It’s with tremendous pride but also mixed emotions that we honor our founding member, Dr. John Busby, as he retires after nearly 40 years with Affiliated Dentists. Dr. Busby’s commitment to building lasting relationships with staff, patients, and business partners has helped Affiliated flourish into the successful practice that it is today. He leaves behind a legacy of integrity, hard work, and dedication to doing the very best each day, and created a positive environment that put patients at ease, even inspiring some to enter dentistry themselves! Dr. Busby is one-of-a-kind and we will miss him dearly!
“We’ve grown significantly and it’s been a great ride.”
After the conclusion of his military service in 1983, Dr. Busby came to Madison and acquired an office on the east side, which eventually became our River Place location. In these early years, the practice was comprised only of Dr. Busby, a hygienist, an assistant, and a receptionist. Over the years, Affiliated purchased seven other practices and merged them into their own. Today, Affiliated is proud to have seven doctors and forty-six employees on staff. One special staff member, Jean Ryan, was Dr. Busby’s original receptionist and is now Dr. Gustavson’s assistant! We are proud and grateful that Jean has been with us for almost forty years.
“We have the motto: we only do business with friends. So if we’re going to do business, we’re going to become friends.”
Developing connections with everyone involved with Affiliated, from staff and patients to vendors, legal and accounting partners, in order to build relationships of trust and accountability was foundational in Dr. Busby’s approach to building the practice. Relationships as these created a resilient team that was equipped to handle the challenges that come with running a business, even the more significant ones such as those presented by the arrival of Covid. Under Dr. Busby’s leadership, the Affiliated team showed great strength and unity in the face of adversity, testament to the strong bonds that had been forged for many years.
“We succeed as a team. It’s not one person. It’s everyone doing a quality job.”
Caring for his staff has always been a top priority for Dr. Busby. During his time with Affiliated, Dr. Busby made a point to arrive early to work to talk with each staff member before the day started, giving them the chance to ask questions or voice concerns. As Dr. Busby said, “If you have a concern, I have a concern. Let’s address it.” Dr. Busby considered devoting time to his staff as time well invested. It was essential to him for his staff to know that they were cared about.
These values have become part of the fabric of Affiliated Dentists. Doing the right thing and doing the best every day has been our practice’s assurance to patients that they will receive the best dental care possible and has resulted in a loyal patient base for whom we are grateful.
“I create dynamite smiles that change people’s lives.”
If Dr. Busby could give a young dentist a piece of advice, it would be this: “Don’t introduce yourself as a dentist. Tell them that you run a business that provides dental care.” Because more than simply performing dental procedures, a dentist also needs to have the business chops to keep the practice going.
And the best way to help a practice flourish is to invest in the people involved. Dr. Busby remarked, “Focus your time on knowing your staff, and caring about them; knowing your patient base, and caring about them, and investing your time in making sure your patients know you care about them and will do the best for them.”
Dr. Busby took great pride in caring for his patients and helping them achieve smiles that they were proud to share with others. In fact, Dr. Busby was proud to note that his very first dental patient eventually became a dentist himself, as well as thirteen other patients and interns. Creating a positive environment while providing quality dental care was a hallmark of Dr. Busby’s leadership.
“It was crazy but it was fun.”
Dr. Busby’s signature hard work ethic and can-do attitude were forged during his time in the military. After being commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1974, Dr. Busby was sent to Europe where he was stationed as the Clinic Chief and Director of Dental Services at a small dental clinic. At the tender age of twenty-five, Dr. Busby found himself sixth in command at the post and charged with running the dental clinic.
His superiors expected the best from him each and every day, and Dr. Busby credits their influence as providing the high standard to which he strove to hold himself and his colleagues throughout his career. Before he left the military, Dr. Busby was also responsible for building a multimillion dollar health and dental clinic.
These formative experiences were foundational in preparing Dr. Busby to build his own practice when he returned to Madison. He noted, “Turmoil taught you to practice at an incredibly high standard, and that became your norm and pushed you to be better. I run Affiliated the same way I ran the dental clinic.”
Dr. Busby is known for his exceptional service in leadership. Coming in early, staying late, cleaning the property, and even doing the wash were all part of a typical work day.
“I’m getting into retirement slowly.”
Always looking for the twenty-fifth hour in each day, retirement has not meant slowing down for Dr. Busby! He currently serves as Dental Director for the State of Wisconsin Medicaid Program. He also an active supporter of his alma mater UW Platteville, which recently named its new engineering building after Dr. Busby’s father, a former Dean at the university. Dr. Busby is proud of the Affiliated Dentists scholarship for pre-dental students at Platteville. About his time there, Dr. Busby said, “I had a great experience. I want every student to have the equivalent.”
Dr. Busby is also looking forward to spending time with his three daughters and grandchildren, who live in Colorado. They have big plans for skiing. Dr. Busby also can’t wait to get to Door County and spend time with friends. After all, he’s made so many over the years.
Dr. Busby, thank you for your 40 years of great service to the dental industry. We will miss you!