The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry – Episode 33

Robert James Bray DDS, MS, Schulman Group’s chairman & CEO and Chris Vranas, Executive Director of SG Management discuss the evolution of Schulman Group from a dental study club to an orthodontic DSO and how they helped their member practices through the shutdown and then get back to “business as usual” very quickly and efficiently. If you want to learn about how vision and efficiency are propelling the DSO industry forward right now, this enlightening, audio only podcast is for you!

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.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Bill Neumann:

I’d like to welcome everyone to, the Group Dentistry Now Show. I am Bill Neumann. And today on this podcast, we are going to talk about orthodontics; and specifically DSO orthodontics. And, we have two wonderful guests here. We have Dr. Bob Bray, and we have Chris Vranas. And, they are both from SG Management; also known as the Schulman Group. Give you a little bit of background on both of these individuals, here. And then, they’re going to talk about Schulman Group, SG Management, and what’s going on in the ortho industry, as we start to move from a COVID to a, maybe not post COVID, but new normal. Oh sorry, I can’t believe I said that. Anyway, welcome both of you, gentlemen. I appreciate having you both here, and give you a little bit of background on Dr. Bob Bray. Bob practices in South Jersey with his partner, Dr. Bob Tarby. They have six different locations for braces orthodontics. And, I think Dr. Bray, you mentioned you have a home office as well, so seven total locations. Correct?

Dr. Bob Bray: Correct.

Bill Neumann:

Thank you. Excellent. He is an active member of his local community. Dr. Bray serves currently as the chairman of the, hospital board of Shore Medical Center; and has been involved with fundraising for the hospital, for over 20 years. He earned his orthodontic degree, at Eastman Dental Center in Rochester, New York. And, completed a Masters of Science, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, with a major course in genetics. He is the president and CEO of Schulman Group, and he’s been the president and CEO, since 2017. Past president of the American Association of Orthodontists, AAO; facilitating relationships with foreign orthodontic societies, that lead to meetings with AAO, and the Australian Orthodontic Society, British Orthodontic Society, European Orthodontic Society, Japanese Orthodontic Society, Chinese, Taiwan, and the Indian Orthodontic Society.

Bill Neumann:

I might’ve forgotten something there, but it sounds like you pretty much, globally. Dr. Bray is the past president of the American Association of Orthodontic Foundation, and is currently the chair of the Keystone Society fundraising. He is a diplomat of American Board of Orthodontics, the ABO. And locally, served on the Brigantine Board of Education, including serving as the president of the board for 11 years. And actually, not too far away from where we’re located, serves at Temple University School of Dentistry, in the orthodontic department, as the associate clinical professor. And also, a visiting professor at the Eastman Institute of Oral Health, Rochester, New York. So again, thank you Dr. Bray for being here.

Bill Neumann:

We also have the executive director of SG, that’s a Schulman Group, and that is Chris Vranas. And, Chris is a CAE, and we’ll talk about what, that is in a second. But, he is responsible for the day-to-day management of SG Management, LLC. Responsibilities include the development of preferred supplier programs, continuing education, DSO marketing, and member programs and services.

Bill Neumann:

Chris also supports the acquisition of orthodontic practices, we’re going to get into that, later on in the podcast. Chris is a 30 year veteran in the association management field, and has been in the dental industry for quite a while. Previous to being at SG Management, he was the executive director at the ADSO, the Association of Dental Support Organizations. And then, prior to that, Chris was the executive director of the AAO; that is the American Association of Orthodontists. Chris has been involved in the dental industry for quite a while. He’s a graduate of the University of Maryland. And he maintains, that CAE that I talked about, which is the Certified Association Executive, designation. And, that is actually for elevating standards in the association industry, enhance individual performance. And, he lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Although Chris, I think you are moving to the Washington DC area, shortly, is that correct?

Chris Vranas:

That is correct. Moving home to where the whole family is.

Bill Neumann:

There you go. And, he has been married for 35 years. His wife, Janice and daughters are all in Washington DC, and that is why he is moving there. So again, welcome Chris and Dr. Bray, to the Group Dentistry Now Show. So now, that I gave your long bios and accomplishments, I am going to let you do a little speaking. So, Dr. Bray, why don’t we talk a little bit about Schulman Group, and maybe start at the beginning, with the history of Schulman, how they started out as a study club.

