On the heels of saying fare-thee-well to Pat Segnere in last month's column, I learned that Gerry Mariacher, my muse in many ways, just left National Dentex after helping that group--since it was formed in 1983--achieve stardom within our community as a stellar organization. Also, last October, its former CEO, Dave Brown, officially retired. The changing of the guard continues and I am compelled to acknowledge this again because Gerry and Dave are two other people who helped shape LMT.
So here and now, I need to particularly thank Gerry for always making himself available to us and for being such an invaluable resource and friend. If we had an awards program, in my mind he would have won "Networker of the Year" for years on end. If you know him, I know you agree.
But the subject of exits and entrances preys heavily on everyone's mind these days. The mantra is "embrace change or perish," and talk about the expected decline in the number of laboratories was a topic of conversation at both the NADL and Dental Services Group meetings, held back to back in Las Vegas last month (see March LMT for more details).
How many strong we are has repercussions. For instance, as more laboratories and laboratory groups are acquired--and more venture capital money enters our field--there are bound to be major shifts in buying patterns such as homogenization of product lines. That weighs heavily on our suppliers who stand to lose or gain substantial business--and ultimately, that will affect your range of product choices. Keeping an eye on the number of labs in our midst is becoming one of our key vigils.
Thus, LMT is now posting the number of laboratories in the U.S. on our website so you can keep weekly track of the size of our community. There's nothing more reassuring or energizing than being able to keep abreast of our market's fluctuations and know where you stand.
The start-off number as of the end of January, based on LMT's circulation data, is 10,520. This represents a one-per-site selection of all U.S. laboratories including those in-house. If you hear another number, unless it's similar, question it. I feel very confident that we've got this right; we've been tracking numbers since 1984 and we haven't seen the sky fall yet.
However, this is the year the first-born Boomers turn 65; a good time to start posting the numbers. Instead of rumors we'll have facts; with the addition of this feature at LMTmag.com, time will tell all.