Lynn Echols, MSN, RN
Anita “Lynn” Echols joined the team at Foundations Recovery Network in January of 2017. Born and raised in Habersham County, Georgia, she earned her BSN from Brenau University and her MSN from Piedmont College.
Echols, who became CEO at Black Bear Lodge in December of 2018, is also a registered nurse, a green belt level in Lean Six Sigma, and a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives. Her many years of nursing in critical care, emergency medicine, and psychiatric care, as well as administrative leadership practice, serve her well in her current role.
A sense of purpose drew Echols to mental and behavioral healthcare, and she’s passionate about her staff feeling supported so that they can deliver quality patient care. Her goal is to be the leader that she would want to have, so she leads with integrity, compassion, and drive.
Echols and her husband have two adult children. In her free time, you can find her spending time with them and traveling to new places.
Jennifer Hoodecheck, LCSW, MAC
Jennifer Hoodecheck joined the team at Black Bear Lodge as a therapist in December 2014. She later became a clinical manager before moving into her role as the clinical director. She received her master’s in social work from Austin Peay University and her undergraduate in psychology from Ashford University.
In addition to being a licensed clinical social worker, Hoodecheck is a certified trauma therapist, having spent most of her career working with people impacted by family violence, sexual violence, military trauma, and trauma as a result of substance use disorder. “I have seen the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability of people to heal,” Hoodecheck shares.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Hoodecheck has also had the opportunity to live all over the country. She notes, “This fed my adventurer soul and love of meeting new people. I learned that no matter where I am, I can make it home.” Though Georgia has been her home since 2014, Hoodecheck still manages to head to Minnesota every summer to spend time with family on one of its 10,000 lakes.
Hoodecheck’s passion for working with others shows through, as she shares, “There is nothing better than seeing the light, the hope return in someone”. She’s grateful to work at Black Bear Lodge because of the compassionate team approach that fosters a safe place for people to recover.
When she’s not working, Hoodecheck enjoys spending time with her family and friends or hiking a north Georgia trail. A wanderlust spirit, she loves to travel and explore new places and meet new people. When she’s not traveling, Hoodecheck rejuvenates by reading, kayaking, visiting live music venues, or having a cup of coffee with an old or new friend.
Roy E. Smith, MD Board Certified in Addiction Medicine, Family Medicine
Dr. Smith is board certified in addiction medicine and family medicine and is the Medical Director for Black Bear Lodge. Prior to Black Bear, Dr. Smith was the attending medical physician at Pavillon in North Carolina and was an Assistant Professor at USC School of Medicine in Greenville SC. Before Pavillon, he had his own private practice in Camden SC. He is a graduate of The Citadel and received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Dr. Smith is a Past President of the SC chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Dr. Smith enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and children. Their hobbies include road cycling, mountain biking, hiking, and some golfing!
Regional Human Resources Director
Vince Foley holds a BA in criminal justice administration and has worked human resources for well over a decade. In 2013, he became regional human resources director for Black Bear Lodge and Foundations Atlanta-Midtown and Foundations Roswell, two of Foundations Recovery Network’s Intensive Outpatient Programs. Raised in Homestead, Florida, Foley says he came to this line of work by “the grace of God. Someone gave me a chance to do more and be more, and I did,” he explains. He’s passionate about being able to serve both patients and employees with the compassion and dedication they deserve in order to assist them in making their lives better and more complete.
When not working, he can be found spending time with his wife and three boys. Foley also enjoys helping others.
Director of Performance Improvement and Risk Management
A Georgia native, Cassie Head currently makes her home in Batesville, on the beautiful Soque River. She joined the Black Bear staff in 2013 as an executive assistant, moving to director of performance improvement and risk management in 2017. She holds a BA in business administration/accounting and an MBA, both from Piedmont College.
Head’s previous roles include manager of performance improvement for Sherwood Clinical, where she fell in love with the process of ensuring accreditation/compliance. She loves hard facts and data, so it was a natural fit. “Compliance/accreditation are what keep a company alive,” she says. “If you are following the rules and regulations provided to you by your licensing board and accrediting body, then you know that you are doing things right and that you are not compromising patient care.” Head goes on to add, “We are here for our patients, and my job is to ensure that we provide the best care possible for them. People come to us looking for hope. When I do my job to the best of my ability, I am a part of helping provide that hope, even if I never interact with a patient.”
Head and her husband have one young daughter. When not working, they shop, read, hike, swim, and adventure together. They also love being on the lake during the summer and are always looking for new adventures in their backyard.
Director of Admissions
Originally from West Georgia, Matt joined the BBL staff in 2015 in the patient care department, as a Residential Assistant. In long-term recovery himself, he worked as a program manager for a court approved men’s program for 3 years before moving into the healthcare sector of substance abuse treatment. After supervising the RA Dept for many years, Matt completed his bachelor’s degree in business with a specialization in healthcare management, and then moved into his current role as Director of Admissions. Matt enjoys working in the field, but especially has enjoyed being a part of a new patient’s initial engagement in our program.
Matt states, “Initial interaction is such a critical part for any experience. When dealing with substance abuse, it may be what sets or breaks a patient’s trust in our facility. It’s critical to have buy-in from those we serve and their loved ones, to give them faith that they made the right direction by coming to Black Bear. It enhances the patient experience, and that may have life-long implications when dealing with addiction. Our facility is awesome, but it’s our staff that make this mountain, and what we do here, so special. I’m grateful to be a part of that experience.”
In his free time, Matt enjoys reading and doing little art projects. His wife, an LPC, and he have two dogs, one who is partly paralyzed, and three cats, one with a seizure disorder, who round out their family. Matt states, “Some things in this world need special love and attention. It makes our hearts happy to be able to give them all they need, and more. Both in our professional and personal lives.”
Kent Dayton, BSN, RN
Director of Nursing
Kent Dayton joined Black Bear in December of 2021, as the Director of Nursing. Kent earned a BS in Psychology and an MS in Counseling from Georgia State University, as well as a BSN from Brenau University. Kent currently holds a State of Georgia RN license and a Multi-State Compact RN license. Nursing is a second career for Kent, after early retirement from the State of Georgia, where he worked in child protection with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Kent is also a veteran of the United States Army.
Kent has been a lifetime resident of Georgia where he raised two children. In his spare time, Kent likes to spend time with his family and pets.
Director of Plant Operations
Pete was a Distribution Center Manager at Applied Industrial Technologies (an industrial supplies distributor) for 39 years. He was recognized in “Industrial Distribution Manager’s” magazine as “Distribution Center Manager of the Year” for launching a successful ISO9002 program. Leading his management team, Pete achieved the highest ever score for employee satisfaction at a warehouse from an employee satisfaction survey conducted by Cole and Associates. He has extensive Leadership training and excels at improving moral, he has been and continues to be highly respected by the teams he leads. He is a LEAN Leader and “Green Belt” certified.
After an early retirement, he moved to North Georgia, and on April 27, 2020, he started a rewarding 2nd career as “Director Plant Operations”, Black Bear Lodge Treatment Center. Since starting as DPO at Black Bear Lodge, he has studied and am become well versed in The Joint Commission. He has a thorough knowledge of Black Bear operations directing Facilities, IT, Environmental Services, Culinary, and Transportation. He is proud to shout out about such a fine group of people he leads, who love what they do, and show respect for each other and all staff. His focus now is to support his teams, navigate UHS policies, provide exceptional customer jubilation, implement improvement ideas, and manage staff needs. He is quick to discuss his love for Black Bear Lodge and the healing service we provide.