Dr. Bob Bray:

Thank you, Bill, very much; and thanks for the introduction, you’re very kind. Looking at Schulman, I’ll take you back, Bill, it’s the late 70s, and a gentleman by the name of Bud Schulman, was an accountant and also ran an orthodontic lab company in Washington, DC. He really enjoyed the orthodontist. And frankly, I think it can be said clearly, that Bud loved the orthodontic profession. He really enjoyed it. And as time went on, he began to field a group of people, orthodontist, that were very interested in business. And yet, at the same time, we’re very high performance, doing high quality, excellent work in orthodontics. So, we took a group of them and then over time, Bill, began to develop them meeting, and actually sharing with one another, what I would call today, best practices. And, that could be in something business oriented, like hiring staff. But, it also could be in clinical orientation, looking at a certain type of treatment. But primarily, the significant difference at that time, Bill, was that orthodontist were then beginning to look at the business side of the profession.

Dr. Bob Bray:

And, as we certainly fast forward to today, I mean, I think the business side is being talked about, and researched more and more than ever before. But back then, that was pretty unusual. And also, getting a group of high achievers together; and then, sharing information was really not heard of at all, but that’s how it got started. And Bud, just did a wonderful job over a lot of years. And, the group got stronger, more people from, frankly, all over the country; so, from East Coast, to West Coast. And, they would meet typically, at least once, or sometimes twice a year as a group, they also would have smaller individual meetings, based on where they were located. But, Bud would really keep a very tight list of people, the names; and then, keep a really strong hold on how the meeting was run. And he would, if you could picture, Bill, pick out someone, Bob Bray, and say, “I noticed on your tax return, you did this.” “Why did you do that?”

Dr. Bob Bray:

And questions like that, that typically would not happen in an organization. But, he would really drill down, and really put people, if you were, on the spot, if he thought they were not doing everything they could do to make their business; and at the same time, their work excellent. He wanted to make sure you were an excellent orthodontist, meaning doing the best treatment. He appreciated people when they achieved their American Board of Orthodontics status, the diplomate they call it. I mean, it mattered to him that, it’d be done the correct way. And then he, over time, wanted to slow up; and John McGill, who’s another real huge leader in orthodontics. He’s down in the North Carolina area, and he is a lawyer. And also, obviously has a lot of clients that are orthodontist, and he managed a group for a period of time.

Dr. Bob Bray:

And then, soon after that, Ron Redmond, who is an orthodontist, and a dear friend, just a great guy; he began to run the group, along with a group of board members. And, that continued for a considerable time. And, if you can picture 2017, if you will, Ron was going to be stepping down. And, that’s when I came in the picture, and I took over in 2017, as the president and CEO. And at that time, Bill, we were beginning to look into the idea of forming the Schulman Management Group. So, if you could picture the meeting, was set up, our annual meeting, with different presentations from outside consultants, talking about bringing together the group. And then, we were trying to, if you will, share with all the memberships, what was going on, and trying to encourage them to consider forming a group that would, in essence, work like a very private group; but organized groups who manage, if you will, and add value to individual orthodontic practices. That was a lot of talking there, sorry.

Bill Neumann:

No, that’s great. I think it puts everything in perspective. So started out really as kind of an exclusive study club, but it wasn’t just clinical, it was also focused on management of the business. And then, around 2017; really when, well when you took over, so to speak, you started looking at creating this management company. And I guess, that’s where Chris comes in. Chris, do you want to talk a little bit about, Schulman Group on the management side, and what that looks like?

Chris Vranas:

Sure. And again, thank you for the opportunity, and for your support over these years. Schulman realized that in order to continue to compete in a world where, a lot of consolidation with dental groups, orthodontic groups, pediatric groups, was happening; that it would be best for them to come together, and incorporate as a independently owned DSO, to be able to take advantage of all the benefits of a DSO, by maintaining their practice independence. I believe April 2018, was when they officially incorporated. I came on December 19. And, we began with doing a strategic plan on what were our goals, what was our structure; because we are different. We are unique, into what we are. We are not involved with private equity. Each founding member of Schulman is a equal shareholder in SG Management. And, we have structured the entity along the lines of a DSO, but also maintaining a member involvement.

Chris Vranas:

We at present, have 146 members over 300 practices, across 47 states. And, it represents an excess of $400 million in revenue. To become a member of Schulman, and also now SG Management, there are guidelines. We have a geographic issue, we make sure that our members are geographically based, so they’re not competing with each other. And, there’s certain financial guidelines that they have to meet, as well as, have to be able to participate in the group. Right now, I work under the direction, obviously of the board of directors, who are all shareholders. We continue to grow. I’ve developed a staff team, that are working in different aspects of the group. And, I know we’ll get into later, that we’ve also formed our practice purchasing entity, as well; where there’ll be Schulman owned practices in the very soon, future. And, we’ve also developed with our practice acquisitions group, a second entity, which will do the day-to-day management of those purchase practices.

