Closing Pitch: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

Dave Misiak joined Patterson Dental in 1996, as a territory sales representative in San Francisco. Prior to his promotion to the corporate office as director of business development in 2007, he led branches in Oklahoma City and Boston. After accepting the role of vice president of marketing and merchandise in 2008, this East Coast native was appointed to vice president of sales in 2010. As president of Patterson Dental North America since November 2016, Misiak has been leading teams within the company for more than 21 years. “The last 20 years have provided me and my family with amazing experiences. Through it, a consistent thread has been working alongside great people at Patterson,” he says. “I feel fortunate to be part of the incredible dental industry that we are lucky enough to serve.

When not at his office in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the New Jersey transplant can be found spending time with his kids, or cheering on his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees. Another favorite pastime he enjoys is attending the theater with his wife Trina. “In moving to the Twin Cities, we were very pleased to discover a vibrant theater culture,” says Misiak who also serves as president of the Patterson Foundation Board of Directors and director of the Dental Trade Alliance.

Mentor recently caught up with Misiak to learn more about his professional journey.

How would you describe Patterson Dental’s vision?

To enhance the patient experience and practice lifestyle is the vision for our dental business. How we stay connected is through three specific areas of focus.

The first is execution: We must perform first and foremost to deliver a best-in-class customer experience. While doing this, we need to also deliver consistent growth. Second is strategy: The market is changing, so strategies will evolve. A great example is our new cloud practice management software FUSE, which will launch in 2018. Third, and I believe most important, is our people. This means attracting and retaining top talent. This speaks to our culture and our ability to deliver consistent results for our customers, employees and shareholders.

How has your experience as a territory sales representative influenced how you motivate your team?

Learning the business, initially from calling on dental practices, has helped to shape my early understanding of our industry. Listening to our customers’ needs in this changing world is essential for success. I’ve also been very fortunate to have terrific mentors in each role I have had along the way. These customer, sales and leadership experiences have given me a solid platform to convey and support our vision. I believe this history supports the credibility and authenticity to the messages I try to bring to Team Patterson.

You mentioned in our interview that “Hamilton” is your favorite musical, and attending live theater with your family is a regular occurrence. How do you balance work and family life?

It’s not easy! I’m not sure there is such a thing. I’ve always conveyed to our employees that family comes first and try to live by that personally. My best advice is to be in the moment at home and at work. Time and life go fast and they seem to go double speed if you try to be in two places at once. This is easy to talk about and can be hard to do!

What do you see as the greatest challenge for the industry in 2018?

I would prefer to talk about opportunities. Digital dentistry, cloud practice management software, clinical education and client business services are just a few areas that will present incredible opportunity in the coming years. While consolidation of dental practices will continue and the purchasing habits of customers evolve — we will make the necessary strategic investments for the success of our customers and employees. The industry is becoming more sophisticated and data driven, but relationships will remain critical to success. Thinking about the needs of the customers and their patients will bring about success. Patients are busy and their treatment expectations are high. Dental practices want more patients, better case acceptance for necessary treatment and more data to run their businesses. Turning these challenges into strategic opportunities is our business at Patterson Dental!

From MENTOR. February 2018;9(2): 42.

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