Residence: Warner Robins
Q: When did you open your practice, Spillers Orthodontics?
A: In 1994.
Q: Why did you choose Warner Robins? Did you do research to find a good community for a new practice?
A: I grew up in Warner Robins and graduated from Northside High School.
Q: What year?
A: In 1983. But I did my research and narrowed it to four cities before I settled on here. Some of them looked a little more rewarding, but I decided I wanted to come home and Warner Robins actually looked really good. I decided I'd rather give up a few little pluses in other places and be where I wanted to be. It was a good decision. We've been well-received and able to be a part of the community and give back in a lot of ways.
Q: And now you're an award-winning practice, right?
A: We were just named the Robins Region Chamber's Small Business of the Year.
Q: Why do think you -- your practice -- got the award?
A: A couple of things. One, we try to instill in everyone from the top down that we're going to treat every patient, every kid, every mom, every dad, as if they were our own. I want us to make our decisions as if that's our own kid or mama. I want us to look at things like that across the board.
Q: That fits a chamber comment that you have a "unique way of putting people first" in innovative ways. What other ways?
A: Our job isn't just moving teeth around, but it's providing excellent customer service. Our patients are only with us for a couple of years and then they're gone, so we want to do the best job possible for them and have them enjoy their time with us as much as possible. Then we hope they'll tell others about us. We also pride ourselves in working with people financially. We see kids that need treatment, but it would be tough for them getting it. We tell parents we'll work it out. Obviously, we all have to get paid, but if you put the patient first and do the right thing, they'll do the right thing too and it will work out. I think the people side sets us apart, plus we work to stay on the leading edge of treatment.
Q: How so?
A: From tech to training. We're always looking for what we can do better, what advances we can bring. Going back years ago, we had the first digital PAN/CEPH machine (panoramic cephalogramic X-ray). We got the first 3-D imagining X-ray machine, the first intra-oral scanner. We even got a new version of one of those last week. Through technology we're able to offer a true impression-less service -- everybody hates having that old goop in their mouth. Tied to customer service is all our patients can do online. We were the first to have our own mobile app. I think maybe we're the only ones to have an app.
Q: You must enjoy technology?
A: Whatever can best serve our patients. And training. Going to seminars and training is constant. In fact, the end of last week our practice brought in a speaker for training and had more than 300 area dentists and hygienists join us.
Q: About community service, what sort of things are you involved in?
A: A wide range, but first I'd have to say sponsoring pretty much every youth sport there is. The kids who sit in our chairs are involved in so many things, and we like to be involved, too. But we do everything from area Christmas parades to sponsoring cheerleading to sports to the two $1,000 annual scholarships we give to current and former patients. We've helped support kids' mission trips and do trips ourselves. We just make an effort to give back to our families and kids. On the community side, there's things like being on the Westfield School board and helping found and being involved with the Rehoboth Life Care Ministry Volunteer Dental Clinic.
Q: As a small business person, you also have Spillers Professional Park on S. Houston Lake Road, making you a real estate developer of sorts. How did that come about?
A: We found a piece of land we wanted to move to before Houston Lake actually moved its path by us and became a four-lane road. We just wanted to buy enough for our office, but the owner would only sell the whole property. We made the scary decision to buy it all and make a business park. Then, if you remember, they delayed and stopped work for a while, which was really nerve racking. We wondered if we'd ever get to use the land at all. We took a lot of chances to get here, but everything worked out for the best. We've really been blessed. As much as we can, we want to be a blessing back.
Q: Do you still enjoy the work?
A: I really do. I've known I wanted to do this since the ninth grade when orthodontics made such a huge difference in my life. I enjoy the people and seeing dramatic change in kids' and adults' lives. People who don't want to smile get big smiles. And I like seeing our service move forward. Like with Invisalign (invisible braces). We have Invisalign elite doctor status and are in the top 3 percent in the U.S. -- right here in Warner Robins.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.