• The Private Practice Section Conference . . . It’s for Student Leaders TOO!

    The Private Practice Section Conference . . . It’s for Student Leaders TOO!

    Jim Hoyme with Zack Duhamel, Trent Salo, Mitch Babcock, and Eric Uveges


    PPS . . . The Private Practice Section of the APTA. What a great organization for those of us in independent practice. And for those who want to be.

    Each year, in late October or early November, PPS sponsors its annual Private Practice Section Conference. It’s always in a great venue and brings together many of the movers & shakers in our profession.

    Entrepreneurs. Innovators. Change Agents. Relationship-Builders1

    Great educational sessions on clinical programs, business management, leadership, health care reform, regulatory issues, and other factors impacting the business of physical therapy.

    I have been attending PPS every year since the late 1980s and have learned so many things that have inspired me, shaped my career and helped me grow as a leader . . . helped me grow our businesses. More importantly, I have made and enhanced many life -long relationships . . . friends, mentors, role models. Shutes, Amato, Benz, Kaplan, Anderson, Steffes, Hathaway, Durham, Sturdy (think Elvis), Fearon, Connors, Isernhagen, Weinper, Wendel, Haag, Shirokobrod, Richardson, Wilson, Litzy, Horner . . . the list goes on and on. Priceless.

    The last 2 years I’ve met and learned to know a number of REALLY IMPRESSIVE students via Twitter and some of them face to face – at PPS. Wow! . . . these young present and former #DPTStudents are not only impressive . . . they are INSPIRING! And you know what . . . Now it’s time for





    Let’s hear what they have to say.

    Zack Duhamel – Trent Salo – Mitch Babcock – Eric Uveges. Gosh . . . thank you so much for agreeing to share your thoughts about what inspires YOU – YOUR DREAMS – YOUR WHY (http://bit.ly/STARTwWHY) as well as your PPS Experiences as a Student.

    You know . . . I’ve followed you all on Twitter and have been SO impressed with your ideas, questions, and responses. Now to see you all at PPS . . . well . . . you are encouraging and inspiring to all of us Now Generation of leaders and we want you to inspire your peers to get involved . . . be engaged . . . lead.

    One of my mentors, Dr. Mark McCloskey (@anyonecanlead), the creator of The 4R Model of Leadership and one of the authors of the book, The Art of Virtue-Based Transformational Leadership: Building Strong Businesses, Organizations, and Families, once said, The one competitive advantage an organization has is developing its next generation of leaders.” I completely agree with Mark and am committed to doing so with my kids, in my businesses, with our clients, and hopefully within our great profession.

    So this is a great opportunity for me . . . to hear your thoughts. And I know your messages will inspire everyone who reads this blog. Very cool.

    So share with us – as part of The Next Generation of Leaders


    What are your career dreams and how has the PPS Experience inspired YOU to take action?



    Eric Uveges


    Eric . . . let’s start with you. You are at The University of St. Augustine, and I love the message after your signature line on your email – “Live INSPIRED”. Share your thoughts with us about how you are Inspired.

    My dream career in physical therapy involves owning and managing a large community center focused 2around educating and engaging the public in taking ownership of their health and wellness – think the YMCA or JCC, but with physical therapy at the core. Beyond the usual treating clients or offering gym memberships, I envision a building buzzing with after-school programs, educational seminars, exercise classes for older adults, nutritious recipe cook-offs, and other events aimed at providing a comfortable place that friends and neighbors can look to as a trustworthy source of information regarding their health. I’ve always been captivated by the idea of creating the “third place” for people to go outside of home and work. I want my facility to be that place, and I want my mission to focus on being proactive and preventing health issues rather than reactive and managing health issues after the damage has been done. I want to be a leader in my community, in my profession, and in the field of healthcare in order to help guide and empower others to live their best life.

    Great dream, Eric, and if “the third place” works for Starbucks and coffee, why not for Uveges and fitness, right?   So where does leadership come into play in a big vision such as yours?

    The importance of leadership cannot be undersold, but it should also be stressed that leadership takes many forms. Some leaders scream and shout, inspiring others based on their charisma and enthusiasm. Others have a quiet sort of confidence, letting their actions serve as an example for others to follow. Still others fall somewhere in between, using their words to arouse action from individuals seeking validation or permission to follow their passion. I think the most important point about leadership is that it doesn’t take getting elected to a position or performing some monumental task. Leadership comes down to knowing right vs wrong, and choosing to do right.

