Who We Are

Tim Krueger headshot

Tim Krueger, CEO

Tim grew up in Davenport, Iowa, in a lower middle-class family. Although he had a good upbringing, he struggled with confidence that contributed to his poor academic results, excessive drinking, and three arrests for poor behavior. Luckily, Tim's strong support system (parents, faith, neighbors, and friends) helped him get out of trouble, discover his strengths, and become accountable for his life.

Tim graduated from University of Iowa, spent 6+ years at KPMG, and shortly thereafter was given the opportunity to be the CFO for Maui Jim, a premium sunglass company. Soon after, he married his college crush, Michelle, and has two children. Life was everything he had dreamed!

He then began volunteering for ELITE, teaching behavior-change classes to highschoolers in Peoria, IL who were on the cusp of joining gangs. After a short time, it became clear to Tim that these kids had no support system and were on their way to a life of struggle.

Around 2012, Tim retired from Maui Jim, pursuing a solution for those that have hit rock bottom. At this time, he discovered The Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Without hesitation he became a program observer, learned the therapeutic community method, and served as their CFO/COO.

In 2019 after years of trial and error, Tim created his dream job as the CEO of Harvest Academy here in Iowa.

Taylor Smith headshot

Taylor Smith, Program Director

Taylor was born in South Korea and was raised in Arizona and Florida before finally settling down in Iowa in 2007. Growing up, he was an avid skateboarder, snowboarder, and hockey player.

Taylor had a rocky start in adulthood, being arrested multiple times at Iowa State University for partying and drug related incidents. This behavior continued until he was trafficking drugs from Colorado back to Iowa and was pulled over and arrested in Nebraska. He was charged with three felonies and faced a potential prison sentence. This was the worst, but best, moment of his life, as he decided to finally take things seriously and change his life. Over the next 2-3 years, Taylor not only learned what it meant to be accountable, responsible, and have discipline, he also learned the importance of giving back to the community he once took away from. During this time of change, Taylor changed his college major from business to psychology and criminal justice to help others avoid the same path he took.

He graduated from Iowa State University in Spring 2016 with a B.S. in psychology and criminal justice. From there, Taylor went to work at the juvenile treatment facility, Woodward Academy. Over 5.5 years at Woodward Academy, Taylor was a treatment counselor, caseworker, and group leader. He learned how to build relationships and motivate young men and women to challenge themselves and better their lives by taking control of their actions.

Taylor joined Harvest Academy in July of 2021. Here he adjusted quickly to the now older clientele and therapeutic community philosophy in changing the lives of Harvest Academy students. Shortly after coming on the to Harvest Academy team, he was asked to be the program director. He now spends his time guiding and mentoring the students and staff while also expanding and improving the program daily.

Minh Nguyen headshot

Minh Nguyen, Program Staff

Minh was born in Vietnam and was raised in Minnesota before coming to Iowa. His passions include hunting, kayaking, and trail running.

After getting out of the military, Minh studied cell biology at St Mary's University and then transferred to Iowa State University to study biochemistry. However, a personal battle with IV drugs derailed his life. This led to a job working at the Youth Recovery House in Ames, a juvenile rehab facility. This was where Minh fell in love with the process and discovered he could use his story to guide people away from a life of suffering. He then moved on to Woodward Academy, where he started working as direct-care staff, eventually transitioning into a role on the behavior support team. This work showed Minh that it really takes a radical transformation of your environment, beliefs and habits if you are to change your life.

Minh joined Harvest Academy in April of 2022. At Harvest, he is the current facility manager, where he oversees the upkeep, repair, and improvement of the property. He is also the intern manager, overseeing and mentoring the youngest students at Harvest Academy.

Additionally, Minh creates the seminars. These seminars are meant to teach important concepts, challenge unproductive and detrimental beliefs, but most importantly, to show students that recovery is possible.

Using his science background, Minh believes that the scientific process, a deep understanding of group dynamics, and the tenets of the therapeutic community can be used to create the most effective and empirically-proven system for personal growth.

Minh says, “We can have the goal of recovery all we want, however, if our systems aren't modeled after approaches that are empirically proven to work, we will fail every time.”

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