. Today, John is the program director. John has the opportunity to reconnect with his 3 sons, his beautiful daughter and his 4 wonderful grandchildren. John has found hope and he is no longer defined by his past. He continues to be able to teach the students of Red Barn the tools and skills that were taught to him and lead them on their own journey toward reinventing their lives.

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Nicholas Andersen - Program Manager

Nicholas was born and raised in Davis County. He had what some would say a typical childhood. He was an athlete, a good student, and had plenty of friends. He experimented with drugs and alcohol in high school, but still graduated and chose to go on a mission. He served his two-year mission in Singapore and came back happy, healthy, and ready to conquer the world.

Shortly after his mission, Nicholas once again fell down a slippery slope and began using drugs and alcohol. After a couple of years of this, and causing a lot of damage, his family wanted to help. With their help, he moved to Idaho with his sister and her family. Nicholas was able to put his life back together to some degree – or so he thought.

After several years, he went from good to bad to worse. Back in Utah, he found himself in jail multiple times – not only for drug charges, but criminal as well. Rehabs, therapy, and even drug court could not help Nicholas from this path of destruction. After his fourth probation violation and additional felony charges, he was looking at spending years in prison.

Nicholas knew that his could be better and he wanted to change. His lawyer had mentioned Red Barn Academy, and so he wrote a letter to Red Barn Academy and earned himself an interview with Michael Haws. In his interview, Michael left an impact on Nicholas by telling him how much he doesn’t love his family. If he did love his family, he wouldn’t be sitting on the other side of glass. The good news was Red Barn Academy was the right place for Nicholas, and he was accepted into the academy.

In 2019, his journey to reinvent his life began. He worked for the moving department and overcame his negative behaviors through hard work and service to others. He became a leader in the house and eventually became the moving manager. He was becoming a person that could be trusted, relied on, and who could serve as an inspiration to others. After completing his two-year commitment and with the guidance of his Red Barn family, he decided to stay for a third year to give back and set in stone the man that he was becoming. The principles taught at Red Barn became more than just a practice for him – it became a way of life.

During his third year, Nicholas was asked if he wanted to work for Red Barn. Nicholas gets the opportunity to help every student – just like the students before helped him. He feels privileged to help point every student who arrives at Red Barn towards their own success story. Today, Nicholas is a father, a son, and a productive member of his community.

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Shane Goodbar - Program Manager

Shane grew up on a small farm in Sanpete County, Utah. He had a step-brother the same age as him, a younger brother, and a baby sister. His parents separated when he was very young, which gave him the opportunity to succeed in life with the support of not one, but two supportive families. This would turn out to be harder than expected.

His early years in high school were exactly what they should have been. Full of excitement and laughter, he was a natural athlete and lettered in football and wrestling his freshman year. This was also the year he started drinking. His drinking led to drug use, and halfway through high school, his life spiraled out of control.

His addictions took over his life. He lost all of his friends and became isolated from his family. Sports also became a thing of the past. At the young age of 18, he found out that he was going to be a father. He decided then that his drug use days were over, but drinking continued to be a struggle.

Shane was happily married for a short time. He had two little girls and was able to stay away from drinking – but only for a short period of time. A little while later, things began to unravel. He found himself divorced and isolated from his family. Once again, he turned to drinking as the answer.

By the age of 24, Shane had been in and out of jail several times within a short amount of time. He remarried and had two more little girls, but even this could not stop him from drinking. Shane ended up in jail three more times and was looking at criminal charges that would send him to prison for a minimum of 15 years to life.

This was the ultimate rock bottom for him. In a desperate search for help, he reached out to Red Barn Academy. Something had to change, and Shane knew it was him that needed to change. Red Barn Academy was going to give him the opportunity of a lifetime.

Shane spent two years at the academy where he learned and grew from the ones that had come before him. Now he is giving back what he has learned to current and future students. He also held numerous leadership positions while attending Red Barn. Upon graduating, he was offered a position as part of the staff. He is currently the General Manager of Sticky Bird, an academy-operated restaurant in the heart of Farmington. He now lives with his amazing wife and two youngest daughters. Every day he is able to wake up and take his girls to school, go to work, and come home as the man he was always meant to be.

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Jeffrey Reese - Operations Manager

Jeffrey Reese was born and raised in Sandy, Utah where he grew up with his parents and younger
twin brothers.
Despite being born and raised in Utah, he and his brothers were not raised in the traditionally
religious household Utah is known for. This oftentimes contributed to a feeling of isolation.
Jeffrey vividly recalls being bullied early in his school days. However, despite this, Jeffrey was
a focused student, earning straight A’s through high school and even lettering in academics as a
result of his scholastic achievements.