    In high school I took a psychology class and was struck by the idea of “Diffusion of Responsibility,” a socio/psychological phenomenon in which someone is less likely to take responsibility for action when others are present. I was fascinated and even a bit unsettled by the thought that my behavior could be affected by people I don’t even know . . . just by being around them. I typically don’t think of myself as a control freak, but the idea of my life being determined by the actions of others just isn’t a risk I’m willing to take. The realization that you are in control of your life, your thoughts, your decisions, and your actions at all times is an enormous step in becoming a leader and inspiring others to do the same.


    As an entrepreneur myself, I’m with you on that Eric . . . inspire others to take action!

    You attended the PPS Conference in Orlando this year. Great experience wasn’t it!? Tell us how PPS Inspired you.

    Although brief, my PPS experience last week has been one of the most impactful events in my physical therapy career (and possibly my life) to date. Here’s a run-down of my 12 hours spent at PPS 2015:

    • I caught up with a great friend on the car ride to Orlando.
    • I enjoyed dinner with a classmate and his father who recently sold his private practice of 25 years and offered pearls of wisdom he found throughout his long and successful experience.
    • I participated in my first PPS committee meeting.
    • This was great . . . I met up with several of my biggest mentors in person and got to pick their brains over drinks – the start of my networking.
    • I had my perception of marketing shattered by Gary Vaynerchuk, the author of Crush It!, in his keynote speech.
    • I got to catch up with some of my favorite members of the Twitterverse.
    • I was introduced to an entirely new network of individuals who are as excited about the future of physical therapy as I am.
    • I literally bounced up and down in my seat on the 2 hour car ride back to St Augustine that night thinking about the world of possibilities and opportunity that the future holds


    My biggest takeaway from PPS 2015 is a real appreciation for how many clinicians and business owners are eager to help out students and new professionals who are interested in helping to shape the future of our profession. As a student you often hear about the importance of finding mentorship and how impactful it can be for your career. Frequently, however, you’re left wondering how to go about finding this mentorship and then what to do if you find someone you think may be willing to help.

    1. Show Up – there’s just no way to describe the energy at these events without experiencing it yourself. There’s also no better way to connect with people than being face to face with them at an event like this.
    2. Be Engaged – reach out! Say hello to every stranger, introduce yourself, listen to the conversations going on around you, read the bios and course descriptions in the programming handouts. Completely immerse yourself in the experience.
    3. Just Ask – Ask questions to find out more about what’s going on, ask for clarification on programming you haven’t heard of, ask for people’s contact information to follow up with them after the conference, ask that question you think may sound stupid because nobody else is saying anything about it! There are no stupid questions. And when it comes to mentorship, advice, professional growth- if you never ask, the answer will always be NO.

    Thanks Eric! I can tell that the PPS experience will help you achieve your dreams. I really appreciate your

    “Show Up . . . Be Engaged . . . Just Ask”

    Advice to your peers.



    Mitch Babcock


    OK . . . Let’s hear from you, Mitch. You’ve already demonstrated real leadership as a student at The University of Michigan – Flint Physical Therapy Program, where you served as the President of the DPT Student Association. I am always impressed with students who jump right in as Self Starters – Leaders ‘right out of the gates’. Tell us about your vision . . . your 3dream . . . and why you decided to attend PPS Conference in Orlando this year.

    I am not unlike many other DPT students in programs all over the country. I have a vision for my future career; a new model of integrated health, fitness, and physical therapy to change the way people perceive and experience physical therapy. I am passionate about private practice to scale this model to reach more people and have a greater impact. However, like many other DPT students I talk to, I am in need of more business knowledge that is not adequately covered in the traditional DPT curriculum. When I heard of PPS, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss.


    Interesting. Your vision for your career is similar to Eric’s. I lot of young physical therapists have shared a similar career vision with me. I can tell you really want to make a difference in people’s lives. Tell us about YOUR PPS Conference experience and did you get out of it what you wanted?

    My three days of keynote speeches and educational sessions in Orlando far exceeded my expectations. The most valuable part of PPS, without question, was the conversations and relationships formed with some of the biggest names and innovators in our industry. I was blown away with the enthusiasm these experienced practice owners showed me in our conversations. It was clear they fed off my fresh energy as much I fed off their experience and wisdom. Surrounded by a generation of leaders, ready and willing to share their wisdom with the next generation of leaders to continue moving the profession forward, is a learning experience that cannot be replicated through a lecture, a book, or a podcast.

