Berkeley Dental Laboratory - February 2020

February 2020

The Bay Area Beacon

How I Started My Career With Berkeley Dental Laboratory | 510-525-0135

To start off the new decade, I'm proud to say Berkeley Dental Laboratory is starting its own newsletter. I'm Darrell Lee, the owner, and I've been working here for the past 28 years. We're an advanced dental laboratory that's been serving Bay Area dentists since 1971. I like to think of us as your dependable lab partner. Though you might be used to sending off impressions to a lab and rarely meeting the faces behind the equipment, the foundation of my career has always been the interactions with our dentists and their teams. One of the best things about working here is that I have the opportunity to plan cases together chairside with our doctors and patients. It's awesome and rewarding to be able to see our final restoration delivered. The best part is to be there in person with our dentists and patients and see them happy with the results of our finished work. When we say we're an extended part of your dental practice's team, we really mean it. I started my career at Berkeley Dental Laboratory, and I loved the job and living in San Ramon so much that I never left. When I try to trace the start of my interest in dental lab work, though, it gets trickier. It might be surprising, but I don't think I woke up as a kid and imagined myself in a dental laboratory. (Kidding. It'd probably only surprise my daughters that I was a kid once.) However, in other ways, it's always been a dream of mine. My parents owned a grocery store, and although I have five other siblings, we always seemed to do well. Owning my own business always made sense to me. It was my goal after high school, and I planned to transfer to a business college

to learn how to do it. But then, I learned about my sister's friend, who owned a dental lab. Not only was he a business owner, but he was also doing something that immediately got my attention. Somehow, I sensed that I could apply my skills in this field. It might seem unrelated at first, but people always told me I was a good listener and that I had a lot of patience, especially with the older generation. I could remember as a child, I would help out at my parents' grocery store after school. Through the years as I got older, I had a lot of conversations with our customers and learned so much from them. I built relationships with them and learned valuable lessons that I apply today about how to serve and to do whatever I can to help our customers. In 1992, I landed an entry-level position at Berkeley Dental Laboratory during my last year of dental school. It didn't take long for me, as a young lab technician, to grow attached to my job; I was having the same conversations I had at the grocery store, but with dentistry professionals. I built connections with our dentists and their staff. In 2008, the former owner of Berkeley Dental Laboratory retired. By then, I'd worked every position in the lab, and I bought the business and invested in CAD/ CAM technology. Through it all, the conversations with our clients haven't changed. Many of our loyal dentists have worked with us since I started as a technician in 1992. If you're reading this newsletter now, I am so grateful! I've never underestimated how important the relationships with my clients are and how those connections inform me on how

to give great personal experiences to them.

Those connections

are a big part of what drives my career, but not exclusively. Considering we're in Valentine's Day

season, I wouldn't want to miss any opportunity to thank my

wonderful wife and four daughters for being such dedicated supporters. I'm also incredibly grateful for my parents and their business sense. They always showed support for what I wanted to do, even when I wasn't certain. I don't take that for granted. The best part of our location isn't just the Berkeley area for me: My parents' house is only a couple miles from our laboratory, so I get to visit them often during my lunch break. Being in my dental lab occupation for the past few decades has taught me many things. Mainly, dental technology is constantly becoming more advanced. Whether you're a new dentist or have been practicing for decades longer than I have, I want you and your patients to have every option and comfort available. If you have questions, we'd be happy to answer them and learn more about your dental practice. Give us a call at 510-525-0135. Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your February!

–Darrell Lee


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