After graduation from Brighton High School, and with a dream of becoming a veterinarian,
Jeffrey briefly attended the University of Utah after high school, working at a veterinary clinic to
help pay tuition.
While in college, at 19 he began drinking and attending parties as he started to get comfortable
and make friends. However, he still felt uncomfortable inside his own skin and in class. He was
too timid to ask professors questions and his studies began taking a backseat to work. Once his
grades began to slip, Jeffery decided to drop out of college and work full time.
At the age of 23, Jeffrey married his high school sweetheart but divorced after 18 months. The
dissolution of his marriage resulted in increased alcohol abuse, resulting in a DUI and brief stints
in jail.
During this time, after running his friend’s restaurant and observing his mother’s career in the
industry, Jeffrey decided on a career in the restaurant industry. While he loved being in the
hospitality industry, his life continued to derail due to poor choices that were fueled by his
increasing alcohol consumption, also contributing to his feelings of isolation.
Needing a change, Jeffrey accepted a job opportunity to move to Denver, Colorado in 2018,
where his over-consumption of alcohol truly got out of hand and became an everyday
occurrence. Being introverted and lacking friends, outside of work, he never had to leave his
house and could drink in an endless cycle.
Life really started falling apart when he turned 35. After another failed relationship and a broken
engagement, his parents purchased him a one-way ticket to Florida with the hopes that he could
stay with a cousin and hopefully start a new life. He lasted a total of 12 days, during which time
he quickly learned the hard lesson that you cannot run away from your problems. Jeffrey knew
he needed to find his way and take back his life. Fortunately, Jeffrey’s mother had a connection
at Red Barn and reached out to them hoping that Red Barn academy would be the answer he was
looking for.
Still in Florida, Jeffrey initially failed his interview with Red Barn due to being intoxicated. But
realizing that this was his last chance, Jeffrey passed his second interview and flew back to Utah
to enter the program. Being accepted into Red Barn provided Jeffrey with the second chance that
he was seeking, and he has not looked back since. He has now been at the Barn since July of
His journey has not been without its challenges and adopting the mindset that Red Barn instills
in its students took patience. During his time here Jeffrey has developed a mantra that he strongly
believes in which is, “consistency plus patience equals reward”.
To have the courage and consistency to keep doing the next right thing, and being of service to
others, has brought him to where he is now. He is grateful to be giving back to the place and
people that inspired him and helped him to become the man he is today.
Jeffrey has now been at Red Barn Academy for two and a half years. While he was a student
here, Jeffrey worked as a moving clerk, the moving manager, and as a house manager. In
October of 2022 he became staff-in-training and as of January 1, 2023 is a full time staff
member. Jeffrey is currently the Red Barn Thrift Manager and continues to strive to stay patient
and consistent.

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Wayne Snyder - Property Manager

Wayne Snyder grew up in Provo, Utah and has been a member of the Red Barn family since November 2019. Wayne has a thirty-year career that covers “a little bit of everything” including automotive, diesel, industrial mechanics, general maintenance, HVAC, and welding. Wayne has even rebuilt an engine in a D-9. As the Red Barn Farms Property Manager, Wayne oversees all construction projects, facility, property maintenance, and repairs. Red Barn Farms properties include Red Barn Academy, the adjoining farm, Sticky Bird, Red Barn Thrift, Red Barn Offices, Park Place Apartments, and all of the adjacent land. When not working Wayne enjoys hunting and camping. Wayne is grateful to Red Barn Academy for helping him find the way to be himself.

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Brad Bingham - IT Manager

Brad Bingham is the eldest of four siblings. Growing up, he was raised in a stable and nurturing
household by his parents, Van and Tami Bingham, who provided him with everything he needed and
more. His early years were spent in the quiet farming community of Corinne, Utah. This environment
instilled in him the principles of hard work and honesty. As a teenager, Brad had a variety of interests,
including hunting, dirt bike riding, and all things related to computers.

However, as he entered his teenage years, Brad had intense feelings of insecurity and social anxiety. At
the age of 16, he turned to alcohol as a way to cope with those pressures. This coping mechanism
escalated, leading him to experiment with prescription pills by the time he turned 18. Unfortunately,
this experimentation quickly evolved into a full-blown addiction that persisted for over 15 years.
Throughout this period, Brad damaged numerous relationships and friendships, causing a lot of guilt and
heartache within himself.

In March of 2020, Brad faced a turning point when he found himself incarcerated, again. He was
potentially facing more than 15 years in prison. Therefore, he was motivated for change and a better
future. He realized he wanted more from his life than the unfulfilling pattern of drugs, crime, and
incarceration into which he had fallen. Faced with the prospect of prison, he sought help from the Red
Barn Academy, recognizing that it was not only what he wanted, but what he truly needed.

On September 21st, 2020, Brad began his journey at the Red Barn Academy, which marked the start of a
remarkable transformation. During his time, he underwent a profound personal journey of growth that
enabled him to rediscover self-love and mend his relationships with his family in a healthy and
constructive way.

