Born in Sudbury Ontario Canada, the 'Nickel Capital of The World', Geoffrey spent some eight years there prior to moving to Ottawa, the nation's capital. Interestingly Sudbury was where NASA sent the Apollo astronauts to train prior to the initial moon launch as it was the closest surface on the earth which approximated the moon. It was in Ottawa that Geoffrey discovered the game of golf and though he played hockey like most of his friends did, it was golf which became his passion. He procured his CPGA card in 1976 and was a member of the Canadian PGA for some five years. It was while in Florida in the early 80's that he met an aspiring professional for the LPGA tour whom he helped to attain her tour card and caddied for. An interesting experience, he came to the conclusion that age was becoming a consideration and that it was time to establish a career. It was the result of a casual game of golf in Toronto (circa 1982) that Geoffrey was introduced to Jim Kerr, the owner of Shaw Laboratories, a full service lab group. Jim whose daughter went on to swim for the Canadian Olympic Team felt that there was a direct correlation between athletics and sales, and hired Geoff that June. Geoffrey spent some six years with Shaw in both a sales and sales management capacity until once again golf introduced him to the retail/distribution side of the industry. In 1988 he teamed up with Denco Canada a full service distributor with branch operations from coast to coast. Back then they sold alloy, Adaptic self cure composite, film and prophy cups. As Geoff recalls, it was not until 1990 when Kimberly Bergalis was diagnosed with AIDS that they sold gloves to the profession. Ms. Bergalis dentist, Dr David Acer purportedly infected her with the HIV virus and overnight the public demanded that the profession don gloves prior to treatment. Geoff still recalls selling Johnson & Johnson Microtouch gloves for $33.00 a box ($330 a case) and not being able to satisfy the demand. It was in 1990 that Denco literally imploded and what had been a powerhouse became insolvent. As Geoff says, they wrote the book which Healthco later read. He stayed on until the final day at which time he joined forces with Canadian Dental with whom he partnered until September 1992. It was at that time that he procured his Green Card and came south to Winston Salem North Carolina. Geoff partnered with Thompson Dental which was a member of what is now the NDC. They were acquired by Patterson for whom he sold until joining forces with Henry Schein in 2009. The past couple of years, Geoff has been an independent sales consultant in different areas, including oral cancer and obstructive sleep apnea along with some interests outside of dentistry.
VIDEO - DUwHF #955 - Geoffrey Spence
AUDIO - DUwHF #955 - Geoffrey Spence
Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcasting my personal friend and buddy, Geoffrey Spence. Thank you so much for coming by today.
Geoffrey Spence: Thank you for having me.
Howard: So Geoffrey was born in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, the nickel capital of the world. He spent some eight years there, prior to moving to Ottawa, the nation's capital. Interesting, Sudbury was where NASA sent the Apollo astronauts to train prior to the initial moon landing, as it was the closest surface on the earth, which approximated the moon. It was in Ottawa that Geoffrey discovered the game of golf and although he played hockey like most of his friends did, it was golf which became his passion. He procured the CPGA card in ‘76 and was a member of the Canadian PGA for five years. It was while in Florida in the early eighties that he met an aspiring professional from, for the LPGA Tour, whom he helped to attain her tour card and caddied for her. An interesting experience, he came to the conclusion that age was becoming a consideration and it was time to establish a career. It was the result of a casual game of golf in Toronto that Geoffrey was introduced to Jim Kerr, the owner of Shaw Laboratories, a full-service lab group. Jim whose daughter went on to swim for the Canadian Olympic team, felt that there was a direct correlation between athletics and sales, and hired Geoff that June. Geoffrey spent some six years with Shaw in both a sales and sales management capacity until once again, golf introduced him to the retail distribution side of the industry. In 1988, he teamed up with Denco Canada, a full-service distributor with branch operations from coast to coast. Back then sold Alloway Adapted Self Cure Composite Form and Prophy Cups. As Geoff recalls, it was not until 1990 when Kimberly Bergalis was diagnosed with AIDS, that they sold gloves to the profession. Miss. Bergalis' dentist, Dr. David Acer reportedly infected her with the HIV virus and overnight the public demanded that the profession don gloves, prior to treatment. Geoff still recalls selling Johnson & Johnson Mitric Touch gloves for $33 a box and not being able to satisfy the demand. It was in 1990 that Denco literally imploded and what had been a powerhouse became insolvent. As Geoff says, they wrote the book with Healthco later. He stayed on until the final day at which time he joined forces with Canadian Dental, with whom he partnered with until September 1992. It was at the time that he procured his green card and came south to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Geoff partnered with Thompson Dental, which was a member of what is now NDC. They were acquired by Patterson for whom he sold until joining forces with Henry Schein in 2009. The past couple of years, Geoff has been an independent sales consultant in different areas including oral cancer and obstructive sleep apnea with some interest outside of dentistry. Ryan, Google, what was the final word on Kimberly Bergalis? What was the final at the end, do they really think David Acker infected her or..?
Geoffrey Spence: As I can recall, I think it was proven conclusively that he deliberately was injecting HIV blood and she, unfortunately, was a victim of what he was allegedly doing. That's my understanding. He passed away a number of years ago. Everything I've read, had a lifestyle that was certainly a little bit on the wild side, he contracted the HIV virus and purportedly was bitter and wanted to more or less have the authorities recognize, that it was a, he was just angry. And Kimberly Bergalis, she was the all-American girl. She was, she had no, my recollection there was no boyfriends, no sexual improprieties and how she contracted AIDS was at that time a mystery.
I can still recall that was back in, somewhere around 1990 and I was with Denco and overnight when this story came to light, the profession, certainly. It's interesting, in many ways what transpires in Canada, I was somewhat surprised when I came south that in many areas, Canada trails the US when it comes to business and those type things. But the Canadian dental profession was very forward-thinking, very progressive and I was actually a little bit surprised that when I came south, things were not happening down here that were taking place north of the border. But I can still recall in 1990, for the most part, it was wet finger dentistry, Doctors were not wearing gloves. Overnight the public demanded that they not be treated without personal protection equipment on the clinician’s side. And we could not get them, we could not keep them in stock. We were selling Johnson and Johnson Micro Touch Gloves for $33 a box, $330 a case and there was no quibbling and we couldn't satisfy the demand. It was a very interesting, from a distribution side, very interesting time and certainly very lucrative, I guess.
Howard: So the first guy from my class, I lived all through this. I was in Dental School, ‘84 to ‘87. The first guy in our class who died of AIDS. And Ryan, did you know that your mother's best friend, when I was dating her junior year of Dental School, her best friend was in Law School and died of it and it was just all new and there were as many theories of what was going on. It was first, it was gay cancer then. But David Acker said that, until white beautiful blondes were dying of AIDS, no one would care.
But if you're a young millennial and you didn't live through this and you want to know really the best movie ever on the gay cancer, HIV AIDS was The Band Played On and it was an HBO movie. So the only, when I rewatched that, the only thing I can find it on is YouTube. I don't know why that's not on Netflix, but did you ever see that movie And The Band Played On?
Geoffrey Spence: I don't think so, I've heard of it.
Howard: Oh my God!
Geoffrey Spence: And I'll probably when I get back to North Carolina need to.
Howard: But yeah, you've got to watch that movie, And The Band Played On, that was an amazing time. God, that was a wild story. And...
Geoffrey Spence: What year did it take place?
