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The Week That Was Blog: June 23-30

By Paul Roberts

June 30, 2023

C4S – The Mammoth Recap

If you suffer from FOMO, then reading this will not help because you did miss out on another exceptional Connect4Success conference. Those who attended can attest to a great weekend of connection, learning, relaxing, prizes and much more in a fabulous setting at Margaritaville Lake Resort. I love to see the resort fashion, and cheerful, suntanned faces of MDA members and their staff as they meander about the exhibit hall or gather for CE. There’s just a good vibe throughout the resort. I heard nothing but high remarks when I queried attendees about their CE sessions. From the exhibitor viewpoint, they had good foot traffic and enjoyed meals with the dentists. Kudos for their ongoing support. And kudos to the MDA Education Committee and MDA staffers, Mandy Lewis and Stacey Hemmel, for pulling everything together. Really the happy faces tell the story but I will highlight four events from the weekend (and you can see all pictures in the Flickr album).

New Dentist Hangout: More than 30 new dentists attended the conference for a variety of reasons. To welcome them all, we held a social on Thursday night at Frank and Lola’s. The event, sponsored by National Dentex, was casual in nature. Members munched on pizza and beer while getting to know one another. To be spicy, outgoing New Dentist Committee chair, Dr. Fallon Stiens, was honored by incoming NDC Chair, Dr. Kati Pyle, with a button that read “It’s funny being the same age as old people”. Then we added some fun games with oversized cards and great prizes. The end result was a great kickoff to the weekend!

C4$ Raffle: You’ve been hearing about it for weeks and it did not fail to deliver. Every year we make some tweaks to streamline the process but the real glory is in the players who compete to win. The field grew to 134 names and 31 ended up winning something but the big winners were Dr. Fallon Stiens $150, Dr. Darren Mahaffey $300, Dr. Katie Pyle $500, MDA’s own Stacey Hemmel claimed $700, and the Grand Champion was Dr. Stuart Dexter who took home $1,500 cash. He fought through the odds to win as a second chance entry. All hail the champ! The suspense and fun of this raffle is only matched by the generosity of the players and vendors. In the end the MDA Foundation netted over $11,500 for worthwhile programs. Thanks to all and we will see you next year!

MDIS Board Meeting: Not only was MDIS the presenting sponsor for C4S, they also held a board meeting. I did not get to attend so I don’t know much about the agenda but I do know they honored Jerri Wildhaber for 25 years of service. That’s remarkable! And as one that gets to work alongside Jerri often, she is very deserving and a great example of hard work and great, friendly service. Congrats, Jerri!

House of Delegates: Yes, you read that headline correctly. MDA Speaker, Dr. Amanda Fitzpatrick, presided over our first House of Delegates in June. The Board’s decision to save money and tie the annual governance meeting into the annual membership conference worked out well. The agenda was fairly short since the House just met last November. Next year at C4S and HOD, June 22-24, we will have a full slate of action and awards. Kudos to Margie Kunze, MDA Governance Manager, for working on a new canvas and pulling it off.

KCU School of Dental Medicine Cuts the Ribbon!

Our awesome weekend had just ended when I jumped in the van and headed to Joplin on Monday for the KCU School of Dental Medicine Ribbon Cutting event. It sure was festive and well supported, as more than 300 people were in attendance to hear remarks and tour the new digs. You could feel the local, state and regional pride in this new venture as many people spoke from the dais including Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, U.S. Congressman Eric Burleson, and Dean Dr. Linda Niessen. Also on hand were about 15 students who are part of the first class of 80 pioneers. I saw many members and friends from across the dental community. The need for more dentists is apparent, and this school’s mission to train compassionate and skilled professionals will definitely help. It also helps to learn in state of the art facilities. The SIM Lab, Ops and study areas were all very clean and inviting. The MDA team will be there frequently in the next months as we attend vendor fairs, orientation and special welcome receptions to let the students we see them and care about them from day one of their journey in the profession.

The Week Ahead – Fireworks of All Kinds

The big events on the horizon are a wedding and the Fourth of July. I’ll be attending (reporting) at the wedding of Vicki Wilbers’ only daughter, Macyn, to the handsome and established Mr. Anthony Hansen. A whole host of well wishers and one emotional mother will gather in Liberty for the festivities and love fireworks. Be sure to check out the blog’s next issue for the inside scoop. Also with a long holiday weekend ahead, I’m sure there will be no shortage of salute to America fireworks for all to enjoy. We have a fair share of problems to address, but I’m still happy to call this country home. Be safe on your adventures and we will see you in July!

Quote of the Week

“Joy: The kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.” – David Steindl-Rast