Another year, another successful program put together by the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA). The leaders of the industry gathered in Washington, D.C., in mid-August to attend a three-day program focused on “Changing Courses in Difficult Times.” It was an appropriate theme for an appropriate time in our nation’s history.
Perhaps the overriding thought I took away from the meeting is that times have changed, and the way that we all do business has changed. The recent economic struggles endured by our nation have forced many of us to tighten our belts (in our businesses and at home) and reexamine exactly where our dollars are going. After speaking with many friends and colleagues at the meeting, I walked away convinced that business will never be done the same again … and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Case in point was the actual DTA meeting itself. A year ago, I wrote in my editor’s note how my daughter and I were looking forward to heading to the Bahamas for the DTA gathering at the posh Atlantis Resort. As the recession built, DTA leaders realized that it would be hard to ask their members to spend close to $400 a night for a hotel room in addition to the airfare to the Bahamas. With this in mind, the DTA rescaled its plans, changing the location to more affordable Washington, D.C. and shortening the meeting by a day. I can tell you for a fact that the DTA spent a considerable amount of money getting out of its contract in the Bahamas, but it was the right decision. Kudos to the DTA leadership for switching to our nation’s capital, making the meeting more affordable and signaling to its members it was listening to their concerns.
Set at the Hyatt Regency just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol building, the DTA meeting was quick-paced and information-filled. Whether it was Dr. Roger Levin examining the state of the dental industry, or James Carville and Mary Matalin (two of television’s most well known political pundits) debating the current state of politics and the future of health care reform, the topics were timely. Attendance was as high as I can remember at any DTA, DMA, or ADTA meeting that I have been a part of over the last 10 years, another sign that the move to D.C. was the right one.
At one point during the meeting, I had a few minutes to get outside and walk to the Capitol. As I stood there looking over the National Mall and toward the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, I thought about the current state of our country. One article I recently read explained how companies can become stronger during a recession, despite the rough economy. Businesses (and individuals, for that matter) learn how to do things differently and streamline processes. In the end, we are all lean, mean fighting machines who may have even picked up a new skill or two. Dentists and their teams have filled some of their recent down time by learning new procedures and new technologies, giving them and their companies some additional opportunities.
Well done, DTA. I look forward to the first week of November 2010 when the industry gathers again at the Hyatt Champions in Indian Wells, Calif. I hope to see you there.
- Change is also in the air at Proofs, and it’s very exciting for me to announce that you can now receive Proofs on a monthly basis via e-mail. Every month, I’ll be putting together such things as People & Places, Trade News, and articles that will help you and your company succeed, into a FREE e-newsletter. If you’d like to be a part of Proofs on a monthly basis, go to www.proofs.com and click on the “subscribe” button. The new e-newsletter launches this month (September) and is scheduled to come out the third Tuesday of every month. I encourage you to sign up today.
Read on … this is your magazine.