Dena Lanier

March 21, 2012

Knowing that she can make a positive change in someone’s life every day is what Dena Lanier finds most rewarding about being president of The Lab 2000 Inc., a lab in Columbus, Ga.   Those changes involve improving peoples’ smiles through dental technology or helping colleagues operating small dental labs stay afloat in difficult economic times.

Knowing that she can make a positive change in someone’s life every day is what Dena Lanier finds most rewarding about being president of The Lab 2000 Inc., a lab in Columbus, Ga.  

Those changes involve improving peoples’ smiles through dental technology or helping colleagues operating small dental labs stay afloat in difficult economic times.

Dena has worked in the lab business since the 1980s, but didn’t start her own lab specializing in crown and bridge until 1995. That’s when her husband, Dennis, a former lab owner, challenged her to start her own business.

Dennis, who vowed to go to work for her after she doubled his lab’s size, now works as her general manager-but he didn’t join the 27-person lab until Dena tripled his former lab’s size.

As the “Dear Abby” of marketing for small dental labs, Dena also writes “Ms. Marketing,” a column for JDT Unbound on NADL’s website.

“I help labs with marketing. We can’t market to the general public, but there are 150,000 dentists we can market to,” Dena said.

People often wonder why she helps competitors. She wants to see the industry thrive and prevent work from going overseas. One new customer can mean survival for a small lab.

“If a one-person lab gets one new account they’re swamped,” Dena said.
Dena is a past president of the Georgia Dental Lab Association and incoming president of the Southeastern Conference of Dental Laboratories. She also serves as State Component Leader and is on the business committee for NADL.

Noting that some states have lost their local associations in recent years, Dena said she doesn’t want smaller associations to disappear. They provide an important venue for lab professionals to receive CE classes and to connect with others.

“We’re an industry that likes to get together,” she said. “We like to have contact with each other.”