Howard: What year did The Band Played On, Ryan? There were a lot, and all these really famous movie stars come out because everybody was saying, they were upset with Reagan, he never even mentioned AIDS till like maybe. It was 1981 and Reagan was president 1980 to 1988 and he couldn't even mention it, he couldn't mention it because back then you couldn't mention gay, it was just so shocking. I can't believe I lived through a time, my little brother's gay, that gay was something you couldn't even talk about, so now they can legally get married. Same with marijuana. When I was in high school, you got caught drunk with Jack Daniels, the policeman helped drive you to get you home and if you were caught with marijuana, you were arrested like a criminal and now if you're caught with beer and Jack Daniels, you're arrested and they sell weed legal. So I've seen a lot of changes but they're very slow generation.
But I see a very big parallel to that movie and who were some of the famous movie stars in that movie? Richard Gere, Alan Alda from Mash, Phil Collins. And you know why all those great movie stars went in that movie because they were lending their support that we can talk about this. And right now it's funny how a generation later, it's the same rodeo with a different disease and it's oral sex with HPV and oral pharyngeal cancer. And you might look back and say, God, I can't believe even Ronald Reagan couldn't talk about gay sex and HIV and that no one knew what to do. But today almost, I would say at least 90% and it might be 99% of dentists can't tell one of these kids that are getting ready to go off to college, that just because you have a condom on, you have sex, you think you're protected, but you're trading saliva and it's this HPV strains in the saliva. And they don't even have the guts to tell their mom that, when their kids come in that you should get these kids vaccinated for HPV, so they don't get oral pharyngeal cancer and that's our part of the body. We should be physicians of the mouth, not molar mechanics, but it's funny how in 2018 when gay people can get married, they're selling weed as recreation, but my homies can't even mention oral sex, kissing, saliva causing HPV, causing upwards of fifty thousand deaths a year. So much carnage and then when a Governor of Texas, who was a Conservative Republican. The Republicans are usually the Conservative ones, the Democrats usually Liberal and a Republican Governor in Texas tried to mandate that all the girls have HBV (unclear 0:09:48) and the backlash, was no way. Now I'm not for mandatory vaccination because my thought is, well, what if everybody on the planet was given a vaccine and then they found out it was wrong and all their kids or grandkids would be sterile. We could lose the species? I think it's pretty cool if 10% of the population said, no, I don't want to take any of your vaccines medicine because they might be the only ones that survive. The space shuttle blew up, the Challenger blew, really smart people screw up really big time and I think a mandatory a vaccination is horrible, but I do think that when you're talking to Dentists, especially the ones my age, the baby boomers, they can't tell mom that oral sex could lead to oral pharyngeal cancer and you'd die.
Geoffrey Spence: It's a very difficult conversation and I know I would try and have the conversation with Dentists when I was calling on them regularly. It's a very difficult conversation. My wife, who I've been married to for, we got married in 1988, she's from Ann Arbor, Michigan, originally we met in Toronto. She got her formal training and procured her nursing license with Toronto General Hospital and then went on to go to Wake Forest Baptist when we came south. So she's nursed at two thousand bed downtown teaching hospitals, wonderful facilities and when both boys were age appropriate, she made sure that we got them on the protocol for the vaccination...
Geoffrey Spence: ...HPV to prevent that. We had the conversation, the boys were vaccinated and I'm trying to recall what the vaccine is called but somewhat controversial but we weren't going to be naive and put our head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that it wasn't going to happen. So, Gardasil, that's what it was and it was...
Geoffrey Spence: ...yeah and it was a series of injections that took place, off the top of my head, I think there were three or four injections that were done over a period of months and it was designed to protect the boys from getting oral cancer. I grew up, I think we've talked about this. I grew up in Sudbury, my father was a broadcaster, that's where he got his radio and then went on to do television. He got his start, was discovered, we moved to Ottawa and then he was with the CJOH, with CTV network, which was a national television network. He was seen from coast to coast, was seen down in this country. Long story short, dad was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer about ten years ago now and unfortunately ended up having a radical Laryngectomy. So he no longer speaks, as he at one time did. And oral cancer does not discriminate on gender, age, it's a very non-discriminatory disease.
Howard: Yeah, I got a post on Dentaltown about Gardasil and if you're listening to this, when you get on Dentaltown, I know there's five million posts. Just do a search for Gardasil because the problem isn't with the vaccine, the problem is how do you get your dental colleagues who, probably 80% are religious, conservative, they just don't know how to go there. So what, what verbiage are you using? Go there and talk about it and yeah.
Ryan just sent me a link. Kimberly Bergalis, 1968, died 1991. Was an American woman who was one of six patients infected by David G. Acker, everybody calls him Acer but it's pronounced Acker. The incidence is the first known case of clinical transmission of HIV. The CDC conducted a, this is from Wikipedia, phylogenetic analysis of the DNA sequence to the viral envelope. The analysis revealed that the viral sequences from five patients, including Kimberly Bergalis, were more closely related to the Dentist's viral sequences than those from the local controls. Later analysis, identified another one. So yeah, he absolutely murdered six people because he knew that, well, he believed in his psychotic mind that until blonde white chicks started dying of it, no one was going to pay attention. But, Gardasil is a great drug, but I guess you got to get the vaccination before you get exposed to it.
Geoffrey Spence: Right and again, all I can say from personal experiences is that my two sons who are twenty-six and twenty-one at present, they probably had it done in both instances when they were around fourteen years of age. And again, it was a conversation that my wife was not afraid to have, she wasn't naïve and she just wanted to ensure that they would be protected.
Howard: Yeah, so I'm posting (unclear 0:15:13), the problem is not the vaccine, it's that dentists do not talk about oral sex and deep kissing, transmitting HPV. (unclear 0:15:23). Is anyone routinely talking about this to their patients? What are you saying? And yeah, that's the deal.
Another thing I wanted to bring you on the show for so much is that you've been in labs on and off for decades and so many of these young kids get seduced by a mail-order coupon, send it clear across the country. And my deep belief on that is that you can do that if you're good, but when you come out of school, the bottom line is you don't do fillings and crowns and root canals good until you've done a thousand of them for five years. So, somebody who's practiced five years, they can send their crown to Timbuktu, who cares? They know what they're doing. But I think it's so valuable for the young kids to work with a lab up the street and the labs. When I talk to labs, and I podcast interview labs, they're really afraid of their customers because if they call you up and say, Geoffrey, that impression is no good, your prep is horrible. I want you to get the patient back, re-prep it and send me a new impression. You're going to say, oh my God!, I'm a doctor, what are you, out of your mind? I'm going to get another lab.
So you have to be proactive, your kids aren't going to talk to you. I raised four boys. They're not going to talk to you unless you make them feel safe. Your staff's not gonna bring you problems, if every time they bring your problem, you lose it and scream and yell and unplug. You got to make people feel safe. You got to call your lab man and say, hey, I just got out of school or I'm young and I want you to feel safe. I don't want you to just send me back work if I could be better, let me know. And when I first did that, it was a German, because the Germans are the only ones that have the greatest dental laboratory schools where you get mastership and there's this guy here, there's this old guy named Wolfgang and everybody said he was this staunch German and in Germany he had the masters and all the bells and whistles and everything. So, I said I'm going to use that guy. So I sent him a few cases and first time I had a break I call him up and I said, Wolfgang, my name's Howard and I'm twenty-four, I just graduated from UMKC, I've sent you some cases and I just want to know. Was UMKC a good school? Was that good work? Am I doing good? And just a long pause and I said, hello, hello. And I said, I want you to tell me what you know, I think he was like sixty-five at the time and I was like twenty-five or something. And I think I graduated twenty-four, turned twenty-five August 29th and then opened September 11th, so I was twenty-five in a month. And he goes, you really want to know the truth? And I'm like, of course, I want to know the truth and there was this deep pause, he goes, well, I think maybe you should come down here. And I went down there and this old man took me under his wing and showed me a hundred cases and mine was the worst. He was showing me the best cases, getting them on the phone, then I was meeting these older dentists in Scottsdale and they were, I could go down there and work them and, he changed everything about what I was doing. And then, and so it was making the lab man feel safe and working with a guy in Phoenix, Arizona, I think it was called Continental Labs back then. What advice would you give young kids working with labs?
