Change happened. Our industry has definitely found its power! Recent technological developments for laboratories far outpace those for dentistry and the enthusiasm for what lies ahead is palpable. Considering the lousy state of the economy, could those of us in Chicago for Mid-Winter events have been any more "up" than we were--than we are?
This is a powerful shift in attitude from the laboratory community of yesteryear. That community--for the most part--did not exude the confidence in its ability to succeed that it exudes today. Today's typical dental laboratory recognizes the power it has to provide optimal patient care for the dentists it serves.
Being in Chicago this year was almost like being at a day spa. Attendees wore optimism and enthusiasm like a terrycloth robe as exhibitors pampered them with fantastic technologies--equipment, consumables and services--that offer greater prosthetic predictability and esthetics. The upbeat mood made this one of the best LAB DAY shows ever!
Part of the delight is that people came without high expectations. The media made sure we were properly browbeaten with a sense of foreboding about our country's economic condition. Yes, everyone was acutely aware that business for many laboratories is down, in some cases as much as 20-40%. And, sadly, there are reports of laboratory closures in Michigan and elsewhere, that impress us with how real and close to the surface troubles are. [The show mantra was "level is the new up."] But the prevailing attitude is that this is no time to wallow or give up. There's much to be done, help is available and now is the time to seize opportunity.
This is a time to innovate. Those who came to Chicago were very clear that they intend to push beyond what they see as a short-term glitch on the radar. They have a bigger vision of what lies ahead and remain steadfast in focusing on that future.
Here are some of the highlights (look for full coverage on lmtcommunications.com and from our April 2009 April issue):
Who's Doing What to Trump the Market
Biggest news on that front: Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Lord's Dental Studio was acquired by the GeoDigm Corporation, a provider of proprietary rapid-prototyping technology that will only be available to laboratories it acquires. Former acquisitions include four Minnesota-based laboratories: Excel, Webster, Premier and Apple Valley, which were folded into the GeoDigm family over the last four years. Lord's is GeoDigm's first acquisition funded by the large private equity investor, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.
This LAB DAY was our 25th
Despite the economy, once again over 3,000 attendees came to stay ahead of the curve and on top of their game. We thank you for your participation, for your incredible resilience and for your willingness to embrace change. You guys are just amazing!