Meet Our Staff

D. Wes Pope Jr., Co-Founder

A Louisiana native through and through, Wes’s journey brought him around the globe; searching for
answers that were found 20-miles from home. Since then, Wes has spent the better part of a decade,
dedicated to assisting those suffering from drug and or alcohol abuse, getting the help needed to become
the best versions of themselves. In 2014 Wes founded The Grove Recovery Center, and later Dynamic
Recovery. With an extensive business background and startups throughout his career, Wes leads our
strategic and development operations. Wes is married to the love of his life, Brandy, and has 2 wonderful
children, Harper (5) and stepson, John-Dale Marino (13).

Michael Oakley - Elev8 Treatment Center

Michael Oakley, Co-Founder

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, La. a Broadmoor High alum, Michael has kept his love for the city that raised him close to his heart. In 2016, recovery found Michael and since then he has strived to leave an impact on those suffering from addiction. Michael leads our team in day-to-day operations with the passion of challenging the team and clients to aspire for greatness. During Michael free time he is a diehard LSU fan, a loving husband, and a devoted father to his two kids Layla and Grayson.

Jennifer Rush, LPC, LMFT

Jennifer earned her master’s degree in Counseling concentrating on Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently working on her PsyD in Psychology. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), as well as being a supervisor for both licenses and being nationally certified. For over 12 years, she has enjoyed helping couples, families, and individuals find their path in life. She has worked in variety of mental health setting, including private, non-profits, hospitals, and clinics. Jennifer specializes in the fields of addiction, relationship enhancement, and emotional development. She strives to help her clients live happier and healthier lives. She continues to be an energetic spirit and bring smiles and laughter everywhere she goes. In her downtime, she loves to crochet and make crafts and is never far from a book or her Kindle.

Grace Kulage, P-LPC

Grace Kulage is a provisional licensed professional counselor (PLPC) for the state of Louisiana. She been practicing counseling for almost 2 years and is eagerly working to obtain independent licensure as an LPC. She has experience working with individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. She views the role of therapy as a collaborative process to define goals and take steps to achieve solutions to problems. She believes it is important to be genuine and approach treatment with a non-judgmental attitude. She educates her clients to engage in self-care activities to enrich positive affirmation thinking and connect it with physical practice. In her spare time, she is a certified yoga instructor and enjoys incorporating yoga, mindfulness, and meditation into her therapy. Her passion for therapy continues to be a driving factor to elevate her clients to empower themselves in achieving better health and wellness.


Cassie Kaple, Administrative Assistant

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Cassie went off to college and attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She came home to work in the legal, automotive and fashion fields where she developed her extensive sales and marketing background. Ultimately, she felt a void and a lack of purpose in these industries, and came to Elev8 to make a difference. She is passionate about recovery and helping clients get the treatment and services they need to live their best life



Emily Fussillier, FNP

Emily is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Originally from St. Francisville, Louisiana, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2008 and enjoyed eight fulfilling years as an inpatient and outpatient registered nurse. Since obtaining her Master’s of Science in Nursing degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, Emily has been practicing in the greater Baton Rouge area. She is a wife and mother of three. When not in clinic, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and friends, road trips, boating, gardening, and home improvement projects. She holds a national certification with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is excited to continue to serve the local community.

Brandy Pope, Detox Clinic Manager

Born in Granite City, Illinois, Brandy moved to Baton Rouge at a young age and always knew she wanted to help people, and that she has.. In her near 20 years as a nurse Brandy touched countless lives and truly loved what she did. However, over the past seven years Brandy has devoted her life too helping individuals see a way out of active addiction and into a life of recovery.

Ronnie C LeDuff III, Admissions Director

Ronnie was always a very loved and talented child. All of his relationships suffered, and talents were soon dimmed by the disease of addiction. With this hold on his spirit, Ronnie became an absent father, a sometimes son, and a what have you done for me lately brother. He turned to suicide on several occasions but learned he couldn’t take his own life successfully. Beaten into a state of reasonableness one day in 2019, he found the program of Alcoholics Anonymous which rekindled his relationship with his higher power whom he chooses to call God. Now today, a devoted father, brother, uncle, son, and fiancé, Ronnie has been faced with the opportunities to help people just like him. Ronnie feels that he is finally walking in his purpose, making a conscious decision each day to give hope to those who feel hopeless and lighting the way for anyone willing to walk the path into a new life of freedom from the chains of addiction.


Sarwat Gad, MD – Medical Director & Addiction Medicine Specialist

Dr. Gad serves as Medical Director and Addiction Medicine Specialist for Elev8. Dr. Gad brings decades of experience to Elev8, in the field of addiction medicine and psychiatry. In addition to his duties with Elev8, Dr. Gad is an industry leader in his hometown of Lafayette, LA. Having spent over 2-decades in the field of psychiatry and addiction medicine, Dr. Gad offers Elev8 clients a brilliant physician with diagnostic aptitude that gives each patient their best chance at recovery.


Dr. James Bellone, MD

In January of 2021 Dr. James Bellone joined the staff of Elev8 to serve as our Medical Director. After graduating from LSU school of Medicine in 1983, Dr. Bellone completed his training in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Charity Hospital of New Orleans. Since that time, Dr. Bellone practiced Emergency Medicine for nearly twenty years and served as an Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine for just over a decade. In the mid 2000’s Dr. Bellone began a second career practicing Occupational and Family Medicine. Dr. Bellone has now joined our family and will help guide Elev8 into the future.



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