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Inside Dentistry
April 2013
Volume 9, Issue 4

Reflecting on a Century of Strong Values

In a competitive market, Premier continues to thrive

By Julie Charlestein

There are three adages that are embedded in the culture of Premier and have truly positioned us for success:

A part of you belongs to Premier.
The dollar is round.
Remember who you are.

All of these statements came from our beloved second-generation leader, Morton Charlestein, my grandfather—or Mr. M, as he was known throughout Premier. The company was founded by his father, Julius Charlestein, and my grandfather began working at Premier immediately after graduating college in 1937. Starting his career as a salesman, my grandfather traveled the country, meeting customers and learning about their needs. In 1965, he took over as president of Premier, and his philosophy of bringing innovative products to the dental profession continued to guide the company. As Premier celebrates its centennial in 2013, my grandfather’s words help us understand the keys to our success as a company and guide us as we look ahead to the future.

“A part of you belongs to Premier” would ring out over the paging system at our corporate offices before any holiday. This would be Grandpa’s reminder to everyone that his or her life is important and meaningful, and that within one’s personal framework, a special place was reserved for the business. The expectation was that Premier employees conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity, represent the company well, and remember that they are part of something larger than themselves—part of a family.

Premier Dental is a business. The concept of a “round dollar” provides a framework for our approach in the marketplace. It speaks to the fact that money is elusive—it may be with you at one time, and not at others. This deeply instills in us at Premier a sense that our monies should be spent strategically, and that we should always give money at points when that dollar is “rolling toward us.” This philosophy has positioned us for sustainability.

“Who we are” at Premier is unique. We are a fourth-generation, family-owned business that develops, manufactures, and distributes dental and medical products worldwide. We do this in a sea of billion dollar competitors—and thrive. Our success has continued because we never lose the strong sense of who we are. We are excited by our position in the marketplace, and remind ourselves repeatedly that we have an incredible opportunity to compete.

In 1994, my grandfather became chairman emeritus of Premier’s board of directors, turning the chief executive officer position and the chairmanship over to his son, Gary Charlestein. Remembering his focus and mission, Premier continues to innovate, delivering products that dentists can trust to bring solutions and predictability to their clinical practice. I am confident that these three overarching lessons will continue to carry us forward into our next century.

Julie Charlestein | Julie Charlestein is president of Premier, a family-owned and operated developer, manufacturer, and distributor of quality health care products located in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. For more information about Premier, visit

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