The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry – Episode 11

In this episode, Kim Larson and Bill Neumann recap 2019 DSO and emerging group events and discuss 2020 events. This audio only podcast is a must for anyone considering attending or exhibiting at a DSO event.

Our podcast series brings you dental support and emerging dental group practice analysis, conversation, trends, news and events. Listen to leaders in the DSO and emerging dental group space talk about their challenges, successes, and the future of group dentistry.

Choose your favorite listening app below and subscribe today to hear this episode. Full transcript is also provided below.


Hello, and welcome to the Group Dentistry Now Show, with Kim Larson and Bill Neumann. We’re here, talking about events. We get, probably, three or four times a week, people asking us about events. What events they should go to? What events are good? We decided we were going to do an audio-only podcast, our first audio-only, and we’re going to talk about impressions from 2019 meetings, and also looking forward to 2020 meetings.

Kim Larson: This is, actually, a great podcast for both industry partners, vendors, and DSOs. So, hi Bill.

Bill Neumann: Hi, Kim. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Kim Larson: It is! But, before we start talking about events, let’s just briefly touch on some milestones we’ve hit, here, at Group Dentistry Now. It’s been a banner year, thanks to our amazing subscribers, advertisers, et cetera.

Bill Neumann: It’s been a super busy year. We have exceeded our growth goal for 2019, by quite a bit. We grew over 30% from 2018 to 2019. We are looking forward to having an even stronger 2020, as the industry becomes more focused on group practices and DSOs.

Kim Larson: We had amazingly exciting experience, as well.

Kim Larson: About a year ago, NYU Langone Dental Medicine reached out to us, to write a course for their dental residents. It was pretty amazing, because they recognized that the dentists coming out of dental school are just not prepared for the marketplace. They are the largest dental residency program in the country. They knew their residents really needed to receive unbiased information, which they could use to make educated decisions upon graduation.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. That was something unique that we hadn’t really thought about.

Kim Larson: Yeah.

Bill Neumann: But, educating dental students, having them understand the group practice and DSO options, as well as solo-practice options, and coming on as an associate. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, and hopefully we’ll continue to do things like that.

Kim Larson: Yeah. Their goal was to provide knowledge and education to empower the residents, to help better understand the industry because it is very confusing. A lot of the information that they’re receiving is hearsay, or opinion. Sometimes, or most of the time, from solo-practitioners. From this point on, though, they’re going to be presented with concrete facts and figures.

Kim Larson: As a matter of fact, it’s going to be a required course for NYU Langone Dental Medicine, which started in July 2019. From this point on, they’ll be educated residents. Hopefully, other dental schools will –

Bill Neumann: Follow suit.

Kim Larson: – follow suit.

Kim Larson: Now, let’s get into some recaps, here, from 2019. Let’s start at the beginning of the year. I was able to attend some of the meetings, Bill, but you were able to attend most of the meetings.

Kim Larson: Let’s start with Dental Group Evolution, which occurred in January, at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, it’s a great way to kick of the new year, with an emerging Group DSO meeting. Heidi Arndt, who was formerly of Enhanced Hygiene, started that meeting, gosh, three or four years ago. I believe they had about 250 to 300 attendees, really well done. They also announced the merger, or the sale of Enhanced Hygiene and Dental Group Evolution, to membersy, Eric Johnson’s company. I am not sure, I haven’t heard anything about a Dental Group Evolution in 2020, however, so we’ll have to keep informed with us, and stay tuned to see if that’s actually going to happen.

Kim Larson: We’ll definitely keep you posted if there will be a 2020 event.

Kim Larson: So, let’s move onto the AADGP Expo, the American Academy of Dental Group Practice Expo. That was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January, late January, early February. You attended that. How did you like that?

Bill Neumann: Yeah. This is one of those meetings that’s been going on for, I think it’s three decades now. It’s the original group practice meeting. I’ll tell you, to me, it seems very exhibitor focused. I don’t think there are a lot of group attendees. If they’re there, they don’t seem to be around much.

Kim Larson: Engaged?

Bill Neumann: Engaged, yeah. It’s always been a little strange, from an event standpoint. A lot of exhibitors, not a lot of groups or dentists there. I think one of the things, looking forward into 2020 … So, 2019 event, and I was there in 2018 as well. Not super impressed with it. One of the things for 2020 is they moved the date. It’s not at the end of January anymore. In 2020, it’s actually going to be February 19th through February 22nd. That coincides with the Chicago mid-winter meetings.

Kim Larson: Oh boy.