Chris Vranas:

So, the group has been able to… Since we’ve incorporated, we have brought on 23 preferred supplier partners. As part of the management phase, our members are able to participate with gage, where we collect common KPIs; so we can share that information, not only within the membership, but the members can also see how they’re doing against the rest of the population. And as you know, data is king. The other program that we have is something called, CureMint. CureMint, is a web-based or cloud-based ordering platform. So, not only are all our preferred supplier programs, in CureMint that also each individual member that has orders from, off companies at various times, with all members going through, and purchasing procurement. We know what their purchasing, and how much, which is great data, when we perform our due diligence, and work with preferred suppliers. The third thing that we’ve just added, as part of this, is the human resource’s element. HR for Health has come on, and each member is part now of the, HR for Health. So, we have centralized human resources for the group.

Bill Neumann:

Excellent. So, you talked a lot about the services that are being provided from these preferred vendor partners. And, Dr. Bray mentioned it earlier, when he was going over the history of Schulman Group. But, the meetings are certainly important to the sharing of knowledge, from the various members. And, you probably had one of the last meetings of 2020, before COVID really started up. And, you have an annual meeting Dr. Bray? Or Chris, do you want to talk a little bit about the value of that, and what other types of events do you all do?

Dr. Bob Bray:

Chris can certainly add some additional things; but since he’s come on, we’re even doing more and more things, through technology, so that the whole group is getting webinars, and different things available to them weekly. So, that’s really special in my mind, Bill. But I think, the annual meeting usually runs about a week. And so, it’s a big chunk of time, and it gives the members a chance to really sit around with each other, and not only spend some time in the classroom, which we usually run somewhere between seven o’clock in the morning, to about one o’clock. But also, a lot of time just to sit around, and talk about what’s going on in their total lives; which really makes the group, a really focus group, on sharing information about life in general. I like it, because of those things. And, I think it gets stronger each year, because the group, Bill, is made up of really, a wonderful group of givers.

Dr. Bob Bray:

As you go through life, you run into certain people; and I think the Schulman docs, are really quite giving, and their spouses and families, can post up a question on the Listserv and gosh, within an hour or so, you have 12 or 15 individuals responding, telling you how to take care of this or that. So it makes it, in my opinion, very special. And then, we also have a team meeting, which usually is in September, August; where we also bring staff members together. And I think, the group, thanks to Chris, is doing a wonderful job, there. We’re getting more staff members involved. And as you know, Bill, it’s one thing to have the leader have some knowledge, but we really realize how important it is to infuse the staff, so that they are a part of, what I would refer to, almost like an open book management.

Dr. Bob Bray:

We’re really trying to get the staff members, to not only hear what is being said, but take the opportunity to say, geez, I talked to, so and so, out in California, and although I’m in New Jersey, she had a good idea, or he had a good idea; of how they get set up for bonding, or how they handle a new patient call. And, there’s just not a price in my opinion, Bill, that you can put on that, because then they’re getting not only, your individual office, and your staff meetings; but they’re beginning to hear from other people across the country. And, you just can’t help, but to grow very, very quickly

Chris Vranas:

Dr Bray, you brought up a really good point. And, I’ll get back to the meeting in a second. But, Dr. Bray likes to say that Schulman is really all about success through sharing. And although, we are considered a medium size DSO, because of our nimbleness, and the way that our members are involved, we’re able to do a lot of sharing of business, and clinical items. For example, each member is required twice a year to submit pearls. And, we have a format that they posted online. So, every month there’s new ideas on marketing clinical, social media, whatever it happens to be, staff management, of things that they’ve done in their own practices, that they share with the rest of the group. And of course, this is all searchable online, at any point. Members also, we just launched a new social media program where vendors have assigned a person from their team, who deals with social media.

Chris Vranas:

Again, a couple of times a year, they’re responsible for posting and sending us media about their practice, that we send out through all the Schulman practices, which is starting to extend or expand the Schulman brand. Hearing online, as Dr. Bray mentioned, it’s actually a Listserv that we have going on right now, which is really incredible. Yesterday, there was a whole issue about some things with a certain product out there, and they wanted to… How are you doing with this? How’s it going with this? Or, we just got our 3D printer in, we’re having some issues with this kind of resin, whatever. So, it’s a constant sharing of information. I think that’s possible, because they’re not competitors. So, they’re growing and sharing with shared information.