    One of my mentors, Gene Shirokobrod (@therapyinsiders), once told me very simply “take action… it will separate you from 90% of everyone else who only talk about it.” I decided to take action to attend PPS and take ownership of my vision. Since the PPS Experience, I am more ready than ever to take further action in my leadership roles as a DPT student and a future clinician.


    I’m impressed, but not surprised, Mitch, that you mentioned some version of the word “lead” 3 times in your response. That’s very encouraging to me. You received some great advice from the always-insightful Dr. Shirokobrod – Take Action! And as Simon Sinek says, “Great leaders inspire others to take action.” What words of wisdom would you like to share with your peers that will hopefully inspire them to ACT?

    If I could reach other DPT students out there, I hope I can inspire action in them as well. I hope I can inspire a belief that you have all the skills and abilities to lead NOW… in your own unique way and through your own actions. Communicate, network, share, post, tweet, and most importantly join the conversation that’s going on around you. You will be surprised with where it might take you. The current generation is searching for us. The future of our profession is counting on us.


    Fantastic advice and message, Mitch! You and Eric offer great input that reminds me of a message from one of my favorite young leaders, Matt Stoltman, a 3rd year DPT student at the University of Minnesota participated in a student leadership video for us, and he emphasized, “Lead by example, ask questions, learn from others, be engaged. You don’t need to have a title to lead as a student.”

    You guys are ‘killing it’ so far!



    Zack Duhamel


    Zack . . . you’ve got a great background coming from Rockhurst where you are getting your DPT degree and MBA. Plus you have your own business, PT Job Fusion! AND you are a husband and the father of a very cute little baby. WOW! You are a very busy young man!

    You attended PPS last year in Colorado Springs. I had a chance to talk with you then, and it was a pleasure to get to know you personally. This is the 3rd blog you’ve contributed to for Therapy Partners, and I know you have a real visionary perspective on your future as an entrepreneurial physical therapist . . . and as a leader. Tell us about your vision for your career in physical therapy.

    First off, I am honored to be named among such great leaders of our field and such incredible student/ 4grads. My dream for my career as a PT and for our profession as a whole unit under one grand mission: to see physical therapy change the way people are cared for from birth to death. I operate under the assumption that thorough, skillful, cost-efficient, and relationship-building care from a healthcare provider is the cure to most of our healthcare system’s woes. If positioned properly and valued appropriately, an excellent physical exam/diagnosis/treatment from a physical therapist would be the best solution for the high cost, low quality and terrible experience of healthcare.

    Our healthcare “situation” (not system) is ripe with opportunity, especially for physical therapists because the best product/ solution will always win in the market. For example, Uber is winning because they are faster, cheaper, a better service. Uber’s competition is slow, often smelly cabs and buses. For us – physical therapists – our competition is infinitely worse, more smelly and more expensive. We just have to continue pushing to become better at the things mentioned above: being thorough, intentional, and relationship-building. We will rise to the top. The most valuable solution is the one that wins the war, and we have that solution. 


    You definitely have a big picture view, Zack. How will you seize the opportunities of our healthcare “situation”?

    I think that the most effective way for me personally to push that dream forward is to delve into outpatient private practice as soon as my “product” is skillful enough. I find the outpatient physical therapy setting to be the area most able to fill the needs of the system and to make the biggest impact. Hospitals, hospital systems and other large provider networks only change from external pressure. I can’t wiggle my way to the top of a big hospital and make all the changes necessary. I have to outperform (think Triple Aim) the hospital at making hurt people better and let the market change the hospital externally. I think outpatient PT is the place that we can truly win if we take our time, do quality work and truly give a rip about our community and patients.

     Let’s do it for our patients because all of us will be patients one day.


    I’m impressed that you referenced The Triple Aim. Very cool. That’s a concept that is near and dear to my heart and is part of the mission of our business.

    What did you think of your PPS experience at Colorado Springs in 2014?

    PPS 2014 was the best conference I have ever been to for a number of reasons, the biggest of which was feeling like I was among people who share my dream and are doing it now! I can’t express the amount of value I got out of all the people I got to meet at PPS. Experienced practice owners and motivated students. Everyone has battle scars and a story to tell. PPS is the meeting place for all the innovators and shakers in our profession, and I loved the opportunity to mingle with the best.


