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Dirk Jeffs appointed Ultradent’s CEO, assuming role from founder Dan Fischer. Dr. Fischer is shifting out of his longtime role as CEO and will remain active with the dental company as CEO Emeritus.
New Ultradent Products CEO Dirk Jeffs is well aware of fact that he has some rather large shoes to fill, but he’s the first to tell you that he has a great template to work with while taking the Utah company into the future.
Ultradent Products, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-tech dental materials, announced on Monday that Jeffs is assuming the role of CEO while also retaining his current position as company president. Ultradent founder Dr. Dan Fischer is shifting out of his longtime role as CEO and will remain active with the company as CEO Emeritus. He will be involved in a variety of capacities such as research and development projects, outreach, and lecturing.
“He's an icon in the dental industry. I mean, from a product standpoint, he revolutionized tissue management with Astringedent and then the subsequent products that came after,” Jeffs said, noting that Fischer, as a young dentist years ago realized that rapid, profound hemostasis was imperative for quality operative dentistry. “And professional teeth whitening, he really made it a thing.”
Fischer also is credited with pioneering the use of syringe delivery of many dental materials. Considered one of Ultradent’s flagship products, Astringedent® and later Viscostat®, resulted from his insight, determination, and willingness to work after hours-using his own blood to test his efforts-to produce exactly what he felt the dental market needed.
“Dr. Fischer’s impact on dentistry can’t be understated, and I’d like to thank him for the exemplary leader he’s been for Ultradent employees as well as the industry as a whole over more than four decades,” Jeffs says. “Dentistry is facing unique challenges and we’re committed to empowering clinicians to better serve their patients. I look forward to supporting the passionate and talented people of Ultradent as we pursue our mission to improve oral health globally. We’re all grateful to have Dr. Fischer remain engaged with our company as an advisor, mentor, and speaker.”
Jeffs, who earned his MBA from Brigham Young University, joined Ultradent in 1996 and has led countless growth opportunities, including developing satellite operations in Europe, Japan, China, and Brazil. Jeffs learned plenty about the dental industry over the years working alongside Fischer, but what he values most are the friendships, trust, and family values surrounding the South Jordan, Utah-based company.
“Dan has been great for the dental industry and for thousands of employees at Ultradent,” Jeffs told Dental Products Report. “He's created an amazing culture in which to learn and grow and contribute. He's a remarkable human being.”
The company offers a wide array of dental products including the heralded line of VALO LED curing lights and Oplaescence whitening products, the Gemini Laser, and an extensive portfolio of tissue management, impression, and restorative materials.
“We have a good reputation and our brand is kind of defined by two words: Trustworthy and progressive,” Jeffs says. “I think our customers trust us, and that is a big responsibility for me to make sure that they continue to do so and to grow it.
“As for the progressive part, to continue to innovate because, there's been a lot of innovation within the categories that we’re known for. With teeth whitening, obviously, a latest innovation there would be Opalescence GO. There's more in the pipeline coming into whitening, but in other areas, such as the hemostatic and curing lights, we continue to innovate.”
Other focuses include advances in restorative materials and continuing to listen to their customers. “I think that's one thing the (COVID-19) crisis has done is it's really sharpened our focus on the customer. Our marketing team did a great job and something we've been working on for weeks is how are we going to help our customers come out of this thing.”
With that in mind, Ultradent has, “substantially reduced pricing on the kinds of products that we feel like our customers are going to need most.” Additionally, the company has been offering free shipping on all orders and payment flexibility for customers.
The new CEO is also hoping to revisit Ultradent’s global offices someday soon-as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited most travel plans-but most importantly, Jeffs plans to maintain the culture built by the Fischer family many years ago.
“I'm looking forward to the day when I can get out and see our offices. We have 10 offices around the world,” he says, noting that Ultradent Products sells direct in the U.S. but goes through distribution internationally. “For me going forward I probably emphasize that what I see as my responsibilities are, first and foremost, to our employees.
“They're my first obligation; their safety, security, training for them to progress, and creating opportunities for fulfilling careers for them,” he adds. “And continuing to attract and retain the right talent and the right fit for our culture is important, and developing the next generation of leadership is something that I'm starting to do now and thinking a lot about.”
Of course, with Jeffs and Ultradent it always comes back to the customer and the culture.
“Our customers, they're the reason that we exist. We want to continue to get closer and closer to them, to understand them and above all, help them by delivering value. Lastly, this is a family company, and that refers to our culture, sort of that family feeling. But it also refers to the fact that it's owned by a Fischer family trust. And I feel a great responsibility to the Fischer family to ensure that the company stays healthy and continues to grow and that we do it the right way, as Dr. Fisher and his family are like family to me. It's not a word that we use frequently in business-I love them and care for them and am committed to honoring his legacy.”
“Dirk’s leadership record is remarkable and his commitment to Ultradent’s core values is evident throughout his 24 years with us,” Fischer says. “His experience, attitude, and demeanor will serve Ultradent and the dental industry well.”