Chris Vranas:

The other thing that we have available is our common documents. Somebody has a form on staff dismissals, or an RFP or whatever. We keep all these on the member website, so they have access to them. And, Dr. Bray, when he was president at the AAO, was probably, I would say, a pioneer, in terms of getting the staff engaged. Staff are so essential to today’s, orthodontic practice. And, we started a staff engagement program earlier in the year, where members can register their staff; so, they have access to educational and product information, because the staff order most of the products. So, they’re able to really help the doctor take advantage of all the benefits that Schulman has, through these preferred supplier agreements, and to be able to share educational knowledge.

Bill Neumann:

That’s some good feedback there, Chris. And, I think there’s a lot going on, as far as the management services, and the sharing of knowledge. And, it looks like you’ve got, not just live meetings, you have online discussions, and not just the annual meeting, but you have webinars, and things like that. Let’s talk a little bit about the other piece, really to SG management, which is the practice acquisition side. So, it’s not just about the members that join, you’re actively seeking orthodontic practices to acquire. Look, talk a little bit about how that all works, and then what the strategy is.

Chris Vranas:

Sure, [crosstalk 00:18:55]…

Dr. Bob Bray:

Well, I’m going to let Chris talk after this, Bill. But, I just wanted to say one thing. I’m glad you brought it up, meaning acquisition. Because when we had a meeting, our annual meeting, goes back to 2000, and I think 17 and 18, before Chris came on, I said that we could have a actual meeting up in my room, about those that would be interested in talking about acquisitions, or maybe selling their practices. And I was amazed. I mean, we had so many people up in the room, the room was overflowing with people. And, it may be realize, then Bill, that the group… Again, it’s a wonderful group of givers and shares of things, but they had some pride in their organization that they built, and they want to then make sure it’s passed on to some people that really care about it.

Dr. Bob Bray:

And, I was really struck by that, and I’ll let Chris take it from there. But, I think it surprised me, that so many would actually be interested. I just threw it out there, and thought I was forming these different committees. I said, “Well, I’m going to try one on acquisition.” And, it really has been wonderful, what Chris and the company have done. So go ahead, Chris. I just wanted to say that, because it blew me away at the time, bill.

Bill Neumann:

A lot more interest than you thought, probably.

Dr. Bob Bray:

Yes.

Chris Vranas:

That’s really two points, we have members that when it’s time for them, to retire, or start thinking about retiring; they know they have a home, where the standards of their practice will be maintained. But, there’s also been tremendous amount of interest from practices outside of the group. So, when we did our initial business plan in 2019, and then extended again in 2020; the first thing was to structure SG management, LLC, as a DSO with preferred provider agreements, and that type of thing. Phase two was going to be the actual formation of an entity, where the shareholders, who were the members would own practices collectively. That actually has jump started in time. That was going to be year three, but we’re already actively pursuing.

Chris Vranas:

And, the way that’s worked is, we have formed an entity, where we have a chief operating officer, who’s just retired Schulman member, Dr. Anne Todd; who is working with myself, and our practice acquisition committee, and representatives from Waller Law group, Mike White and Ben Miller from CliftonLarsonAllen who was our financial person. And, we’ve put this group together, where we developed a template, where we are working with individual practices, and developing programs, on how they wish to enter into being purchased over time.

Chris Vranas:

Right now, as today, we have several practices with letter of intents out there. The way that it works is, we receive either from members within the group, or from outside of the group, they submit an application. And then, our committee engages with them and say, “Okay, what are you looking for?” “How long are you still willing to stay on to the practice?” We evaluate the practice based on Schulman guidelines. Certain profitability, they’re an excellent worm practice. We do site visits to make sure that it’s a practice, that fits within the Schulman standards. And we’re also doing it, based on geographic location. We’re attempting to build it. We will be building kind of centralized areas.

Chris Vranas:

For example, we have one of our members who has six offices. And, once that comes into the fold, we’ll be adding practices in that area, so we can manage them effectively. We have some owners that are saying, “Look, I want to be out in X years,” so we have an active program, where we’re actually getting applications from associates, that we will bring into the practices to transition, once the original doctor transitions out. We also are looking at… We have a member who wants to stay on for five years, but I want to start the process now.