Geoffrey Spence: I think exactly what you've just stated. I got my start in 1982 with what's now known as the Shaw Group, at the time it was Shaw Laboratories, which was in downtown Toronto. Shaw was a large, full-service dental lab, crown, and bridge, fixed restorative, removable. They did their own Vitallium frameworks, so they weren't sending it to another, as many do, to another lab to fabricate the frameworks. They were, at that point getting into Ortho. So they covered the gambit from A to Z and Jim Kerr, who was the principal owner of Shaw, and I saw Jim when I was up in Toronto two years ago. He still goes in, he's not quite as active, but he discovered early on that the finest technicians were across the pond over in Europe and he brought a lot of them over to Canada. And one of his, I guess he was quiet partner because in order to maintain a lab you had to have a RDT, Registered Dental Technician had to be part of the ownership group, even if it was a small percent, he or she still had to be part of that ownership group. Jim was a CPA, Wolf Riedel was the RDT and Wolf was from Germany and he was a wonderful man and he probably spent as much time back in the lab looking at the cases when they came in and he didn't get on the bench too much, but he could. And he wasn't afraid to get on the phone and call the doctor and say, that prep isn't quite what we needed to give you what you're looking for.
But many, what I've found is that many of the technicians, many of the lab owners were afraid to have that conversation because if we look at the hierarchy, the pecking order, we have the dentist is here and the lab is somewhere down here and at that point in time, you didn't want to cause the doctor to be upset about the fact that maybe their clinical skills weren't quite where they needed to be. So, but when I look back at that time, and it was interesting because I was coming, I had played golf, I was a golf professional prior to coming to Shaw Labs and that was one of the reasons I was hired was, that's a long story. But, it was interesting for me to go back into the lab, see these technicians and the finest technicians that we had at that time were from Europe and whether it be Germany, Poland, they were all European. I can still see Boris, I can't remember Boris' last name, he was on the removable side of the lab and he would be polishing that full denture or the partial denture and he would look at the acrylic and then take it up and lick it to make it shine and then put it back on to polish. Well, you couldn't do that today with HIPAA and (unclear 0:22:04) and, but back then, it was just very interesting how there was a lot of hydrocolloid, you'd go, you'd have to run and get the impression, bring it in, pour it up immediately and, but these Europeans, they were wonderful clinicians and then along the way, Jim discovered the Orient and started to bring in a lot of, at that time, Japanese and then actually went down to Indonesia, which we quietly had a lab down in Indonesia because again, we found that there was a high quality of skill level coming out of the Far East. So it's interesting how it evolved.
Howard: Well, it was crazy, we were talking earlier about, when I was in Dental School 1984 to 1987. I lived through the emergence of gay cancer, which turned into HIV, which was AIDS, an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. But at that time we had fifteen thousand labs and now thirty years later we only have seven thousand five hundred and what blew my mind is that the United States closed down all the Dental Schools, closed down all their laboratory schools and people don't realize the government, private sector Ying yang, helping each other. There's so much (unclear 0:23:23) all of free enterprise is great and you have the Milton Friedman guys, that think there shouldn't be a government, libertarian and all that kind of stuff. And that free markets always our best and that's crazy and then they think governments all bad. Well, people are people. So there's good people in government, there's good people in business, there's bad people in government, bad people in business. If you didn't have government, you just had free markets. Look at the abuses they did, look at slavery. Two pieces of technology, a gun, and a whip and they have immensely abused millions of people for free-market profiteering. And so when you say, so people don't like checks and balances, they don't like transparency. There's gotta be a government free enterprise partnership and when all the public Dental School's close down all the certified Dental Labs. Germany and China were expanding them and a lot of people miss that little nuance because they'll say, well, everybody was going to China because it was cheaper there. OK, well if I go to a poor country and hand them an (unclear 0:24:27) impression, they're not going to know what to do with it, they're cheaper yeah, they might work for (unclear 0:24:32) money, but they wouldn't even know (unclear 0:24:35) impression. When I go to Dental Schools in Hong Kong, their certified dental lab student body number is bigger than their dentist's number. So all those people start sending impressions to China because labs would tell me all over America when I was lecturing, I have had an ad in the newspaper for a model trimmer, a porcelain stacker, a die trimmer for three years and no one's even called. So again, you say, oh, I want to create jobs. Well, then create a job for building that you need a lab tech. Well, someone has to train this kid, so if only, and that's a problem in the United States where manufacturing countries focus more on degrees like teaching how to weld and be an electrician and all these trades where America's universities are trying to teach you history and philosophy and you get a degree in communications and OK, great you're a history major, a double major in philosophy and a minor in communications. Can you make me a porcelain cup? Can you manufacturer a lens? Can you make me a cellphone? Apple says that they only manufacture their phones in China because there's not even people in the United States that know half the manufacturing process, because why? America's making history majors and philosophy majors. China's, they're making majors in very specific skill sets, now that makes stuff.
Geoffrey Spence: And I firmly believe that I've watched this race to the bottom over the years and I can still remember when I was back in Canada. I got my green card, I came south in 1992 and to come into this country and do so legally. It's a very arduous process, it was full disclosure. There's probably more knowledge within the government archives about me than most people but I had nothing to hide and it was fine but, where was I going with all this now? But, I've watched the race to the bottom, I guess and we need to start making things again. I saw when I was in Canada...
Howard: Well, but you know why we can't make anything? Because if, the biggest mystery in my mind is that if you ask any American, what made America the greatest, wealthiest superpower of our time? And they say, oh, it was Ellis Island. For five hundred years passionate people with an idea and ambition came from all over the world and then they stopped it.
Geoffrey Spence: Yes, and there was a time that everything was proudly stamped, Made in America, and I can remember being in Canada and we used to manufacture and produce things up there and then we had, NAFTA was signed, the North American Free Trade Agreement and all of a sudden there was this exodus from Canada down to the United States because you no longer had to have a manufacturing facility in Canada to sell product in Canada. And what they found is that you could take that Canadian worker who was making more, whether it be with a salary, whether it be on an hourly basis or whatever, however they were being compensated. You start adding in the benefits because up there we all had healthcare, quote-unquote, free healthcare. We paid for it through very heavily, a very heavy tax structure, but we had free healthcare. But you could take all of that, bring it down to the United States and now you weren't having to pay the money that it cost to produce that same item in Canada, you could do it down here, less expensive. And then I watched it go when we had NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and again, these jobs that were, had come down here, they're starting to immigrate to Mexico. So it's been a race to the bottom and I firmly believe that we need to start making things in this country. I can recall, I forget what the brand was now, but to one of our major toothpaste manufacturers was being made over in China and somehow it was on a production line, where if my memory serves me correct, there was anti-freeze being made in the same factory and somehow anti-freeze got into the toothpaste and I know I no longer use that particular brand of toothpaste. I switched to what I was raised with going back to when I was still back up in Sudbury in Ottawa. And that could possibly happen here, but I don't think so, maybe that's why we pay more for product that's made in this country and the regulations ensure that it's going to be safe for the end consumer.
Howard: Well the United States has had 2% GDP growth, plus or minus a quarter and a half for two decades, almost three and the only way you could get back to the raging century that built this country is just to open back up Ellis Island. Because the people that have enough passion and motivation to move to another continent, one in four of those guys open their own business. But the people born here, it's not even one in ten. So, think of how many people do you know that are so passionate about an idea that they would move to China to start a manufacturing facility. It's almost no one but that person, they called it the brain drain and they know it's the brain drain and they all agree it's the brain drain. Then you say, well, will you give amnesty to all the illegals and open back up Ellis island. Hell no! That's the greatest mystery (unclear 0:30:19).