Bill Neumann: So, if you are … Especially from an exhibitor, or vendor perspective, I think a lot of people are going to be at Chicago Mid-Winter versus this meeting. So, I’ll be interesting to see what the attendance looks like.

Kim Larson: Yes.

Bill Neumann: I will not be there.

Kim Larson: There are so many dental shows, they should be really checking –

Bill Neumann: Right.

Kim Larson: – with each other.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, conflict.

Kim Larson: Lots of conflicts there.

Kim Larson: Let’s move onto the ADSO, that’s the Association of Dental Support Organization’s Summit. That was held at the end of March, in San Diego. I remember a lot about this event. It was cold at the baseball game. A lot of cold people for Southern California, Bill. But, I heard it was a fantastic event.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, the largest event of 2019. I believe it was 1100 attendees. Yeah, great event. I was actually on a marketing panel.

Kim Larson: Yeah, you got good reviews for that one!

Bill Neumann: I did, yeah. It’s great. I think, one of the issues with the ADSO Summit is that it’s so big, you really have to do a lot of research ahead of time to figure out what sessions you’re going to attend, because you can’t be everywhere.

Kim Larson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bill Neumann: So, it becomes a bit of an issues, but, yeah. Certainly an event that everybody that’s anybody is at. It’s a global event, you have DSOs from all over the world. I talked to DSOs from Japan, I talked to –

Kim Larson: Brazil?

Bill Neumann: – DSOs from Brazil, and there was also Australia, and New Zealand, I believe –

Kim Larson: Very exciting.

Bill Neumann: – that I had the opportunity to speak with.

Kim Larson: Yeah, that’s a great event. I can’t wait! I’ll be going to this upcoming ADSO Summit, next year in Washington, DC.

Bill Neumann: National Harbor.

Kim Larson: At the Gaylord.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, at the Gaylord. That is March 11th, 2020, through the 13th.

Kim Larson: It’s going to be really exciting this year, because they’re going to actually incorporate their highly successful Partnering for Growth meeting as a track at the Summit. So, that will save people a lot of travel time, and expense. That’s going to be pretty exciting to see how they incorporate that Partnering for Growth. That’s going to appeal to a lot of emerging dental groups.

Bill Neumann: I think it’ll appeal to industry partners as well, that couldn’t get to both meetings. Now, you’ll have Partnering for Growth, and the Summit –

Kim Larson: All in one.

Bill Neumann: – all wrapped into one.

Kim Larson: In beautiful Washington, DC. I’m very excited, I have to say. I love that location. It’s nice to see a new location, for an event. We don’t often see them, in the East here.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, that’s true. We don’t get a lot in the East. Partnering for Growth, probably two or three years ago, was actually at this same Gaylord, which was –

Kim Larson: I love the Gaylord, yeah.

Bill Neumann: – a great location.

Kim Larson: So, let’s talk about the Academy of Laser Dentistry. They had their unbiased laser training and certification partner for groups and DSOs in April, in Plano, Texas.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. Not really a DSO meeting, but the Academy of Laser Dentistry had a track that was focused for groups and DSOs. Talking to a couple of the people at the event, Heartland Dental was well represented there, for sure.

Kim Larson: We’ll keep you updated if they have any events next year, that will be focused, again, for groups or DSOs.

Kim Larson: Up next, let’s talk about the DSO Leadership Summit, which was hosted by 1-800-DENTIST, and Dentsply Serona. That was held in Santa Monica, California, April 10th through 12th. They did a DSO diagnosis there, and a point, counter-point.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, that was actually a nice format. I really enjoyed that event. A great setting, and it was very intimate. They did a survey, as well, of the DSOs that attended, which I found the results of it really fascinating.

Bill Neumann: The event will go on in 2020 as well, it’ll be their sixth annual leadership summit. It will be in Los Angeles, April 15th through the 17th. That’ll be cosponsored by Futuredontics, 1-800-DENTIST, and then, also, I believe HR For Health is involved with the event now. That is something I am looking forward to going to, once again.

Kim Larson: Let’s talk about the Henry Schein DSO Education Forum. 2019, they held it in Las Vegas, and it was May 17th through 18th. It was the same time as the CDA, they held it at the Aria.

Bill Neumann: Right, yeah. I mean, that conflicted, I believe, 2019 and also 2018 as well. Yeah, even with that conflict, they had close to –

Kim Larson: 800.

Bill Neumann: – 800 attendees, –

Kim Larson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bill Neumann: – which was great. Great meeting. You know, the one thing I really like about that is, they have this huge contingency from Canada as well. So, they have a lot of Canadian DSOs. As that space starts to consolidate more, there are more and more DSOs there. They’re craving information, so they come down to Las Vegas, and get a lot of that from the Henry Schein DSO Education Forum.