Chris Vranas:

So, we structure the acquisition really based on, not just the Schulman guidelines, but based on the needs of that doctor. So, if you’re selling to Schulman, you can be comfortable knowing that, the philosophy and how you’ve run your practice is still going to be there, for your patients and your future patients. And at the same time, it’s a group of orthodontists that are buying the practice; not private equity or some outside entity. So, the integrity…. Because, all orthodontists are very, very active, and very well known in their communities. And, they want to maintain that standard, because this is something that they built.

Bill Neumann:

So, let’s pivot a little bit there, and talk about what you are seeing as a group, as SG Management. Maybe, what you see with orthodontic practices within SG, and then beyond, like versus the general population. I think a lot of our audience would be really interested to hear, how your members are fairing, given the COVID crisis. Now, the things are starting to open up again. And then, kind of almost looking at what you’re hearing outside of the group and the differences. Chris, do you want to start with that, with some trends?

Chris Vranas:

Absolutely. One thing, just to start out with that, when COVID hit, big time, right after our annual meeting. And, offices were shut down for two months, because of our nimbleness, we were able to immediately organize town hall meetings online through Zoom, with various experts in the field; initially, to talk about the three phases of the stimulus package, and how that impacted human resources issues, small business loan issues. All the things that came up, we were able to leverage our abilities with folks, such as Ali, from HR for Health, and Mike White, from hotel CliftonLarsonAllen, and others; to get on Zoom meetings with our members, to help them through those initial periods. Then as the members were starting to look to reopen, what does that orthodontic practice look like?

Chris Vranas:

So we immediately, were able to get a lot of materials for them, and through the members caring, and through some experts that we brought on, Andrea Cook, for example, and others, to talk about. OSHA issues, things preparing for your patients coming back. We were able to do that as well. And now, as Dr. Bray said, we do a lot of webinars, but we’re doing them more on practice management things, and others, as people have has starting to reopen. Some interesting statistics, as I said, there’s an outfit called Gauge, which collects common KPIs from orthodontists, across the country. And then, a subgroup with Schulman, as we said, every member has access to Gauge. So, we collect all their KPIs.

Chris Vranas:

And, considering that most offices were shut down for two months, when we compare 2020 statistics to 2019 statistics; net production, members are down just five percent. In terms of net collection, we down six percent. Total starts is only down one percent. So, we’re ahead of the general population. But, considering that offices were closed for two years, I think it’s… Excuse me, two months, I think that things could be a lot more dire, but I think our members were able, with the support of the way that they work together as a group, to get right back into the battle, and starting again.

Chris Vranas:

And, I think moving forward, the other thing is, how orthodontists are interacting with their patients. Teledentistry has been around for a while now, but people have really been dipping their toes in it, a little bit. Well COVID forced members figuring out how to communicate with their patients, when they couldn’t come into the office. So, we had small groups of members, and working with dental monitoring simplify, smile snap, and other areas, our preferred practice management system, which is Ortho2 Edge; has now introduced a new video component as well. So, we were able to work with our members, and kind of experiment with these different formats. So now, the members are clickable, with this new element to their offices, which as we all know, will probably stay around now, as we move forward.

Bill Neumann:

Excellent. So yeah, those numbers sound really encouraging. I’ll tell you, I mean, the numbers are certainly… The general dentist population, for sure. So, why don’t we talk a little bit about what kind of adjustments you made as a group, coming out of COVID, to really get to the point where you’re only down five percent, starts are only down one percent. I mean, that’s really incredible, considering being shut down for two months. Can we talk a little bit about that? Why don’t we start with Dr. Bray, and what did you do in your practices, and what did the group do as a whole?

Dr. Bob Bray:

Sure. Be glad to, Bill. I think first of all, I’d like to just stress, the uniqueness for me in the group, is just the character of the individuals. They really are, Bill, just wonderful ladies and gentlemen. I mean, they’re just really good people. And, I wanted to stress, things like, I mentioned, the American Board of Orthodontics, there is a vast majority of our members that are diplomats of the American board. They care about that. They want excellence. Keystone Society that I mentioned earlier, with the foundation, they’re all givers to that. I mean, I’m going to say it’s close to 90 some percent. They’re just real good. Well, that makes a difference in my opinion, as we moved ahead, Bill, because, my belief always is that, you want to go real fast in something, you go alone. But, if you want to really go far, you go together and that’s what they did.