But I want to go to another question because you also have, you had extensive time in labs and with supplies and I tell people to use a local lab, at least for their first thousand crowns and maybe even two or three. Why would you not use them? And even if you're rural, I don't care if it's an hour away because if it's an hour drive into the big city. Well, it's worth it at just one day a month, when you're young, to drive into that town, it's your largest expense. Your largest expense is a 42%, here's your fee, a $1000 for a crown. Your largest expense is a 42% adjustment off that because you sign up with a PPO, so you're only getting $600 for the crown. Now that's the average adjustment on a PPO, 48%. Your second largest cost is labor, it averages about 25% and if it's higher than that, you got to fix that. And then third is lab, lab averages 10% and then supply is a 6%. So I'd like you to use someone who will take you under their wing and help you, but not just that, they'll take you in there and show you all these incoming impressions, so you can see what all your colleagues are doing, you can see their name on the pan. You can see who's sending in a quadrant tray, who still has two bloody cotton rolls on there. So, you say, OK David Larkey across the street, he must've skipped the biology class and infectious diseases. But again, they're telling you, oh, the best work is this guy and now you and I'll get you on the phone with him, that's cool.
So now to the supply side. We had the President of 3M Dental here and so he runs $1,300,000,000 a year in supplies. And I asked him, do you think it's going to Amazon? And I think it was so amazing what he said, he said, “You know what, our customers aren't asking for that.” And I know my homies, I think they don't want to order it all online, even if it would save money or easier, whatever, because again, my rep comes and I'm not going to listen to Valerie telling me what vial I should use, she's never done a root canal. But I like that social connection saying, OK, I know who's hot in this town and (unclear 0:32:32). But if I say, well, what is Brad Gellman using? Or what is Jason Hail using? Or am I the only guy using Impregum? Again, it's that, we started Dentaltown so that no dentist should have to practice solo again. 3M sells $1,300,000,000 a year and they say they've been asking their customers for five years, is this something you'd want? And they said they're not interested. And then some of the labs, some of the Henry Schein's and Patterson's and Benco's and Burkhard's say, well, you need us to fix your equipment. But my homies, that's not what I'm here, my homies are saying, “Well, I liked my rep because she's my connection to the outside world. I don't have to practice all alone with Dentaltown and when Valerie comes in, she knows all the dentists across the street.” So what do you think about that? Do you see it going to Amazon or do you think they're going to want to human relation or is evolving?
Geoffrey Spence: I like to think that the human aspect is always going to be a part of it. I firmly believe that those who, I can still think of a doctor in Winston, Salem, he's my personal dentist today. Fabulous.
Howard: Was he a witch?
Geoffrey Spence:: A witch?
Howard: (unclear 0:33:44) Salem witch trials.
Geoffrey Spence: Oh no, no, no, no.
Geoffrey Spence: He's not a witch.
Howard: He's not a witch doctor?
Geoffrey Spence: No, he's not a witch doctor. He's a neat guy and I love him. I trust him because, I've been doing this for thirty-five years, I guess is when I was at a point that things happened, that I had to make some changes, but thirty-five years of my life went into partnering with the dental profession. I've seen it from A to Z and Ted's got a wonderful practice. He's only got four operatories, he doesn't want it to be any larger than four operatories. I can remember when I was calling on him, trying to get him to put in that additional operatory. A-dec is a big proponent of the unbooked operatory. So if you've got your four operatories booked, you have the unbooked operatory, someone comes in with a denture adjustment or an emergency, you can put them into that operatory, that's sitting vacant. You take a whole lot of pressure off yourself with that unbooked operatory. You can get them anesthetized, I always have a hard time saying anesthetized, go back, finish what you're doing, come back, get them going. So, but he has four operatories, he's got a lab that he works with that does, he has his two labs, one for removable, one for fixed restorative. He has relationships with these guys that they get together once a week, they have lunch, he buys, they're not having to come and take him and they have a relationship and they know what they're trying to do and he's. I can recall trying to get him to buy into CAD/CAM. He did not want to displace his lab tech and, but as far as Amazon, they just smashed it this last quarter and it's been rumored and for some time that they'd been wanting to get into the dental industry. Will they? I guess in some way they are. Are they going to displace the Henry Schein's, the Patterson's, the Burkhart's, the Atlanta Dental's, probably not because I think those that are practicing...
Howard: Well, they're definitely trying to get in Dentistry, because at The Greater New York Show last year, they had a big booth.
Geoffrey Spence: Yeah but again, I think that the smart ones are going to continue to maintain that relationship with their retail dental rep and use them as a resource for what's happening if they're trying to find something new. They're a tremendous resource and at the end of the day, supplies as a percent of production is going to be somewhere around 6%, that's the accepted a figure. I know that when I was doing it, I could in many instances, if allowed to do so, get it down to the 5% mark. And we would do what was something that I learned when I was back with Canadian Dental back in, which is now a Patterson, Canadian was acquired by Patterson and we would do an inventory management for the Dentist. Where I would go into that office on a bi-weekly basis, I had a list of the items that were critical for day to day production. We would establish maximums and minimums based on production. And I would ensure that if the assistant went back to get something that was needed in the operatory, it was going to be there and we weren't going to overstock and have it become a warehouse or another distribution center. But we would make sure that when things were needed, they were there and if allowed to do so, I could keep that supply bill less than the 6%, which was the accepted norm and they were getting full service and paying less than if they had been doing so with mail order. So.
Howard: Yeah, and their number one expense is, the adjusted production signing up for a PPO. A lot of dentists say they don't take PPO's but they are a member of Delta Dental. A PPO, if they give you the fee schedule, that's a PPO. When I got out of school thirty years ago, I set my fees and the insurance companies just paid a percent. So they'd pay 100% for cleaning, exams and x-rays, 80% for fillings and root canals and 50% for dentures and crowns. And my fees were higher then than thirty years later. So now when they give you a fee schedule, that's a PPO. And my book, you manage people, time and money back to your supplies. So your first expense 42% adjusted production, signing up for a PPO, number two is labor 25%, so that 6% supplies, if you buy something that takes a minute to set up or you buy something that takes two minutes to set up, the stuff that takes two minutes to set up, costs you twice as much as the stuff that (unclear 0:38:39) you a minute, it's about time.
If you want to lower your overhead, you only have one ticket out. It's not paying your 25% labor to get on Amazon to buy your supplies. Does that make any sense? You're paying her $25 an hour to save you a nickel on gauze. The only way you make money in Dentistry is, thirty years ago everyone in (unclear 0:39:02) scheduled an hour and a half for a crown, but as the prices have been drifting down 40% over the last thirty years, if you do that crown in an hour, you're making bank. So you got to go faster, easier, higher quality, lower costs. Costs are going to be coming down. The question is, what supplies are you going to buy? What technology? It reminds me of the old Milton Friedman story on (unclear 0:39:28). One of the greatest economists (unclear 0:39:31), Milton Friedman and he got a Nobel Prize in economics and I want to shout out to his wife Rose because everybody knows she was the economist at home doing all the work while he was out on all the talk shows. She was the one crunching all the numbers and getting his Nobel Prize.
Geoffrey Spence: What do they say? Behind every great man is.