    Great input and insight, Zack. All three of you really have a good grasp of the big picture of health care.

    Trent . . . like Eric, another University of St. Augustine ‘learner’ and one of my Twitter basketball soul mates. I always appreciate a guy who has put in hours on the hardwood – especially as a point guard who leads his team. Like many sports, basketball is great prep work for leading as a professional.

    I really like this quote that you shared with me:

    “The people who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    That feeds into Eric’s “Live Inspired” message.



    Trent Salo


    You’ve listened to Eric, Mitch, and Zack. And I know you are a real leader from our conversations on Twitter as well as reading your tweets. Let’s jump into your big picture view. Tell us about your two PPS Conference experiences in 2014 and 2015.

    I have been fortunate to attend the previous two PPS annual conferences- 2014 in Colorado Springs as a 5student, and 2015 in Orlando as a freshly minted graduate. The overall take away from my interaction and conversation with other PPS attendees, was that the physical therapy leaders who attend this conference will not ‘interrupt what you’re doing,’ but rather help CREATE THE CAPABILITY to support what you’re doing.

    Every conversation at PPS involved positive feedback in regards to my vision for the future, as well as pearls of wisdom of mistakes to avoid or insight into what the future may hold. It was never “You can’t do that until you have 5 years of experience, blah, blah blah,” but rather, “Read this book . . . watch this video . . . contact this person,” aka RESOURCES to support my vision, rather than reasons why it will fail. The leaders of NOW I have met at PPS understand the importance of developing the FUTURE leaders and realize this development is crucial to the sustained advancement of the physical therapy profession.


    More great insight into the importance of providing positive mentoring and building the self confidence of young leaders. I also appreciate your reference to ‘leaders’ and ‘leadership’, Trent.

    So from your perspective, is change necessary as we move forward?

    Reliance on past norms and practices is unacceptable. If we continue to “do what we’ve always done,” we will continue to “get what we’ve always gotten.” If we continue to neglect the importance of customer service and the patient experience, and fail to stress the importance of these aspects of care to our next generation of physical therapy leaders, what will our profession look like in 10 years? Physical therapy isn’t just about getting a referral from a physician, following orders for 2 visits per week for 4 weeks and then discharge. It’s much, much more than that, and we need to take ownership. How can we improve the quality of care? How can we enhance the patient experience? How can we reduce health care costs? Are different models of providing physical therapy services possible? This is what myself and the other contributors of this blog post are asking, because we understand if we don’t ask these questions, who will?


    How do you see yourself driving change and did your experience at PPS conference influence you?  

    What started as my relatively simple mantra of ‘my own motivation to get involved, become a better clinician, and move forward the physical therapy profession’ has evolved into a broader and deeper vision of ‘becoming associated with a group of like-minded colleagues, a TRIBE if you will, who also want to be the driving force behind positive change’.

    In the conversations we’ve had, we’ve come to realize that one person, student or licensed clinician, can make a difference. We’ve helped to create a culture of “it’s cool to get involved” and make it goal to convey how leaders at EVERY level can contribute EVERY DAY, to moving our profession forward. Our TRIBE understands the importance of looking for solutions in other industries and to engage across boundaries to spread the good word of what physical therapists are capable of. The “experienced” individuals we’ve met at PPS have added fire and knowledge to this flame of motivation. As the quote Jim shared from Dr. McCloskey in the beginning of this blog post, I strongly believe the future of physical therapy will have an advantage due to the focus on the development of the next generation of leaders.


    Trent – you put great emphasis on leadership. How do you see your experiences as a student leader contributing to your career in physical therapy?

    In 10 years, I hope to look back at my experiences as a DPT student and new graduate, and realize the launching pad it was, not only for my own career, but to inspire and help others realize you don’t have to be in a senior leadership position to make a difference. Leadership is not a position or title, but rather an action and an example.

    Hey . . . you young PT leaders have given all of us a great perspective, and I am so glad you all took the opportunity to experience the wonderful relationship building and learning experiences of the Private Practice Section Conference. Thank you for sharing in this blog and best wishes to all of you on a very successful career as leaders in our profession.

    Readers . . .

    You can connect with these driven young Self Starters on Twitter . . .



    Private Practice Section Conference - Group of PT Students


    Keep Learning . . . Keep Leading!!

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