Bill Neumann: So, in 2020, Henry Schein is actually going to have the event at the Aria, again. It will be in May, it’ll be May 1st and 2nd.

Kim Larson: So, no conflicts?

Bill Neumann: So, no conflict with CDA, which is great. Then, I expect there will be many more people than 800.

Kim Larson: Yeah, always a good show.

Bill Neumann: Really looking forward to that.

Kim Larson: Let’s talk about the DEO Summer Summit 2019, the emerging future of group dentistry. That was held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 27th through the 29th.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, Dentist Entrepreneur Organization really puts on excellent events. They have two public events a year, the Summer Summit and the Fall Summit, that Kim will talk about soon, later on in this podcast.

Bill Neumann: Great event. I believe it was 118 degrees there, though, so the air conditioning was cranked. Great information. JW Marriott is a wonderful, wonderful venue. I don’t know the exact number they had there, but it was, I want to say, six or seven hundred.

Kim Larson: Good turnout.

Bill Neumann: I believe they sold out.

Kim Larson: That’s amazing.

Bill Neumann: Yeah.

Kim Larson: For the next Summit –

Bill Neumann: The Summer Summit in 2020 will also be at the JW in Phoenix, Arizona. The dates are a little different, it’ll be June 4th through June 6th. And … Go ahead, Kim.

Kim Larson: We’re going to have something very exciting going on with them, at that event. We are actually … Every year, we do an Emerging Groups to Watch list. What we do is, we get applications from emerging dental groups from all over the United States. We go through everything, and do due diligence, and we choose groups to watch. They are, basically, winning this title of an Emerging Group to Watch. It’s a huge, huge hit for us every year. People refer back to that list multiple times.

Kim Larson: Actually, we are actually going to be presenting, this year, an award to everyone of those emerging dental groups, at the DEO Summer Summit in early June.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, we’re excited for that. It makes a lot of sense to do that at the DEO Summer Summit, and to do that in conjunction with DEO, as they help groups scale. Emerging groups are their audience, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to do that, and work closely with Jacob, and Darren, and the team at DEO.

Kim Larson: Yeah.

Kim Larson: Let’s talk next about the Dykema DSO Conference in 2019. It’s the definitive conference for dental support organizations. I really enjoyed that show, had a great time talking to Brian [Caleo 00:13:14], and all my other DSO friends there.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, that event gets larger and larger every year.

Kim Larson: Oh! I think he said, was it 800?

Bill Neumann: It might have been 850. It was –

Kim Larson: Attendees.

Bill Neumann: A lot of attendees there. This was their … I believe it was their sixth definitive conference. So, I’ve been to … I went to the one, gosh, I think the second. I don’t think I went to the first one, where there might have been 150 people. So, the event’s really grown. Some really great education there, as well. It was nice to have Kim there, she got meet a lot of her fans.

Kim Larson: Okay. Let’s talk about –

Bill Neumann: Let’s talk about 2020, first.

Kim Larson: Yeah.

Bill Neumann: For the Dykema DSO Conference. So, in 2020, the conference will be July 15th through the 17th. It’ll be at the Omni, again.

Kim Larson: Again?

Bill Neumann: Same location, which is a great location there. I’m expecting there will be even more people there.

Kim Larson: Oh, and book your room early.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, definitely.

Kim Larson: Because their block sold out.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, the block did sell out.

Kim Larson: Word to the wise.

Kim Larson: Let’s talk about the Scaling Up Group Dental Symposium 2019, hosted by Mortenson Dental Partners. That, as always, is held in Louisville, Kentucky. That’s where Mortenson Dental Partners is headquartered. That event, actually, was a new date. It had been held in November, and they switched it to August, late August. August 21st, as a matter of fact.

Bill Neumann: Right, yeah. That was also held at an Omni in Louisville, Kentucky, a relatively new hotel. I love the Mortenson event. I’ve been to three or four of them. They have a philosophy, they share abundantly. They’re very open with how they do things, and they certainly live up to that.

Bill Neumann: The event was great. I think the timing of it, being in August, may have cut down on the number of attendees. They had issues, the year before, with some bad weather in November. I think that’s one of the reasons they shifted it. Great event, very –

Kim Larson: Educational.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. Very, very, very educational, a lot of solid information –

Kim Larson: Good learning.

Bill Neumann: – that an emerging group can take away.

Bill Neumann: In 2020, however, Mortenson has decided to take a break, so there will not be a Scaling Up Group Dental Symposium in 2020. They’re going to revisit in 2021.