Howard: So every time someone says Milton Friedman, I always want to correct you and say, Milton and Rose Friedman. Because that little (unclear 0:39:53) economic's gave. It's like Gordon Christian and Rella Christian. While Gordon's out being the smartest dentist in the world, the God of dentistry. Rella's home doing all the damn research and work. So it's like Gordon's the frontman, Gordon and Milton Friedman are the frontman and Rose and Rella are the, behind the scenes making it work and that's why I haven't done anything because I have no woman behind the scenes. Is there a woman under my chair anywhere? But, Ryan can you find that droid on Amazon? I'm still trying to marry droid. But you, and that's again why I like that rep. You want to go (unclear 0:40:31) example right now.
Geoffrey Spence: I can give you a perfect example, going back to golf and Jack Nicklaus at the height of his career was the finest golfer who ever played the game and will probably remain such, based on what's taking place with Tiger and his demise. Tiger was going to catch Jack and surpass Jack as far as majors and then he had his incident and I remember seeing him at Pinehurst a couple of years ago when he was playing there for the US Open, I think it was 2005. It was interesting because here's all the spectators, I live in Pinehurst, I'm a member at Pinehurst Country Club and the USGA had come in and set up this walkway that the players could be on the putting green, practice their putting and then walk up the steps, walk over the top of the crowd, walk down the steps into the club house without having to sign an autograph or say or acknowledge and, here's these kids that are out there with mum or dad trying to get an autograph and Jack Nicklaus at the height of his career, the finest golfer whoever played, will remain such, nobody's going to touch his record, I don't think. Tiger was poised to, that's over and, but Jack's wife, Barbara and Jack will admit she was the anchor that held that family together, that he could go and travel, play golf, have all the accolades. She was always in the background, you didn't see her, she didn't want to be seen. He raised or she, I guess both of them, he was active with his boys, but she was probably particularly involved with the four boys that, I've never seen anything that would indicate that they've done anything that's less than what they should. So she allowed him to go and play and do what he did and she held that whole infrastructure.
Howard: I always tell people in Dental School, you can marry more money in a minute than you can earn a lifetime and that is the biggest decision in life. I see these Dentists who marry a Dental School classmate, so now you have two people making $10,000 a month and you look at them thirty years later, they're just multi's, but you look at the Dentist who marries a stay home. So she stays home and spends $10,000 a month and you do that from twenty-five to sixty-five, she'll spend $5,000,000. But if you married the girl sitting next to you in Dental School class, she'll earn $10,000 a month for forty years, that's $5,000,000, that is a $10,000,000 difference. And when you, we're all going to die anyway and we're all going to be retired in the same size casket and I don't believe in caskets, I don't even believe in cremation. I think they should return you to the soil. I think cremating you and turning your body into energy that blasts out into the universe, well, that's weird and putting you in a aluminum coffin, that's pollution, but burying you underground and letting the worms and microorganisms and fungus recycle you. So we're all, we all should just be buried without an aluminum casket and they should stop cremation. You know why they should really stop cremation? Because not only does the earth not need, there's seven and a half billion people alive. Why would you cremate seven and a half billion people and turn them into thermal energy to bounce out to the skies and when you cremate them with a amalgam in their mouth, 6% of atmospheric mercury comes from cremating humans.
Geoffrey Spence: Wow! I didn't know that.
Howard: And they need, the 50% comes from burning coal, which is really going to stop because right now solar is cheaper than coal. I mean solar is cheaper than natural gas from fracking than coal and, so now that, and nuclear is actually the cheapest, but you can't say nuclear because Germany just banned nuclear, you know they won't go through with it, but 20 % of America's electricity is nuclear. But these solar farms in Arizona are putting electricity into our Phoenix area at the same price the nuclear power plant is. Now the difference is the nuclear power plants are going in the middle of the night and the solar panels are stopped. But we have to quit. this is our profession I don't want to backseat drive the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of FADs. I think when Dentist are backseat driving all these other institutions, they know nothing about that's feigning expertise, I'm not into that. I say you worry about the man in the mirror. If every human could manage the man in the mirror, you wouldn't even need a government. But since you're all a bunch of crazy monkeys, you need all these checks and balances and policeman and because you're doing crazy shit (0:45:06). But as Dentists, we need to go to our local governments and say stop cremating people and you know who I feel sorry for the most, that poor bloke working in the crematory because every time he opens that door, (unclear 0:45:20) and I don't buy for a second, all the bullshit that people are saying that these silver fillings are all leaking mercury into the deal and all that kind of stuff and then that same dumb ass Dentist is eating shrimp and clams and oysters that are filled with ethyl and methyl mercury, cause you burn mercury coal, fifty years ago the ocean was one part per million mercury, now it's four-part per million. Mercury is heavy. If you go to your swimming pool and throw a spoon out in your pool, it's not going to sit there and float, it's going to go right to the bottom. And who's eating on the bottom? Shrimp, clams, all the stuff and I, you know how many times I've had dinner with a Dentists eating a bowl of shrimp and eating salmon and tuna, that big old tuna that's drinking all this water, that four-part million and that's absorbable mercury. Telling me how he needs to take out all of his patients mercury fillings for their health. Say OK, if you believe that and you eat fish out of the ocean, especially big fish like tuna and all the stuff on the bottom, clam, shrimp, oysters. OK, it's end of discussion because at this point it's no longer a science conversation, it's just the belief model. It's like my two older sisters are Catholic nuns said, you believe that? Well, that's not open to math and physics and questioning, that's a belief model and you couldn't change my two older sisters mind or my mom's mind, you couldn't do it. My mom's gonna turn eighty, you're not changing her mind and these anti-mercury dentists, you're not changing their mind, but one thing we can all agree on is that you should not cremate amalgams and that poor and you see these dentists dressed up in all this garb when they're removing the amalgam. Well, OK, that's hocus-pocus. Why don't you go donate that uniform to the guy working the crematory because that's the guy that needs to be worried at, when he opens that damn door.
Geoffrey Spence: And you say that, and I can't remember exactly what year, but I was still back in Toronto, so it would've been back, summer in the eighties, I guess and Ryerson Polytechnical was a college in downtown Toronto and one of their programs was photography and they wanted to conduct this study. So what they did was they took a roll of unexposed, undeveloped film to Lake Ontario, which was maybe a mile from the school. And they took that film and they were able to develop it in the Lake Ontario water, which was our primary source of drinking water. I forget what year that was, but it was Ryerson Polytechnical. They actually had a dental program for dental technicians and it was right around the corner from Shaw Labs and like I say. That lake has since been cleaned up, but they were able to show just what was going on as far as the heavy metals that were coming from Sudbury, where I grew up, which was the nickel capital of Canada, maybe the nickel capital of the world. They had nickel and copper mines up there and that's where dad got his broadcast start, was with the CHNO Radio and then CKSO, which was the first private television station in Canada. And they, these miners, and I can't imagine this, but they would go underground to get this copper and nickel and the pollution, and back then we left Sudbury, was 63 when we left Sudbury to move to Ottawa. But I can recall, so I was eight years old when we left Sudbury, but I can recall that our backyard was just a sandbox, you couldn't have, we didn't have any vegetation, not like we see out here in Phoenix with the nice grass. We had sand and as a child growing up, it was great, we could go out and play in the sandbox and in the winter it was, dad would flood it and it was a hockey rink, he didn't have to worry about cutting the lawn. So, but then...
Howard: ...it's not (unclear 0:49:30).
Geoffrey Spence: (unclear 0:49:30) all the pollution and then they decided that they had to remedy that, so they built this big super stack, so that they could take the pollution, put it up into the atmosphere and then it would go and settle down...
Howard: Somewhere else.
Geoffrey Spence: ...Great Lakes and like I say, we can take a look at what those students did with the film. So here was all this heavy metal that was traveling from Toronto. Toronto to Sudbury was about a nine-hour drive, so probably some six hundred miles, five fifty, six hundred but it was coming and settling down over Toronto, Buffalo, and the Great Lakes. I can still remember that and they've since cleaned it up. It's interesting. I was up there.
