Reprinted from The Columbian, Business section
-By Jonathan Nelson, Monday, March 12, 2007
One on One is a weekly feature profiling Clark County business people.
The Columbian: Tell us about your job.
Dr. Lance Heppler: I own a dental office called Dental Designs by Dr. Lance Heppler. I’m a tooth fixer and smile changer. About half my practice is cosmetic stuff, and the other half family dentistry. I’ve got comfortable chairs, video iPods, paraffin hand wax dips-women love that stuff-and warm chocolate chip cookies.
The Columbian: How did you feel about going to the dentist when you were a child?
Dr. Lance Heppler: My father was a dentist and he used to torture me in a chair. Don’t ask me how I ended up becoming a dentist. I wanted to make the experience a good one for people. I want them to be comfortable.
The Columbian: At what point did you know you wanted to be a dentist?
Dr. Lance Heppler: I knew when I was in college that I’m great with my hands and I can work quickly with my hands. I knew this industry would be a great field for me.
The Columbian: How did you end up working in Vancouver?
Dr. Lance Heppler: I bought the office seven years ago and opened shop. It was an existing practice.
The Columbian: Where did you work prior to that?
Dr. Lance Heppler: I spent about a year and a half with my father. That was great. My father is an extremely intelligent man. There just wasn’t room for both of us. I worked in four other dental offices to learn what kind of office I wanted to run.
The Columbian: What are your hours?
Dr. Lance Heppler: I work Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and occasionally on Friday.
The Columbian: What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Dr. Lance Heppler: One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with new technology. Things change yearly. I can make crowns for people in one visit during a one hour appointment. That’s completely than the two-week process most people go through. The next thing is amalgam fillings, the silver mercury fillings. I haven’t done them. I only use tooth-colored fillings.
The Columbian: What was your first job?
Dr. Lance Heppler: It was cleaning rabbit (droppings) and digging ditches at a rabbit farm in Oregon City, Ore. I was 13.
The Columbian: What did you learn from it?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Nothing will make you want to get an education more than cleaning rabbit droppings and digging ditches.
The Columbian: What business decision are you most proud of?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Choosing not to use amalgam fillings.
The Columbian: Why is it hard to go amalgam free?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Because it’s controversial. For 95 percent of the population it’s not a factor.
The Columbian: What are you reading for fun?
Dr. Lance Heppler: “Becoming an Ironman” by Kara Douglas Thoms. “It’s a pretty inspirational book.”
The Columbian: How do you find time to train?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Balance. I usually sacrifice sleep.
The Columbian: What’s playing on your iPod or car stereo these days?
Dr. Lance Heppler: The highlights right now are Fall Out Boy, U2, Linkin Park and the All-American Rejects.
The Columbian: As a kid, what did you dream about doing when you grew up?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Being a rock star. I wanted to be a singer, but I can’t sing.
The Columbian: What’s your favorite restaurant?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Yooskyme Teriyaki. It’s cheap, fast and tasty.
The Columbian: What is the most you’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes?
Dr. Lance Heppler: $120 on my cycling shoes.
The Columbian: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Nobody ever got ahead in the world by sleeping in every day.
The Columbian: What kind of business advice would you give someone considering becoming a dentist?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Continue their education and to not sleep in every day. Don’t be afraid to take your chance.
The Columbian: Favorite vacation spot?
Dr. Lance Heppler: Sunriver, Oregon