The Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) recently completed its annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. The 2006 meeting saw a record attendance with representatives from more than 85 member companies. The theme for the meeting was “The Tipping Point, Grow Your Business in Explosive Proportions.” This theme grew out of the presentation by keynote speaker and New Yorker Magazine writer Malcolm Gladwell (left), author of the bestselling book, “The Tipping Point.” Gladwell explained how small details can become the defining factors to ignite a popular movement or precipitate a new technological breakthrough. Gladwell also identified the traits of individuals that connect others to a message that becomes a movement.
In addition to Gladwell, attendees were treated to several stimulating panel discussions. On day two, the general session highlighted several companies with products that became tipping points in the dental industry. On the final day of the meeting, financial experts discussed the health of the dental industry by examining trends, dissecting the rash of recent acquisitions, and providing a forecast for dental manufacturers, distributors, and laboratories. This was followed by Rick Reilly, senior writer and columnist for Sports Illustrated. Reilly brought together different aspects of the annual meeting while managing to bring the house down with a stream of humorous stories and social observations.
The summer annual meeting also provided a change in leadership. Dave Brown, outgoing chairman of the board, passed the gavel to newly elected chair Vickie Waitsman (below). Several new board members were also installed, including Brett Wise from DENTSPLY International and Courtney Emery from ITL Dental.
One important piece of business was announced at the annual meeting. DTA recently conducted an extensive survey of dentists. The survey focused on attitudes and experiences of dentists regarding dental meetings and trade shows in the U.S. The Board of Directors agreed to share results of the survey with the full membership. Each company will receive complete survey results. Additionally, the Board plans to provide a copy of the survey to the organizations hosting the largest American dental meetings. After the results of the survey are studied, a DTA Task Force on Exhibits plans to meet with these dental societies in the fall of 2006.
DTA also enjoyed presentations from Dr. Robert Brandjord, current president of the American Dental Association, and Dr. Leslie Grant, president of the National Dental Association.
James P. Breslawski, president of Henry Schein, delivered a stimulating presentation on the DTA Foundation. The DTA Foundation provides startup resources to fund research on various dental projects, all designed to promote better access to oral care. To date, more than 20 research projects have been funded and many of these endeavors have led to additional financing by various mainstream organizations for further research and rollout.
Beyond the general sessions, the DTA annual meeting offered time for networking between various members of the association. For DTA members, the annual meeting represented a chance for leaders of the trade to sit down with other dental executives and discuss important issues and new trends in the industry. DTA officially welcomed 16 new members to the association, and representatives from six of the new member companies were on-hand. In addition to the many DTA companies and guests, there were representatives from most of the major dental societies and associations.
On the final evening, a very successful live and silent auction was held to benefit the DTA Foundation and provide funds for future annual meeting programs. Through the generosity of members and guests, DTA raised more than $250,000 to fund future dental studies and provide stimulating speakers for upcoming annual meetings. Andrew Whitehead from Crosstex International served as master of ceremonies and auctioneer.