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Ron Saslow, CEO
Our First 100 Years: Celebrating Our Community
As a dental professional, you undoubtedly know the Hu-Friedy name and products. What you may not be aware of is that 2008 marks the 100th year in business for the Chicago-based company. Just peek inside Hu-Friedy and you’ll find a richly woven 100-year-old tapestry connecting employees, thought-leaders, and dental practitioners around the world.
It’s not surprising that Hu-Friedy would celebrate their centennial anniversary (after all, they love to celebrate!), but to know the company is to understand what the celebration is truly about. A friendly, family-owned company with heart and imagi-nation, Hu-Friedy is focused on celebrating what it values most—its employees, its relationships with dental professionals, and its trusted products.
“We’re steeped in the values that define our company as a brand. We’re more than a workplace, a building, or an international dental instrument company. Our brand is a community called Hu-Friedy,” says CEO Ron Saslow, who took time to discuss Hu-Friedy’s milestone with Inside Dentistry. “Trust, collaboration, and excellence are the basis for everything we do.”
Question No. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): How has Hu-Friedy contributed to the advancement of the dental profession?
Ron Saslow (RS): Since buying Hu-Friedy in 1958, our contributions have been largely in two areas:
First, our products are completely focused on our customers’ need for efficiency and quality. In today’s competitive environment, we focus our efforts on innovation, precision, and excellence—qualities that not only help dentists and hygienists manage their time better, but also enhance patient care.
Second, innovation has defined Hu-Friedy over the past 100 years. In alignment with our Austrian heritage, we continuously focus on improving the tools of modern dentistry. We pride ourselves not only on our trusted products, but also on our collaborative approach with industry thought-leaders resulting in products that answer real and specific customer needs. This collaborative approach produces well-recognized products, like the Wilkins/Tufts probe, and is a guiding factor in developing the Hu-Friedy brand.
Question No. 2
ID: What do you see as the most significant of changes in the profession? How has your company responded to these changes?
RS: Today, dental professionals are forced to adopt a highly competitive business perspective—they need to see more patients and still provide high-quality patient care.
I believe we’ve responded to these increased demands on our customers in a way that defines our brand; it’s about doing our best to meet our customers’ needs by working from the inside out. We encourage and support our employees to become more accountable to each other, building trust and integrity into the fabric of our company—like family. For example, our vice president of Instrument Engineering and Training, Neville Hammond, has been with us for 40 years and plays a fundamental role in our design and innovation processes. It is this inspiration and commitment to quality, precision, and innovation that is embedded in our culture and directly translates to meeting our customers’ needs.
ID: How does being a family business affect the way Hu-Friedy does business?
RS: As a family-owned business, we believe that what goes on within our company allows us to keep our promises to our customers. Our employees actively participate in the Hu-Friedy culture, and these promises are woven into the fabric that keeps our tapestry alive and well—for as long as 100 years and counting!
Like a family, our interests and priorities extend well beyond business. In 2006, Hu-Friedy joined the Y-ME Breast Cancer Organization and our customers in the fight against breast cancer with the creation of the Y-ME Curette. This unique instrument features precise modifications to further enhance access and reach, as well as our distinctive pink Signature Series grip for easy identification. The Y-ME Curette combines efficiency, function, and the ability to make a difference. For each instrument sold, Hu-Friedy donated $1 to this exceptional organization helping those affected by breast cancer.
We consider our friends in the dental community to be an extension of our Hu-Friedy family. Our new Web site community, “Friends of Hu-Friedy” (www.FriendsofHuFriedy.com), is devoted to dental hygienists. The site provides a connection-forum for hygienists to build relationships, earn continuing education credits, and become more informed about news and events relevant to the dental community.
As we commemorate our first 100 years of developing trusted products and lasting relationships, we in turn celebrate our community—the people that share our name, those who share our mission, and the growing number of professionals that connect with us everyday.