After being a student of the Red Barn Academy for a little over 2 years, Brad’s perseverance paid off. He
was offered a Staff in Training position as the IT Manager for the Red Barn. On July 1st, 2023, Brad
achieved his aspiration of becoming a full-time staff member for Red Barn Farms. This achievement not
only marked a significant milestone in Brad’s personal journey but also highlighted his resilience and
determination in overcoming his past struggles.

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Eddy Diaz-Vela - Senior Accountant

Eduardo Diaz-Vela, known as Eddy to most, embodies curiosity and a passion for exploration. Originating
from Guadalajara, Mexico, his family moved to Utah at the age of two. He grew up mostly in Kaysville
and graduated from Davis High School in 2014 and his family’s unwavering support fueled a desire for
higher learning.

Eddy’s academic journey witnessed various turns. A brief stint at the University of Utah proved to not be
the right fit, prompting a shift to Accounting at Weber State University. There, academic success was
buoyed by a steadfast friendship and support. A pivotal juncture awaited during his junior year – a study
abroad experience in Valencia, Spain. This transformative interlude reshaped his perspectives, catalyzing
personal growth and a renewed sense of purpose.

Transitioning to his senior year, Eddy confronted challenges – navigating moments of self-doubt and
grappling with episodes of depression. In 2018, he triumphantly earned his bachelor’s degree. His
professional career commenced in corporate accounting within a startup ecommerce enterprise.
However, he longed for more impactful change, and redirected his trajectory towards community
development and the Peace Corps. In 2019, he embarked on volunteer opportunity to Albania, a journey
disrupted by the global pandemic.

Amidst adversity emerged an opportunity. Eddy and his future wife embarked on an educational pursuit
in Scotland. Eddy’s journey culminated in a master’s degree in international business management from
Edinburgh Napier University in 2022. Upon returning, he found resonance with Red Barn Farms.
Assuming the role of Senior Accountant, Eddy strives to merge his worldly perspective with the
organization’s mission by providing his experiences and knowledge while also learning from Red Barn
staff and students.

Beyond his professional commitments, Eddy is a fervent soccer enthusiast, an enthusiastic advocate for
environmental sustainability, and an explorer alongside his wife.

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Mario Hernandez - Admissions Manager

Mario was born in Lancaster, California. His parents immigrated illegally from a small town in Jalisco, Mexico. Throughout his upbringing, there was a frequent relocation between Mexico and Utah until a permanent settlement in Utah was established when he turned 12. Childhood for Mario was marked by financial challenges, characterized by limited resources, insufficient food, and unstable housing. Early on, the struggle with finances motivated him to seek a different trajectory for his future.

Associating with gang members and living the lifestyle that follows, Mario engaged in criminal activities starting at the age of 15, leading to multiple encounters with juvenile detention. As he matured, the severity of his transgressions increased, ultimately resulting in serious criminal charges related to major distribution.

Facing the prospect of a prolonged prison sentence, a turning point occurred when the judge offered Mario an opportunity for probation, which he successfully completed, prompting positive life changes. Subsequent life events included marriage, the birth of two children, and relocations to Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada. After maintaining sobriety for about eight years, marital difficulties led to a divorce, triggering a regression into a destructive lifestyle.

Returning to Utah in 2019, the following year saw Mario facing six felony arrests, culminating in a critical arrest on his birthday, January 8, 2021, surrounded by law enforcement. In the wake of this apprehension, he recalled a Red Barn Academy flyer encountered during a previous incarceration, prompting him to seek intervention.

During the sentencing phase, Judge Harold McDade, displaying faith in Mario’s potential for change, granted him an opportunity for redemption. Subsequent completion of the Red Barn Academy program has been transformative, saving Mario’s life and facilitating the reunification with his children. Equipped with the tools to lead a recovery-oriented life characterized by integrity and accountability, Mario currently serves as the Admissions Manager at Red Barn Academy. His gratitude towards Red Barn Academy is profound, as its intervention has been instrumental in his journey toward finding his own whole-person change.

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Angette Howard - Sticky Bird General Manager

Angette Howard, a seasoned professional with over three decades in the restaurant industry, brings a rich history of impeccable customer service to her roles at prestigious establishments like Park City Mountain Resort, Huntsman Corporate Office, and The Point at The Huntsman Cancer Institute. Taking a hiatus in the past six years to explore social media and embrace the joys of nannying, Angette returns to the professional arena with a wealth of diverse skills. Born and raised in the picturesque landscapes of Utah, she attributes her success to the foundation laid by her amazing parents and family life. Angette seamlessly merges her extensive professional background with the personal touch cultivated during her break, offering a unique blend of experience and empathy to her new endeavor here at Red Barn.  Currently residing in Davis County with her husband, she cherishes moments with their amazing son and two dogs.

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