The Reminiscences of Ronald Coster

The Transcript

And this one thing they say—and I think it’s true—if you like what you do, you never work a day in your life. And I have to say that’s true at Phoenix House. Yes, we worked a lot of long hours, but I loved every minute I worked there. I thought it was one of the most fascinating things. I’d go in early in the morning and some of the staff who were the ex-addicts would come in every morning, they’d come in 7:30, talk, tell me about their history for a time. It was a wonderful, entertaining morning. But I really loved working there. And I never regretted a day of my life working there.
— Ronald Coster

Biography: Trained as an accountant at Syracuse University, Coster came to Phoenix House in 1972 after several years working at New York University.  He was hired as one of the first professionally trained staff members, with the expectation that his financial expertise would help keep orderly accounts and win trust with state and local governments as Phoenix House split from the Addiction Services Agency.  Throughout nearly 20 years at Phoenix House, Ron continued to serve in this capacity as government liaison while rising to the position of Executive Vice President after Frank Natale left. 

Keywords: Self-help model; Phoenix House; Mitchell Rosenthal; Corrections; consulting; finance; New York City government; New York State government; government oversight; Nancy Reagan; Hart Island; City of the Forgotten; Riverside Plaza, Orange County, California; accounting; fundraising; expansion; Addiction Services Agency; Hart Island; Frank Natale; liaison; medicalization