Meet DR. GABE DAWSON the Pediatric Dentist. He's the new owner of Big Sky Pediatric Dentistry in Kalispell, Montana, and one helluva good guy!
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do:
I'm a pediatric dentist and a 5th generation Kalispell native. I grew up on Ashley Lake with my parents and 2 siblings, in a log cabin with no electricity or running water and I'm a self-proclaimed master of the campfire story.
How did you get into dentistry - and why?
Dentistry was always in the back of my mind. Pete Nelson was my pediatric dentist growing up but more importantly he was a close family friend. So, after years of floating down the river together, hunting trips and barbecues, I came to admire him and the effect he had on our community and the health of the children of the Flathead Valley.
You are in the process of taking over the practice of Dr. Pete Nelson. Tell us about that:
Its been incredible. And so humbling. I just feel so honored to be able to take care of kids. I don't know if its the years of school and finally being able to put all that into action, or maybe being back in my hometown. Probably a combination of the two, but I feel like every child I take care of I see myself in them or my sister or brother and just want to be the best I can be for them. Sometimes I wish I could express to the kids and their parents that I care about you so much! And your little baby teeth!
What's your favorite part about working with kids?
Last week, I was standing in the hallway at my office talking with one of my patients parents and I felt someone tug on my pant leg. I looked down and a little 4 year old girl was there trying to get my attention, she looked at me and said, "Dr. Gabe, will you hold my dinosaur while I go poop?" I of course said, "you bet!" and as I held back my laugh and she ran to the bathroom, I thought to myself, man I love that this is just a normal day at my job.
What have you learned from your practice?
I've learned to trust in my staff. I think when you first start off as a business owner you think you have to do everything and have a finger on all aspects, but really the key is to have great people around you and then trust in their abilities. Lucky for me, all the staff that was with Dr. Pete has stayed on with me and they are so amazing. I can't tell you how great they are.
What are your future goals?
Well right now I'm just focusing on enjoying every day. I spent so many years in school daydreaming about the future and now that I'm here I'm just enjoying every minute. That being said, I'd really like to become more involved in the community, it's amazing to see the Flathead Valley grow in so many great ways and I plan to be a part of that growth.
Do you have any hero's or role models?
I've been so blessed to have such great role models, it started with my Dad and he's been with me every step of the way. Now I call him my unofficial business partner. But perhaps the most important thing he taught me was to seek out role models and surround myself with people that have a different view than mine. Its easy to cruise thru life and only surround yourself with likeminded people, but growth happens when people challenge you and your ideas and make you think of things in a different way.
In what way would you like to influence the world?
Oh boy, well I'm a dreamer so this is a loaded question for me. How much time do we have? Maybe we could discuss this in volume 2 of the interview?
What is your favorite tool to use?
Well one of the wonderful things about being a dentist is you get to play with so many great tools and they kind of become a part of you. So I feel like if I named just one I'd hurt the feelings of the others :)
How can we reach you / where are you located ?
Check out our website. I'm really proud of it and we had a fantastic photographer. www.bigskypediatricdentistry.com or check us out on facebook. Anyone is welcome to just come check out our office 795 Sunset Blvd Ste C in Kalispell, you can just come for a walkthrough and meet everyone. We've always got a pot of coffee on and I love to meet new people.
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