I had a lot of fun walking down memory lane and thinking about those who enabled me and others to become solid orthodontic practitioners the other day. So much so that today I decided to do the same thing on the business side of practicing dentistry. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a minute to recognize the dental superheroes who helped me and so many others find our way.

Right out of school I knew I didn’t know anything about running a business so Bridget and I signed up immediately to attend the Mercer Advisors course and went to several meetings. At those meetings we came to know Imtiaz Manji and he had a profound impact on the way I thought about business.


“It’s good to do good while doing good” was my favorite of his sayings. I’ve adopted this mantra as my own and discovered that it’s not good, it’s great! Smile for a Lifetime Foundation is more than likely a direct result of this mindset learned from Mr. Manji. Another of his sayings that’s stuck with me is “Whatever you do, do it to the highest possible level” – I’ve done my best to live this idea. I also learned from Imtiaz Manji that “running a business is stressful whether the business is declining, flat or growing so you may as well grow your business”. I had zero desire to grow a large practice until I understood the truth of his statement. Then it was on! Finally, I learned from Imtiaz Manji the art of customer service, relationship building and growing a business through the referrals from engaged clients. This is not what he and Mercer Advisors meant to teach me but I watched how they handled us and the other attendees and applied those principles to my dealings with referring dentists. I can’t thank Mr. Manji enough and I must admit the money I spent to attend his courses was a pittance by comparison to what I learned.


The next mentor who had a huge impact in those early days is a man I’ve never met. Dr. Dick Barnes, the original dental businessman, had a series of audio tapes that a friend gave me right after I graduated. I listened to them so many times that I literally wore them out. Dr. Barnes talked about figuring out what patients wanted. He talked about the fact that patients COULD AFFORD what they wanted and they wanted a great smile. He stressed that we should always present the treatment plan we would recommend for our spouse or our kids and not judge any patient for any reason. He was the first to help me understand that what I learned in school was not only NOT useful, it was counterproductive. Dr. Barnes also taught me how to do an orthodontic consultation properly. “Eye to eye and knee to knee” he used to say and I believe that this one difference in our offices vs. other offices has helped us start thousands of cases that might have gone elsewhere otherwise. Thanks Dr. Barnes, you did more for me than you will ever know and I give you credit every time I talk to orthodontists about why we do what we do.


Dr. Pete Pickron was the next giant to cast his shadow over my novice mind and leave an indelible mark. Dr. Pickron was nice enough to let me come visit his office and see the inner workings of the biggest practice in the country at the time. It was an awesome experience and he’s an incredible businessman and clinician. I learned from Dr. Pickron that if you just kept at it you could grow as large as you wanted to. I also found that there was nothing magical about doing so. I can’t thank Dr. Pickron enough for helping me raise and then remove my ceiling.


Dr. Ron Redmond was another huge influence on my young mind. I met Dr. Redmond when I joined the Schulman Study Group and both he and the group changed how I thought about business forever. Dr. Redmond gave me more time and attention than an arrogant young orthodontist deserved and I can never repay him for that. Dr. Redmond did his best to help me keep it between the ditches but at the time I often knew better – or rather I thought I did. I guess we all have to learn at least some things the hard way and Dr. Redmond never judged or turned his back on me while I earned a dual degree from the School of Hard Knocks. I’ll always owe Dr. Redmond for the wisdom he shared and the time he gave me. Dr. Ron Redmond has been a major influencer not just on me but in orthodontics for many decades and his contribution to the profession cannot be overestimated.


Dr. Gib Snow is a living legend in the industry and one of the nicest, most down to earth guys you’ll ever meet. I was fortunate enough to get to know Dr. Snow and spend time with him early in my career. Dr. Snow was gracious enough to share of himself and his wisdom for no other reason than he loves to help others succeed. Like Dr. Pickron, Dr. Snow helped me raise and then remove my ceiling and understand the only limitations are the ones I place on myself. Like Dr. Redmond, Gib Snow tried his best to keep me out of trouble and help me learn things the easy way – with similar results! Dr. Snow has taught me so many things but reveling in the success of others is the piece I cherish most. Thats for everything Dr. Snow!

I also have many in our generation to thank for their mentorship, insight and wisdom. People like Dr. Jennifer Eisenhuth, Dr. Aly Kanani, Dr. John McManaman, Dr. Kevin Davis, Dr. Jeremy Fry, Dr. Patrick Assoiun, Dr. Yan Kalika, Dr. Rael Bernstein, Dr. Jack Devereux, Dr. Phuong Nguyen, Dr. David Butler and many others. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of your help and our profession would be poorer in your absence. Sometimes I get disheartened by the state of the profession but looking at this group gives me hope. Occasionally I beat myself up for the poor choices I’ve made but all the ill-advised decisions were worth the chance to spend time with these giants of the dental industry. Thanks for all you do for me and for dentistry as a whole!