"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
- William Arthur Ward
I grew up overseas and consider myself fortunate to have been raised in a large family with very traditional values. There was nothing remarkable about my youth other than I was constantly told how I was so much more mischieveous than my older brother. Being something of a terror did have an upside, I was punished often which meant having to sit in my dad's dental office instead of being allowed to play outside with the other kids. This is where it all began. I am not sure if it was out of pity or out of trying to get done quicker that my father began to show me how to develop radiographs (I've never got to use this skill as a practicing dentist because digital radiography came along) and pour plaster models. My interest and fascination with dentistry was piqued and I knew in about the 5th grade that this is what I wanted to spend my life doing.
Fast forward a few years and my family had moved to the States. I was graduating high school and had already secured admission in a six-year dental program. I finished the two years of undergrad pre-requisite courses but was not quite ready to go into dental school so I transferred back to my home state of Florida and finished my undergraduate studies. I worked as a dental assistant throughout my undergraduate years and went back to dental school at the University of Pittsburgh and was inducted in the prestigous OKU.
I returned once again to Florida and went to work for a corporation as I wanted to know how good I was out in the "real world." Working for a corporation taught me alot about what to do when dealing with insurance companies and a lot more about what not to do when dealing with patients. I was determined to make it to private practice and to pave the way for other young dentists to achieve their dreams too.
I now own two successful dental practices and employ associate dentists. While pracitce success is an important accomplishment, giving back to my profession is a close rival. I have served as President of my county's dental association as well as held office for the Florida Academy of General Dentistry. I am active in my community and volunteer at numerous dental clinics and am the co-director of the University of Florida College of Dentistry's Fellowship Track Program.
My experiences running my practices made me realize how utterly unprepared the recent dental graduate is for the role. I also realized that while most consultants tout that their theory can be applied to any practice, this is completely false. Each dentist, practice, and patient base is different and to deny that is a mistake. Several mistakes later, I found myself graduating with my MBA. In my years as a practice owner, I have encountered everything from embezzlement to lightning strikes and I have much to share. Through it all, my focus has always been patient-centered comprehensive dental care.
* Please know that a percentage of all proceeds made through this site go towards funding mission dental services for those less fortunate both around the world and at home. *
Dentistry aside, I love playing soccer and play on a league team. I am an avid photographer and (in case you have missed all the nautical referrences) love sailing. Check out my photography here.
I will end this little autobiography with the poem that inspired me to make the move into coaching and mentoring as a career...
The Bridge Builder
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”