Kim Larson: Well, I sure hope they bring that show back in 2021, because it’s great.

Kim Larson: Next, let’s talk about the Dental Forum Open Room 2019 event. They’re actually a British company, and they have these forums all over the world. This one is the Dental Forum, but they also have Vet Forums, and Pharmaceutical Forums, et cetera.

Kim Larson: Bill, you actually had presented here. I believe it was the State of Dental Procurement in 2019. It was a huge hit, and we had a follow up article because so many people requested more information, since there’s only so much you can touch on in a presentation. I know this is a great event. They have the speed dating. Or, they call it a speed dating type situation, so everyone gets to really meet and talk to DSOs. Industry partners and DSOs get to meet and greet.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. It’s a great event. It’s very unique. Dental Forum, Open Room is the company that puts it on, and they’re in all different verticals. Oil and gas, and vet, and dental, which is … Not just in the US, they’re global. Yeah, it’s speed dating. It’s B2B meetings, where you have guaranteed meetings, 15 minutes, in front of decision makers, vendor across the table from procurement, or a Clinical Director. It’s very, very efficient.

Bill Neumann: To Kim’s point, we did the survey, where we interviewed 28 DSOs. Three Canadian, and 25 US based DSOs, on … We had 10 questions that were all geared towards procurement and purchasing. So, really, really good data. Since everything is super quick at the Dental Forum, I had 10 minutes to present it, and I didn’t have enough time to go over all 10 questions. We created an article where you can see all the questions, see how everybody answered them. It was a huge hit, it’s a lot of fun. I think vendors and DSOs alike get a lot of value out of the event.

Kim Larson: Do you think it’s because they limit the numbers?

Bill Neumann: Yeah, I think that’s part of it, Kim, for sure.

Kim Larson: Yeah.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, I think –

Kim Larson: It keeps it more intimate.

Bill Neumann: It does. I mean, you’ve got guaranteed 15 minutes with a DSO. You know who they are going into it, and they know who you are. In 2020, the event is … Oh, and the event was in Nashville.

Kim Larson: Oh, right.

Bill Neumann: The event in 2019 was in Nashville. It’s going to move, it moves around every year. In 2020, it’s going to be September 16th and 17th. It’s going to be in Austin, Texas. Actually, Lost Pines, Texas, so right outside of Austin, at a Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa. Again, it’s going to be another great even, and I look forward to it.

Kim Larson: Do you think you’ll be speaking there?

Bill Neumann: I hope so.

Kim Larson: Great!

Kim Larson: Next, let’s talk about the ADSO Partnering for Growth 2019 event. It was in CHampion’s Gate, Florida, September 25th through 27th. Bill, you were a moderator there, with our good friend, Darin Acopan from DEO. You moderated, what was it? Four panels, and he moderated two the next day. Would you say you were on the stage for about five hours?

Bill Neumann: Yeah, I was on stage for between four and five hours, on the first day of the event. It was really well done. I enjoyed it. I think the panel discussions were really well received, there was a lot of Q&A from the audience. I think the format is really compelling.

Kim Larson: They grew substantially from the year before. It was an incredibly successful event.

Bill Neumann: They did have growth in attendance, and they were competing with some other events that were going on at the same time. Considering that, yeah, the showing of … The attendees were great.

Kim Larson: Well, that’s great. You know, it was technically their final stand-alone Partnering for Growth event. Now that Partnering for Growth is going to be folded into the Summit meeting, as a track.

Bill Neumann: Correct.

Kim Larson: Which is going to help, I think, a lot of industry partners as well as DSOs.

Bill Neumann: Right. They don’t have to make a choice, which one do I go to? They’re going to go to the Summit now, and it’s going to be all-encompassing.

Kim Larson: In Washington, D.C, March 11th through 13th, mark your calendar. Gaylord.

Kim Larson: The next event I’d like to talk about is the DEO Fall Summit 2019 that was held in Orlando, Florida, November 7th through 9th. Bill, I think this may have been one of the only DSO shows you were not able to attend, but it was for a good reason. It wasn’t because we don’t love the show, it’s because you were actually speaking at Carestream Dental’s event, that was in Nashville. The day before that, you were speaking in Whistler, at the Arem Group’s, they’re a lab company. You were speaking about global consolidation. So, you weren’t at this event, but we can certainly talk about it.

Bill Neumann: Yeah, I certainly couldn’t fit Orlando in, when I was in British Columbia, and then Nashville. The DEO Fall Summit sold out relatively early.

Kim Larson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bill Neumann: From what I’ve heard from people that attended, it was another huge hit, as expected from DEO. Again, sorry I couldn’t make it, but there will be the Summer Summit coming up in Phoenix. Then, of course the next Fall Summit.