Howard: And it's so funny because you, back then these people (unclear 0:50:16) believe that all governments (unclear 0:50:18). So they don't even believe there should be an EPA.
Geoffrey Spence: I'm reading...
Howard: The fact that they believe that just, (unclear 0:50:24) unfettered free enterprise, profit margin is so pure and then say, OK, what about slavery? And then they didn't even think about that or what about the fact that these smokestacks, like GE, GE though, when they started making those electrical insulating deals, I forgot the name of that chemical, but all poly something, I forgot what it was. But they just dumped it in the Delaware River for like thirty years and it wasn't General Electric who stopped doing it? It was the government saying, what's the shit are you dumping in the river, for three decades? But all the free enterprise is pure, EPA is bad.
Geoffrey Spence: Yes, but most of these, if you take a look at the automotive industry, Detroit proximity to Great Lakes, you can see it, these lakes over the years have been dumping grounds and, I'm all for free enterprise, I'm not, I'm reading an interesting book...
Howard: Well I'm all for checks and balances and transparency and if you think the profit motive is pure, well, then you can't explain slavery for several centuries. Which was, people discount because what they don't realize is that was the base of the economy, the fastest, highest quality, cheapest cotton exporting to the richest countries like England and France and Scandinavia. And it was the profits from that, that got to be invested, that built Wall Street, that built the financial markets that could be loaned to manufacturing in the north. But the base of that economy was cotton and the reason ours was so cheap was from a couple centuries of slavery and slavery was enforced to (unclear 0:52:11) few pieces of technology, which was a pistol and a whip and transatlantic ship. So I believe that at the end of the day it's just, you just need checks and balances because absolute power corrupts absolutely. So when you start damaging government institutions and like the FBI, the EPA, all these institutions, then crazy people are going to do crazy things. So, and it's transparency when, I used to think it was so cute when I was raising my four boys, their doors and their bedrooms were always open, but when all four boys ran into one room and closed the door, every single time it was up to no good. And when they were two, three, four and five, they found the Oreo cookies there and they're eating them all, but it was always, or they found a frog or a snake or they brought something in the house, but it was never, it was never good when they didn't like transparency. But I want to go back to something earlier you said.
Geoffrey Spence:: And I was going to say, and I'm reading an interesting book right now. Maybe we can look it up. It's called Fantasyland and it's a best seller right now and it goes over this country from before they came, sailed over from England. It's just an interesting read and what's going on right now and I don't want to get into a whole political dissertation. I was taught a long time ago that politics is not something that you're supposed to...
Howard: And you know why? You don't talk about religion, sex, politics or violence. Because if they're over twenty-five or thirty, you're never going to change their mind, you're just wasting your time. The only time it helps, that's why (unclear 0:53:49) because my homies, 25 % of my listeners are still in Dental School and the rest are under thirty. So they've still got a crack of light. The door is not slammed shot like it is on everybody forty and over, 'I've never seen anyone from forty to a hundred, change their mind on anything to do with religion or politics or sex or violence. Those changes are over generations.
Geoffrey Spence: And it's interesting. I found myself and I won't get into the whole political dissertation, but growing up as I did in a media household, dad had some definite leanings and I probably was somewhat like that and then I found that over time, I changed, my political (unclear 0:54:36) change. But here we are some, at this point in time, I'm into my sixth decade and I find that I'm slowly maybe going back to what I was familiar with growing up and, quite honestly, I'm finding that it's probably better for me mentally and, but you're right, I think most people, they get that political leaning and they're not going to see the forest for the trees and they don't want to have that conversation.
Howard: You said something really fast I want you to go back to. You said A-dec had a one operatory policy or what, you mentioned A-dec, you said it real quick, you said A-dec, when you were in sales, had a...
Geoffrey Spence: A-dec through the eyes of the patient, was that they had a program through the eyes of the patient. A-dec, let me think now. I remember going out to Newberg, Oregon and spending time with the folks at A-dec, I was...
Howard: Ken Austin...
Geoffrey Spence: Ken Austin...
Howard: That's another guy whose wife behind the scenes...
Geoffrey Spence: Joan, a...
Howard: (unclear 0:55:42).
Geoffrey Spence: ...very strong lady (unclear 0:55:44).
Howard: You wouldn't know who A-dec was if Ken didn't marry Joan Austin. Ryan, we got to get that guy on the show. I got to tell you my (unclear 0:55:50). So when my kids were little and we'd go on vacation, if there was a dental manufacturing place, we'd stop by. And this was before lecturing and all that stuff. I just love seeing it and Ken Austin, it's one of those great American success stories, where it's a long rectangle and on one end they bring pallets of leather and beads and wood and the other end is an A-dec chair.
Geoffrey Spence: And he started, when you go out to A-dec and I've been out there on numerous occasions that, if we were going to be putting together a fairly large project for a dentist, we would take them out to A-dec and I would fly out to Newberg, Portland and then onto a Newberg with my A-dec rep, the doctor, his spouse, his or her spouse, in some cases it was her spouse. So there'd be doctor, spouse, A-dec rep, and then the dealer representative and I went out there a number of times and it was always first class. And when the doctors went out there and saw all that went into that piece of equipment and for the most part if my recollection is right, all of that, the materials, the product was all made in America, they weren't bringing (unclear :57:07).
Howard: You know who his idol was?
Geoffrey Spence: Who Ken?
Geoffrey Spence: No.
Howard: Henry Ford.
Geoffrey Spence: Yes.
Howard: I get mad when people say, oh well Henry Ford was a racist or a fascist or anti semitic, whatever. Yeah, (unclear 0:57:18) everybody has got good spots and bad spots, nobody's frikking perfect and just because someone's not perfect, doesn't mean you take away their achievements. Like, Steve Jobs was a horrible father, he was a horrible man in so many ways. But he liked Henry Ford. What he liked about Henry Ford is that on Ford's, say you're driving a Ford and breaks down but your grandpa bought a Ford, a Model T twenty years ago and it's ditched in the creek and is rotting. You could take out that bolt and it was interchangeable.
Geoffrey Spence: And Ford...
Howard: (unclear 0:57:55) yeah, go ahead.
Geoffrey Spence: ...Ford's, there was a time that if you were gonna order a Ford, you could get it in black, black or black and he didn't deviate from that.
Howard: And on a Adec chair, I have known dentists who bought a new Adec chair and then later if they needed a part, they could go to the old Adec chair that his daddy or granddaddy's used forty years ago, take that bolt out of that and it fits right. In fact, do you know the only time he ever changed a part, so it wasn't interchangeable? You know what it was? It was the growing obesity epidemic and the base plate, he had to make four times heavier because as Americans got fatter, you would lean them back and they could tip. And by the way, and the way they got fatter, everybody says, it's high fructose corn syrup, they always say it's this that. Don't be judgmental. Pay attention to the facts. Obesity came from only two reasons. Food was 30 % in personal income when I was little, now it's 10. So food became cheap and abundant. But it became cheap and abundant all around the world. They have just as many Mcdonald's and drink just as much in Coke in Scandinavia and they don't have obesity. So the bottom line is obesity is in America for two reasons. It became faster, easier, cheaper, went from 30 % to 10 % of personal income. But you know, the only other variable it associates with? Is the automobile. When you are in Denmark and Norway in Sweden and you ride your bicycle to work, you eat lunch at Mcdonald's, you drink a coke, you eat the French fries, you go home. When you're in front of every Mcdonald's in Europe, they have scads of bicycle racks. In France, my God!, French. Oh, my God!, I've lectured in France. I did three podcasts in France. They eat more chocolate. In America you might have a croissant with butter, France there'd be ten chunks of chocolate in there and I mean, good chocolate. The French people, oh my God!, they eat so many calories. Chocolate, bread, eclairs, and they're all skinny. Because every Dentist I knew had a two-mile walk to work or he walked six blocks, took a subway and then the subway only got him within a mile of his office. So it's all about, it's the automobile.