Dr. Bob Bray:

They went into that COVID situation in such a way, that they just banded together, and began sharing every day, every hour of the day; what they learned or what went on. And so, we would have these discussions going on, literally 24 seven, because of the time zones, and different things. And, you’d wake up, and see a whole new group of information, that you had to go through; but yet at the same time, it was right there for you, so that you could begin to adjust in your individual office, in your individual team members, sharing with them, what’s going on. And so, they not only pivoted very quickly, they really shared so much, that it just was a win-win for everybody. And so really, there wasn’t a staff member, that would bring up something, that there wasn’t a plan already in place.

Dr. Bob Bray:

I chuckle, one individual came up with an idea of getting a stop light outside their office, so that it flashed either red or green; so people knew whether it was appropriate time for them to come in for their appointment. I mean not that, that’s actually the answer for everything, for everybody. Everybody’s in a different situation. But Bill, it was a type of thing where the information just… I think everybody almost felt like it was trying to drink from a fire hose. It just was so much. But, it was great because Chris also organized it in such a way, that we would continually have more, and more things, that we could introduce right away to the practice. So, that’s what I really loved about the group, and felt so good about it. And, I think that’s why the numbers have responded so well, with actual data, to show that the group really did adapt and adjust very quickly. And, I think that’s remarkable, about what they do.

Bill Neumann:

So, I’ve got a couple of other questions here, and then if I missed anything, just any final thoughts. But, where are we now? I mean, what is the ortho industry look like, right now? What do we think, Q3 and Q4, of this year look like? And, if you even want to make predictions in the 2021, if you’re in the prediction game. But, just kind of curious as a whole, what are the opportunities? What are the challenges? Chris, you could start and then we’ll have Dr. Bray, follow-up.

Chris Vranas:

Yeah, I think from a organization or company perspective, our challenges, which I’m very, very positive behind are that, this particular model of a DSO could be the standard for those, that don’t wish to go the private equity route. We definitely are unique. But I think, based on the progress we’ve made in such a very short time, shows that there are a lot of, whether it’s orthodontist, pediatric dentists, oral surgeons, whomever, that want to have the advantages of a DSO. And not just a buying group, but a DSO, in all of its forms. But, to still be able to maintain the integrity and independence of practice, I think is going to be a very positive thing, as we continue to grow in that area. I think in terms of the orthodontic profession, moving forward, just based on the statistics that I’m seeing in the downside, orthodontists are not generally down that much; given the fact, that they were closed for two months.

Chris Vranas:

So, I think that shows that, there’s still a tremendous interest from the consumer, in orthodontic services. There’s a lot of players in the field now, both direct, as well as larger players, and all that. But, I think that the market worldwide, and particularly United States, has yet to be fully tapped. So I think, there’s a very bright future for orthodontists. I mean, it’s interesting; there was a period of time where, there were so many new orthodontic schools opening, and so many new orthodontists coming out. And so, where were all these folks going to work? Well, now there’s a shortage of associates, and people are looking for associates across the board. Everybody’s looking for associates. So, I think that the future of orthodontics is very bright, and I think it’s just going to continue, as we evolve.

Bill Neumann:

Dr. Bray, maybe we’ll ask you, for final thoughts on this.

Dr. Bob Bray:

Well, I’m right in line with what Chris said. I mean, I think Bill, we’re really… People always call the golden years of orthodontics, they would make a comment about it. But, I think we’re there, still. There are wonderful opportunities. I think people in our country, and our area, let’s say even South Jersey; people are concerned and want to have a better smile. And Bill, that translates to them coming to see us; and, I think that’s terrific. I do think all of us have to adjust with, let’s say, the times we’re open, available for people. I think trying to have flexible payment plans for people. But again, I think the orthodontics typically has always been very much ahead of the game, and adjusting and adapting.

Dr. Bob Bray:

And so, I think it’s going to be very good, moving forward. And I think, we’re very fortunate, because people do want to have a better smile, and that is important. And, I think it’s going to continue to play that way, Bill.

Bill Neumann:

So encouraging news, I appreciate both of you, Dr. Bray and Chris, spending some time with us today, and really giving us some background on Schulman Group management; really the history, up until till now. The fact that you’re doing practice acquisitions is really exciting and interesting, some of the services that you’re providing, your members; and just what’s going on in the ortho industry. I really think, it gives me certainly hope for the future. So again, we thank today, the executive director of Schulman Group Management, LLC, that’s Chris Vranas. Thanks for being here, Chris. And Dr. Bob Bray, who is the chairman and CEO of Schulman Group. Thank you both.

Dr. Bob Bray:

Thank you. Very grateful. Thank you.

 

 

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