Kim Larson: Of course, we’re going to have our awards at the Summer Summit in June.

Bill Neumann: Right.

Kim Larson: Yeah. Where’s the Fall Summit?

Bill Neumann: This might be some inside information, I don’t know if it’s on their website yet, but I was told that the Fall Summit for DEO in 2020 will be November 5th through the 7th, and it will be in Brooklyn, New York.

Kim Larson: Wow!

Bill Neumann: New place.

Kim Larson: New place!

Bill Neumann: And new venue.

Kim Larson: That’s wonderful! It’s nice to see new places.

Kim Larson: Like we were saying, you were not able to attend DEO because you were speaking at Carestream Dental’s Global Oral Health Summit. That was held in Nashville, like we said, at the Gaylord, November 7th through 9th. They actually had a DSO track. You spoke about global consolidation, as well as marketing beyond the patient.

Bill Neumann: I did. Yeah, I spoke on the last day of the event. They had a nice DSO track. The Global Oral Health Summit is mostly a user group meeting for Carestream customers, or potential customers. They did have this, new for 2019, was a DSO track. I spoke. There were several people that ran DSOs, or running DSOs, that were speaking there as well. I did one hour on consolidation, and then another hour on marketing beyond the patient, business development marketing, and also recruitment marketing.

Kim Larson: That event is an immersive learning experience to help people define their footprint in the oral health community.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. They’re going to continue on. They’ll have the event next year, as well. They’ll have a DSO track, so we’ll keep you informed on that.

Kim Larson: Do we know where that is, or when that is?

Bill Neumann: I do not have any information at this time.

Kim Larson: Well, when we know, we will share that.

Kim Larson: As we’re getting closer, here, in our events list, towards the end of 2019, it brings us to November. Henry Schein Canada’s first ever multi-site Education Forum. It was a half-day event for people interested in the DSO marketplace. It was held in Toronto. This was a free event, actually, for people to come in and learn a little bit more about the DSO space. They had some speakers there. Howell Mueller, Jan Jeffer, and Justin Bueller.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. I think as the Canadian space continues to consolidate, and as it catches up to where the US is with consolidation, we’re going to see more of these events as they become more important. So, the Canadians who have been coming down to Las Vegas to the Henry Schein event can do that, or there are actually going to be events now, in Canda, that are going to be dedicated to multi-site group practice DSOs, whatever you want to call them.

Kim Larson: Great.

Kim Larson: Last, but not least, for 2019 events is the Maeva Dental Advisors inaugural DSO Accelerator and Management meeting in Dallas, Texas, held at the Canvas Hotel, December 5th.

Bill Neumann: This is the first ever DSO Accelerator and Management meeting for Vin Cardillo and his team. It’s actually going to be at the famous Gillies, which is, if anybody’s ever seen Urban Cowboy, that’s where Urban Cowboy was filmed. Or, at least, parts of it were filmed. I think that it’s an event that, hopefully, be a great way to finish up your year.

Kim Larson: Yeah.

Bill Neumann: And learn quite a bit. He’s also, Vin and his team, they’re including three complimentary, one hour, hands-on coaching calls if you attend the event, if you’re a DSO.

Kim Larson: That wraps up 2019. It was nice to look ahead a little bit to 2020. As we know, there are always shows being added. If you want to stay informed about all dental support organization and dental group events for 2020, stop by Group Dentistry Now, we have an Events tab.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. It was a busy year, 2019, for DSO emerging group meetings. I’m sure 2020, even though there have been some deletions, there will be some additions. There’s going to be a lot of great content, there will be a lot of great networking opportunities at these different meetings. I expect that they’ll be more attendees at each meeting.

Kim Larson: Well, this has been really fun, doing this audio podcast. We’re actually going to be doing more audio podcasts throughout the year. We’re going to be continuing with our video podcasts, but adding this element in as well, because people have been asking us for it. It’s been fun, and hopefully educational. Thank you so much to all of our subscribers, and our advertisers.

Kim Larson: If you see Bill and I at any meetings, please come over and say hi. I know everybody does, it’s fun to meet all of the people who read us every day.

Bill Neumann: Yeah. As I look back on 2019, and I think about the meetings I attended, it’s really great to hear the stories from founder dentists, people that have founded DSOs, and how they’ve scaled their businesses, and the trials and tribulations. Just, there’s so much excitement in this part of the dental industry, and it’s going to only continue. Really wish everybody well, and I encourage you to continue to share those stories with us when we see you.

Kim Larson: Thanks for joining us!

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