Final_BTEA_Building Trades_Recovery Week



President and CEO, Modern Assistance Programs 

Mr. Christian is President and Chief Executive Officer as well as a clinician at Modern Assistance. He is a mental health and substance abuse counselor, criminal justice specialist, and is an expert witness for clients in the Massachusetts court system. He was formerly the Director of Social Services for the Homeless Services Bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission where he oversaw vocational rehabilitation programs, adult education, and prisoner reentry services at the Long Island Shelter. He has been in the human services field since 1993.


Mr. Christian holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology and in Counseling Psychology, is a licensed mental health clinician, a licensed and certified alcoholism and drug abuse counselor, a substance abuse professional for the Department of Transportation, and is a certified clinical forensics counselor. He is the President of the Board of Directors of Edwina Martin House, a recovery home for women.


He is an instructor for continuing education classes for the Addiction Counselor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a course coach at the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr. Christian holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Executive Director

BTEA Northeast

Thomas S. Gunning is the Executive Director of the Building Trade Employers Association of the Northeast (BTEA Northeast). BTEA Northeast is the leading association for the union building trades contractors throughout all of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and portions of upstate New York. Gunning’s efforts focus on developing and maintaining prosperous relationships with seven trade groups as well as negotiations with 13 different trades that cover over 85 local unions in the northeast region.


Gunning is on the forefront of industry planning and development issues and works toward generating and sustaining business for the association’s members. He serves as a trustee on several joint apprentice and training committees as well as many pension, annuity, health and welfare funds. He is also an advocate for mental health wellness and founder of Building Trades National Recovery Week. Gunning regularly acts as a Substance Abuse Counselor through Modern Assistance Programs, Inc.


Before assuming the position of Executive Director, Gunning was the association’s Director of Labor Relations, an administrator with the Ironworkers DC of NE Benefit Funds and a member of Laborers Local 223. Gunning is a graduate of Bridgton Academy and St. Anselm College.


Senior District Representative, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch’s Office


Former Ice Hockey Player

David Silk is a former professional ice hockey player, Silk spent 13 years in the NHL and is arguably most famous for being a member of the 1980 US Men’s hockey team that won the gold medal at the Olympics in Lake Placid. A native of Massachusetts, Silk will speak on his recovery journey.


Former MLB Player

Darryl Strawberry is an MLB legend, Strawberry holds 4 World Series Titles, is an 8 Time National League All-Star, and a National League Homerun Leader among many other impressive accolades. He has earned the legendary nicknames and phrases as one of the most feared homerun hitters in the game of baseball, Straw’s Sweet Swing, Strawberry’s Field Forever and The Legendary Straw Man! Strawberry will share his story of recovery and redemption that continues to bring hope to so many lives.


Tight End, New York Giants

Darren Waller, current Tight End for the New York Giants, will share his experience, strength and hope. Waller has an incredible story of overcoming addiction and finding recovery, while becoming an inspiration and ally to those struggling with substance use disorder and mental health challenges.

BTEA Northeast Recovery Week Advisory Board

  • Albert Welch III, The Welch Corp.
  • Kevin Gill, McCusker-Gill, Inc.
  • Russell Anderson, BTEA Trustee
  • David Carter, Beacon Waterproofing & Restoration, Inc.
  • Jack Desmond, Cox Engineering Co.
  • Rodney Frias, S&F Concrete Inc.
  • Mark Kennedy, John M. Kennedy Company
  • Robert Marshall, Marshall Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. Inc.
  • Tom Steeves, T. J. McCartney Inc.
  • Laurence Miller, Salem Glass Company
  • John Christian, CEO of Modern Assistance Programs, Inc.
  • Armand Sabitoni, General Secretary-Treasurer, LIUNA
  • Michael Sabitoni, LIUNA Vice President and Business Manager Local 271
  • Dan Bianco, Jr., LIUNA International Representative, New England Regional Office
  • Joe Bonfiglio, Business Manager of Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers’ District Council
  • Thomas Flynn, 2nd General Vice President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
  • Joe Byrne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Shawn Nehiley, President, Ironworkers District Council of New England
  • Mike Hess, Business Manager, Local 7 Ironworkers
  • Jim Lister, New York and New England States Conference International Vice President for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
  • Bob Butler, Business Manager, Sheet Metal Local 17
  • James Williams, Jr., General President, IUPAT
  • Chris Brennan, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35
  • Paul Bickford, Business Manager, Financial Secretary, Roofers & Waterproofers Union Local 33
  • Ed Sullivan, Retired General President, International Union of Elevator Constructors
  • William McLaughlin, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 4
  • John Sweeney, Business Manager, Plasterers & Cement Masons LU 534