What do you do?
Michael Wahl

Where do you work and what is your title?
       West One Family Dental. I am a dentist and the owner.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       Being the business owner, I’m the first to come in and the last to leave. Kind of like a jack-of-all trades. I make sure the business is running smoothly. I oversee everything from bookkeeping to maintenance and balance the needs of patients and employees. I also have to keep up with new rules and regulations, such as those for wastewater or OSHA. I do research on the new products that become available (example: invisible braces.)
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
        I’ve been a dentist for 20 years and all on the Westside! Our most memorable move was the first one that moved us 14 blocks west. I ended up having to move our dental chair on a dolly by hand all the way to our new location (the dental equipment company hadn’t told me of their new “no move” of heavy equipment regulation; they just disconnect and connect chairs). Mr. Otto, a patient, saw what I was doing and helped me push it along. By that time, I was, thankfully, very close to my destination.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       I like working with my hands, and I like the relationship with the patients.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       Although dentistry has changed over the years (the focus on preventative dentistry), I wish that it could be more affordable. The lab work, employee wages, insurance – just to name a few of the costs involved – make it hard to keep the charges low.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Dental school prepares you for the technical part, how to diagnose, root canals, dentures, etc. However, the business aspect is only lightly touched on. I had to learn by trial and error.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       I like the neighborhood. I like it because it reminds me of my hometown in Ohio, where people know their neighbors. I live nearby and see people in and out of the office.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.