Geoffrey Spence: You mentioned a few things, but you talked about (unclear 1:00:17).
Howard: (unclear 1:00:18) I talked about Ken Austin.
Geoffrey Spence: Well, we talked about Ken Austin and he was able to take that auto assembly line and take that into dental and when I would go to the A-dec manufacturing facility, it was, everything was consistent and it was just boom, boom, boom. And it was just, he was able to automate that whole process and what I always liked about selling A-dec equipment is, there was, I guess on paper there was an implied warranty, but there wasn't a warranty. And if I had a doctor who had a piece of equipment that was however many years old, I could talk to my, A-dec rep and we would get it resolved. There was no, it was just, it was done, it was taken (unclear 1:01:05).
Howard: So, you know why A-dec chairs last forever? Number one, it's owned by an engineer, Ken Austin. His wife did all the business and he did all the chairs. But you know the other end of Henry Ford. So he'd made ten million Model T's and they started at $668 and went down to, by the time he was done, it was $228. Then he, I don't know why he's, the next one is, was the Model A, he started at, they wanted to start out with the A-class. But Ken, his number one hobby was restoring antique cars and I just love that man because I took my four boys there and you could tell his goal was to try to turn them on to engineering and manufacturing, and my boys, they were only (unclear 1:01:47) four, six. And he was explaining all these engineering principles to my boys, my boys were all that. But by restoring cars, Ken said, that's the end, I get to see, well, what went wrong? What am I restoring? What part failed first? So his love of engineering, his love at restoring what failed, all applied to an A-dec chair. His amazing mind's building his chair thinking, OK, I know fifty years from now when some old guys restoring this antique dental chair, I know what he's going to have to do. So let's fix it now, so does not have to do that.
Geoffrey Spence: And I can recall when I was still back in Canada with Canadian Dental and Leslie (unclear 1:02:27), who was the president of Canadian when I was with them and Les was a brilliant man. I had met him when we were all with Denco and then we had that demise, so he went on to Canadian and set up the eastern, I guess Ontario and to a certain extent Quebec. But Les got his start in the dental business as a service technician and I always loved to, when I was trying to get the doctors to, all of a sudden this company that they'd been dealing with forever and now it's gone and everyone's after them now, it's fair game now. So we had Healthco who was after them and Ash Temple at the time, which was a private dental, everyone's after this doctor because it was free game. And I was trying to retain that business and shift it from Denco to Canadian Dental, which is where I went to. And I chose Canadian because of Les, he was brilliant. So he was a former service technician. I could bring him into a dental office and talk to the doctor and the first question we would ask, is there anything that you have equipment wise that's unresolved and the doctor would say, well this isn't, Les would take off his jacket, undo his tie and he could fix that piece of equipment right there on the spot and I would defy any at that point in time, any president of any dental company to be able to do such. So that was a slam dunk, that...
Howard: You know who I bet could do that? The Benco brothers.
Geoffrey Spence: Yes.
Howard: Chuck Cohen and his brother Rick Cohen could absolutely do that.
Geoffrey Spence: OK.
Howard: And my favorite, one of my favorite manufacturing empires of all time was Mr. Honda. And you know what Mr. Honda would do. He was such an amazing man and beautiful man, built such an amazing company. But during downturns, America, free enterprise, the profit motive, just fires their employees. So they work for seven, eight, ten years, they were making payments on their house, their car. Then you lay them off and it's the government given them unemployment, then they lose her house, they lose that and then the next up tip, Detroit would hire them back. Well, that's not any way to treat a human, especially while the CEO's are making gazillions of dollars and are billionaires. You know what Mr. Honda would do? When they had to close down the factory in a recession, he would take maps of Japan and Tokyo and he would give everybody a toolbox and he would give them the address of where everybody owned a Honda and they would go out there and all the employees were assigned to everyone who bought a Honda and you were going to go door to door, knock on them and say, I'm from Honda. How are you doing? I'm just wondering, how is your car doing? Do you have any questions or complaints? And they'd all say, well, you know what, the windshield wiper doesn't work or (unclear 1:05:10) say and they would go out there and Mr. Honda wanted to know what's failing and they'd say, well, the windshield wiper and it did this and this is what broke and then I fix and everything. And then they would ask when they're done, is there any chance you would want to order a new Honda? And when they had enough orders, they started the factory back. But all the engineers, and that's another thing, America does, they separate all these vendors, they're spread out all over the United States and Mr. Honda, it's one factory because I want the guy on the assembly line to be sitting with the engineer, so I can say to you during lunchtime by the way, why did you make the windshield wiper-like that? Because it keeps doing this and then when I was out on in the field, you're the guy that designed it and seven out of a hundred did this. Then you're like, really? Well, what do you think is wrong? And they're (unclear 1:05:58). So when the manufacturers and the sales team and the engineers and the owners were all together, they just made better, faster, higher quality decisions. And the other (unclear 1:06:10) Dale and Dave and Hewlett Packard and they were the only Silicon Valley billionaire tycoons who had the same cubicle as all their engineers. He said, I want to live in the same conditions as my engineers because I want to hear what they're doing, I want to hear what they're saying, I don't want to be on the ninth floor in a suite and not know that everybody down on the floor is saying, why are we doing it this way? He wanted to smell the grind. And anybody, the lowest engineer in the world could stop by Hewlett, Dave Hewlett or Packard, their cubicle and say, dude, why are you doing this? Don't you think that circuits not going to work?
Geoffrey Spence: And it's so important not to lose touch and Honda, I drive a Honda. It's a wonderful car.
Howard: I drive a Lexus. Is that a Honda? It's a Toyota.
Geoffrey Spence: It's what my Honda wants to be when it grows up.
Howard: But is a Lexus from Honda or is a Lexus from...
Geoffrey Spence: Toyota.
Howard: Lexus is from Toyota.
Geoffrey Spence: Honda has Acura.
Howard: And Infiniti.
Geoffrey Spence: No Infiniti is Nissan.
Howard: (unclear 1:07:16).
Geoffrey Spence: Now, here's what's happened.
Howard: I'm all confused.
Geoffrey Spence: I had when we were going over my bio, I had just come back from Northern Minnesota, (unclear 1:07:28), I was up at the 3M retreat, which, an amazing facility. So, there was a contest going on that I was unaware of and all of a sudden my name was flashed up on the board. I'm was with one of the large dental supply companies at the time, and my name was flashed up on the board and it was a contest that the top, it was either top ten or top twelve representatives across the nation, were going to be flown up to St Paul, Minneapolis, and then further on, up to Wonewok. I had no idea this contest was taking place, but from the inception when I first got into the distribution side of the business back in 1988, I was a big fan of 3M. I always thought 3M did it better than anyone and there were the others and, but 3M, I liked my 3M rep, I liked, at that time it was Silex Plus, it was P-50.
