Our Staff

Ron McKiernan

Ron McKiernan started working in the alcohol and drug counseling profession in 1982 and received certification as a Chemical Dependency Counselor in 1987. In 1996, he grandfathered his Certification into the Kentucky Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification. He has been certified as a National Alcohol and Drug Counselor from 1990 to the present. During his 28 years of practice Ron has been a leader in the field serving as the first Employee Assistance Program Director for the City of Louisville in 1984 and later developing the Thoroughbred Addiction Counseling of Kentucky (TACK) program which continues to operate on all four thoroughbred race tracks.

Currently, Ron McKiernan works in the business he founded in 1988 Certified Counseling Services where clients from all around the United States utilize his highly regarded case management and transitional housing program. In this program, Ron works with a variety of clients including those seeking an alternative to incarceration. This group represents one of the more challenging populations with alcohol and other drug problems yet Ron McKiernan maintains high standards of care and positive outcomes. It should be noted that Researchers with the University of Louisville Kent school of Social Work have considered studying his specific techniques for the purposes of replication due to the impressive results observed with those enrolling in his counseling program. Year in and year out for over 28 years Ron has shown leadership and keen counseling skills in providing high quality care to a variety of those with alcohol and other drug problems as well their family and other important others.

Ron was named the 2010 Counselor of the Year by the Kentucky Board of Certification of Alcohol and Drug Counselors in recognition of his dedication, commitment, and excellence n the delivery of alcohol and other drug counseling services.

Accomplishments:
  • 1984 Named the first Employee Assistance Program Director for the City of Louisville
  • 1987 Certified as a Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • 1988 Incorporated Certified Counseling Services
  • 1989 Co-developed the TACK program
  • 1990 Certified as a National Alcohol and Drug Counselor, level II
  • 2000 The first recipient of the Matt Talbot Award by the Ancient Order of Hibernians
  • 2010 Counselor of the Year by the Kentucky Board of Certification of Alcohol and Drug Counselors

Pat McKiernan

Pat was born and raised in Louisville. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1979. Pat began his work and vocation in the field of treatment for substance abuse in 1983 at Brooklawn Treatment Center working with teens and their families. While working at Brooklawn Pat worked towards and received his state certification as an alcohol and drug counselor.

In 1988 Pat enrolled in the University of Louisville and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling. After leaving Brooklawn in 1988, Pat accepted the position of manager at the Third Step Program with the Volunteers of America. Pat remained at the Volunteers of America as a manager for five years when he was promoted to Senior Director of Substance Abuse Services at Volunteers of America in 1993. While working at the Volunteers of America Pat met and married his wife Robin in August of 1993. Pat became an instant father of two children Candance and Dillon.

In 1996 Pat was awarded by NAADAC a scholarship and enrolled in the Masters Program at Nova Southeast University and received his degree in Applied Addiction Studies in 1999. Pat continued to expand substance abuse services at the Volunteers of America and his education for the next five years. Pat also expanded his family and his daughter Michaela was born in September 2001.

Pat was invited in 2002 to teach at the Kent School of Social Work educating students about the disease of alcoholism and addiction. In 2004 Pat received a Ph.d in philosophy and psychology from Northcentral University in Arizona. Also in 2004 Pat was appointed to the Kentucky Board of the Certification of Alcohol and Drug Counselors and appointed to the University of Louisville Graduate Faculty.

In 2005 Pat was the recipient of the Barbara Davis Advocacy Award. After 16 years at the Volunteers of America Pat resigned in 2005 to take a position with the Veterans Administration in Frankfort, Ky managing homeless programs around the state that assist veterans.

Accomplishments:
  • 1986 Received Certification as Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • 1996 NAADAC Scholar
  • 1996 KAAP State President
  • 2002 Co-authored $2,500,00.00 Federally Funded Grant
  • 2003 Co-authored $2,000,00.00 Federally Funded Grant
  • 2003 Hosted Director of National Drug Control Policy John Walters announcement of voucher program for substance abuse treatment
  • 2004 Co-authored $1,500,000.00 Federally Funded Grant
  • 2004 Appointed by the Governor to Kentucky Board for the Certification of Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • 2004 Appointment to University of Louisville Graduate Faculty
  • 2005 Recipient of Barbara Davis Advocacy Award
  • 2010 Recipient of the Matt Talbot Award by the Ancient Order of Hibernians

Laura Gaeta

Laura began her work in the alcohol and drug field in 1990 when she joined her father’s business Certified Counseling Services to assist in the developing of communication materials for his company. Prior to joining Certified Counseling Services, Laura worked in the communications department for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau for three years and then went to work for the Louisville Zoo in 1984 to develop their group sales department and to train frontline staff in customer relations. Over the past 20 years Laura has assisted Ron in all the day-to-day management of his business and his clients. Laura has worked directly with clients, their family members and other agencies in developing recovery plans that will best suit the client and their families in finding recovery.

Laura is a graduate of Bellarmine University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bellarmine in 1981. Laura is currently in the process of completing the educational hours and supervision to apply for certification as an alcohol and drug counselor.