For group dental practices, as with any business, growth is a key driver of success. And while growth can come in many ways, the dental groups who affiliate with American Dental Partners look to the Corporate Development Team to aid in their growth through acquisitions.
Dana Arvidson is a Director of Corporate Development and works in our national resource group in Wakefield, MA. He’s a fairly new member of our team – joining in April of 2017 – but has already contributed to the team’s growth goals through multiple successful acquisitions.
Why did you choose to join ADPI?
The organization that I worked with during the 2009 financial crisis went through a major transformation in its business model. As the company reduced its workforce, I was exposed to many different functions: capital markets, investor relations, in addition to being a part of the corporate development team that completed several acquisitions and divestitures. I greatly enjoyed that experience. To get a successful transaction done, you need to immerse yourself into the business and gain a strong understanding of each business line, each cost driver. Then you develop a game plan and execute, working closely with many different functional teams. It’s really rewarding when it’s done well!
As I considered the Corporate Development opportunity at American Dental Partners, I really felt like it was a compelling business model. American Dental provides the full array of business resources to allow our affiliate dental groups to focus on outstanding patient care. The fact that we and our affiliate dental groups each focus on our area of expertise is extremely important to me, and gives me a great deal of confidence when I am speaking with a potential seller. I know we’re doing it the right way!
What has been your biggest challenge, and your biggest accomplishment in your role?
My biggest challenge is time – not enough hours in the day! There are so many independent practices out there, and they’re all unique. I want to get a look at every opportunity that comes up, and speak with every doctor who’s even considering selling. Fortunately, our team has a set of guidelines to quickly vet an opportunity to determine whether to evaluate it further. Things like location, remaining lease term and the doctor’s motivations for selling can help separate the “Yes” from the “No” opportunities. That way, we can focus our energy on the practices with the highest likelihood of success.
As far as my greatest accomplishment – I would say that I’ve really tried to hit the ground running in this role and contribute quickly. I am new to the dental industry, and really wanted to dive in, learn as much as I could in a short time, and bring some of the skill set that I’d gained from previous roles into the position. I’ve had excellent support from my team and company leadership, as well as my affiliate groups. Each of the 22 affiliate groups we support is unique, so getting to learn more about them and connecting with the P.C. Presidents and operators has given me the foundation I need to be successful in my role.
What does the process look like with your team when you vet an Acquisition proposal?
After we’ve done a preliminary review to see if there is a potential fit, I will work with one of the analysts on our team to perform a detailed analysis of the practice. This involves gathering data and reports from the seller, and using that information to create a financial model. The model basically allows us to predict how the practice will perform if we acquire it, using assumptions about things like patient retention and cost synergies. Because our acquisitions are approved by senior leadership, it’s extremely important that the performance assumptions that we use are well thought out and defensible.
Meanwhile, another critical part of the vetting process needs to happen, and that involves the dental group affiliate becoming comfortable with the doctor and his or her staff. This entails asking the question, “does the doctor share our culture and the clinical philosophy of putting the patient first”? If the answer is “No”, then our work ends right there. It’s that simple, because our affiliates won’t set aside their principles to acquire a practice, no matter how valuable it might seem.
Once those questions are answered, we will draft a ‘letter of intent’, which is an offer to buy the practice under specific terms. If the seller accepts the terms, then we are off to the races! We follow a documented project plan that outlines all of the steps that need to be taken to get to a deal closing. We work very closely with virtually every one of American Dental Partners’ resource groups, the P.C. president and key operations leaders, the seller, as well as his or her broker, accountant and lawyer. There are lots of people involved, but each one plays a vital role! That is the challenge, but a really satisfying one if you get to a successful closing.
What motivates you in your role?
Every acquisition has a unique set of challenges, and none of these deals goes precisely according to plan. Some deals might only have a single issue come up…others seem to have a new one every day! But that is what makes the role exciting. I try to be proactive and anticipate issues before they come up, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the sellers can be unpredictable, which I understand. They’ve built a successful dental practice over many years, and it can be an emotional time for them and a delicate situation for us. I enjoy problem solving, coming up with different alternatives to make the deal work for everyone involved.
How do you define success?
Success happens when you challenge yourself. When you can take on a new challenge or work through something that might make you nervous or a little uncertain – and have a positive outcome – that is true success. You can ‘stay in your lane’, do the same thing over and over and get the same results, but that will only limit your growth as a person. When you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and face the possibility of failure, that builds confidence and gives you a wider set of skills and experiences.
On to some of the fun stuff…
Favorite road-trip playlist or artists?
My music tastes are all over the place. But for a road trip, anything from 90’s grunge rock to classic rock.
What are some of your Summer plans?
My wife and I have 3 boys, so we’re busy! There are lots of sports and activities, but we are also planning a couple of short trips and will have some time to relax by the pool. I enjoy golf and am looking forward to playing a few rounds this summer.
What volunteer activities are you involved in?
I’m very involved in youth sports in our town, both coaching and volunteering with running our town soccer program.
To learn more about acquisition opportunities with an American Dental Partners affiliate practice, please visit amdpi.com/acquisitions.
To contact a member of our Corporate Development team directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form for consideration.