Geoffrey Spence: Adaptic, but I always liked the 3M. So I was selling 3M because I believed in the product. Well, all of a sudden my name, we're at a sales meeting on a Friday morning and the names come up on the screen and there I am. I am leading the pack, I had no idea this contest was going. I was selling 3M because I believed in the product and at that point, I had such a lead that no one was going to catch me, but. So over the course of the term, the length of that contest, they took the top twelve, I think it was either ten or twelve reps from across the nation, I was one of them, flew up, left Pinehurst, up to Raleigh and then on up to St Paul, Minneapolis, spent the night there and then go out to the 3M private jet strip, put in a jet with these other eleven people and then flown up to Wonewok. Had never been in a private jet before, it was quite an experience. Get to Wonewok, I can remember leading up to the (unclear 1:09:19) and there was going to be a little bit of business time, but for the most part, it was going to be leisure and get to know one another. And they said on the sheet it was, there were a number of activities and I chose golf and I can still remember they said, just bring your shoes. And I got to the first tee at the golf and here's a brand new set of clubs for me to use, balls with the 3M imprint on them. We played golf, it was wonderful, wonderful. Went back and nice resort, wined and dined and, but I, and I was there not because I had tried to win that contest, I was there because I truly believe in the quality of the product and I was trying to sell the best product to the Dentist that he or she could place the best restoration that they could for the patient. And then it was, oh, maybe a couple months later that, as I tell people, I was put out to pasture and replaced by three individuals that, we won't go into all that. And so the last couple years had been somewhat interesting. You get to be a certain age in today's corporate world and it's tricky, I know that when dad was a broadcaster back then, it was 1965 and dad, he understood the network policy and he was good, his ratings were through the roof. The public liked them, they trusted him. He was, the only digression he ever had was in 1967, he didn't realize he had an open mic and he inadvertently let the f-bomb come out, that they couldn't stop it. And it was a bad broadcast, he was doing the broadcast, he looked down at the teleprompter, which you don't see from a viewing perspective, it's buried in the desk. He saw they'd gone to commercial, he looked up, he went, what the blank is going on here and they couldn't stop it. But if anything, it just further embraced him to the viewing public because they realized he was human. So, but back then it was 1965 and he was 65, his ratings were through the roof and he was told that that's it and he knew that and nowadays you get to be a mid-fifties and it's tricky. And as I've instructed my sons and I've got, you've got your four, I've gotten my two and it's interesting. My oldest son has gone a little bit different direction from what I had, I had done everything I could to encourage him to get into dentistry and his freshman year he was bombing out miserably and I said, this was pre-dental and I said, OK, let's get that monkey off your back. You do what you want to do, let's get an education. And what he's doing right now, I don't need to worry about him, he'll always have work and he'll never have to worry about his, what he's doing, being sent overseas, whatever. But as I've told the boys, if it was 1965 when their grandfather was in business, and if it's mid-fifties when dad is going through what he has gone through the last couple of years, I'm not saying it's going to be forty-five, but for Ryan and for this younger generation, they probably need to be prepared for fiftyish, that they may be forced to make a change and hopefully, it'll come back. I don't know but anyhow,
Howard: Well, it's funny because my friends are, we've got to wrap this up man, our brand is an hour, we're already at an hour and fifteen, we got fifteen minutes over time. But, my friends that are electrical engineers. They went to college to learn how to make a DVD and after all, and then all of a sudden after five, ten years, they were fired because the DVDs weren't selling and it went to like MP3. And they didn't know anything about MP3. And it's funny how Electrical Engineers, the highest paid Electrical Engineers are straight out of school and the lowest paid, and lose their job are the ones ten years out of school. Whereas Mechanical Engineer, that doesn't happen, Civil Engineer, the experience builds up, but electrical engineer, it's like, imagine if you went to school to learn how to make a record player and in ten years they close down your factory because over here they're building a CD Rom. And then they close down that factory and building MP3 and God only knows what's next. So yeah, the burn and churn, they say that in fifteen years, one-third of Americans will be working in a technology that hasn't been invented yet.
Geoffrey Spence: And if we're going to wrap it up, I'd like to. One of the things I'm really interested in right now is 3D printing and I would encourage any of the Dentists that are watching this that have children that aren’t too, too sure about what they want to do. Maybe have them look at what's going on in the world of 3D printing. I've talked about it at length with both my sons. It's amazing what is being printed right now. Dr. Anthony Atala, who I know at Wake Forest Bowman Gray School of Medicine. I've met Anthony years ago and, now this story maybe for another time, but I was presented with prostate cancer a number of years ago and went from a definitive diagnosis of you have cancer, we need to get that thing out of there to good news, you don't have cancer. It's quite a story. And I would highly encourage any of the viewers, listeners that get into that world, there are, it's just something that you don't want to rush into. And as I say, I went from a definitive diagnosis of cancer on a slightly elevated PSA to, I can still remember when Dr. Karim Kadir, who was at that Wake Forest Baptist where Dr. Atala was, he headed up the program. And when Dr. Kadir, I'd come in and had done all my due diligence, I had spoken with the Dattoli Cancer Center in Florida, talked to one of my good clients, her husband was a Urologist. When he heard what was going on, he insisted I come, did an exam, looked at my wife, looked at myself, said, “I don't think you have cancer.” He said, “You need to go back,” and I had the exam done in a proper fashion, maybe a little bit, but anyhow I'm not a doctor, but it was a slightly elevated PSA that prompted this whole thing. But the PSA, when I look at all the charts and I've got my PSA's on charts going back to the mid-nineties, it was right at three point two, which is almost on the low end of the spectrum and on that basis, they had wanted to do the prostatectomy and I can still remember saying, “I don't know what cancer is supposed to feel like, but I don't think I have cancer.” And I was asymptomatic. I would highly encourage everyone to just be careful about that and so Dr. Atala did a TED Talk and if you want to see something that's really interesting and I can give you the link to it, they're printing organs in Winston, Salem right now. He did a TED Talk showing a kidney, they're printing vocal chords in Michigan, which I've, I don't know if dad will be a candidate for that...
Howard: And they're doing ears. I just saw a (unclear 1:16:25)...
Geoffrey Spence: Yes.
Howard: ...yesterday, they did four ears and...
Geoffrey Spence: And the source of all that's being done right now is our primary dentition and that includes our thirds because we only get our thirds one time. I still got one left and I don't know if what's in there is any good or not. It's probably old and tired. But upon extraction or when these baby teeth fall out, there are organizations that you can send the teeth to. They will get the cells, the stem cells and then they can cryogenically preserve them. They're doing things now for Retinitis Pigmentosa...
Howard: I never have to worry about prostate cancer, my wife got that in the, my ex got my prostate too in the divorce. Got all my money, prostate, everything. I'm just...
Geoffrey Spence: Well, I've still...
Howard: (unclear 1:17:11) we've got to wrap this...
Geoffrey Spence: OK.
Howard: They're sitting in the parking lot saying when are these guys going to shut up. But our brands an hour, we went to an hour twenty. But Geoffrey, it's been so fun to know you over the years and thank for sharing all your three decades of dental knowledge with my homies today. I'm sure they really enjoyed listening to you.
Geoffrey Spence: It's been a pleasure. I've been a huge fan for a long, long time and what you, what Dentaltown, I would highly encourage everyone to.
Howard: You post a lot of great stuff on LinkedIn.
Geoffrey Spence: Yes.
Howard: I wish you'd download the Dentaltown app, I wish you'd do those, you send me a lot of amazing content...
Geoffrey Spence: Yes I do.
Howard: But I wish you would post it on Dentaltown.
Geoffrey Spence: And maybe I should, and it's how I was raised. I was raised to do things quietly but maybe I should. And I get a lot of people looking at me on LinkedIn and...
Howard: A lot of people say to me, God where do you find all this amazing stuff to post. Geoffrey's one of my biggest source. You're always emailing me stuff and then I post it, (unclear 1:18:11) saying, why aren't you posting it? I would do that, join Dentaltown, post it. I wish more homies would know you.
Geoffrey Spence: I will. Thank you.
Howard: OK, thank you very much.
Geoffrey Spence: Pleasure.