A year and a half ago when Mark Strandburg bought the practice of retiring Warner Robins dentist Dr. Bruce Shaver, it was his dream come true.
Getting there took a risk not all would-be dentists face. A 1994 Perry High School graduate, Strandburg was already settled in a six-year career with a defense contractor after graduating from Georgia Tech.
I had a good life, he said. I was comfortable, had married my wife, Haley, and could have continued. I just didnt like being in front of a computer all day.
Changing careers meant becoming a student again at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. After that came a year providing dental care in nursing homes then another years study through a residency at Augustas Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.
Then he returned to Middle Georgia and his own practice,
I love it. I cant imagine doing anything else, Strandburg said. I guess Im optimistic about the future because I did change careers and realize its never too late to pursue your dreams.
Family friend Jo Ann Aaron, of Perry, said Strandburgs determination and strong work ethic will serve his patients well and see his practice grow. That, she said, and his kindness and good chair-side manner.
Strandburg is growing the practice in size and new technologies and services. He hopes to move to newer, more spacious facilities sometime this year.
Im a conservative dentist and dont like pushing procedures on patients, he said. I like to let them know all the options and help them decide whats right for them. I know people arent fond of going to the dentist, but I try to keep things light and fun while still being serious and meticulous about my work.
-- Michael W. Pannell
Click on the links below to read of 14 to Watch in 2014 stories:
Joe Molyson, 66, Bonaire, retired colonel and assistant director of operations for intelligence, Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base; also retired Houston County High School astronomy teacher