Jeff Walker, London Bridge Dental Lab, Amity, OR
Years in industry: 9
Lab opened: 2010
As a television news photographer, Jeff Walker had an exciting career covering the happenings across his state and even traveling on assignment to areas of conflict, like Kuwait and Bosnia. At first, he loved the adventure and creativity of his job and the satisfaction of telling a story through his pictures. However, after more than 10 years in the field and winning numerous awards for his work, Walker made the life-changing decision to leave it behind.
"During my career, things in TV news changed quite dramatically," says Walker. "Reports shrunk from two minutes to 45 seconds so you could only offer limited information and so often I had to cover personal tragedies—everything just felt wrong to me. I began to dread going to work and I realized I needed more peace in my life."
While he was considering earning a Master's degree in film making, his wife, Tracy, who was studying to be a dental assistant, suggested he look into the dental laboratory technology program at nearby Portland Community College. The rest, as they say, is history.
Walker finished the PCC program in 2004, worked for a few laboratories and ultimately opened his own lab—London Bridge Dental Lab—in his home in 2010. "Once I carved my first wax tooth, I was hooked," says Walker. "Dental technology combines everything I love: it's creative, artistic and gives me the opportunity to own my own business."
Walker now has nine regular C&B clients and loves the flexibility his home lab affords him, including being available to his three young sons, ages 6, 11 and 13. "I'm lucky to be able to work so close to them," he says.
Be sure to check out the profiles below of 9 other home-based laboratories whose owners are proud of their businesses and eager to show off their facilities.