This series introduces the seven district presidents who were installed on July 23, 2017.
Dr. Heather Colson Hardy
At Home: I married my high school sweetheart, Geoff, in 2010. We have two puppies, Herbie and Red
Volunteer and Leisure Activities: In my free time, I love to watch Gator football, read, bake and work in my garden. I also enjoy salt water fishing in the Gulf. I love being a dentist, and seem to find myself “working” when I’m not at work: I volunteer with the Valdosta Baptist Association, local area churches, and the Pearlman Cancer Center, and I have recently started with the William Broadfoot Dental Clinic. I also serve as Chief of Dental Services for South Georgia Medical Center.
Education/Work: I started my practice on April 11, 2005 from scratch, with two patients: my mom and my dad. Since then, we’ve grown leaps and bounds, moving from a small shotgun-style office into a large 5-op building with room for growth. I don’t have an associate yet, but if things go according to plan, I will start looking within the next few years. I provide general dental care for all ages. My youngest patient was two weeks old, and my oldest is in her late 90s.
My mom is my staff RN and practice manager, and together, we have built the most amazing practice. We function like a well-oiled machine. My staff has been together for years now; I have minimal turn-over, and we operate like a family (my dad even jokes that he’s adopted everyone!).
Organized Dentistry: Surprisingly, I wasn’t big on organized dentistry when I got out of school. I joined because that’s what you did. I honestly never thought about it. Looking back, it was silly, because the GDA does SO many things to help the individual dentists in the state. I have excellent healthcare for myself and my staff at an affordable price. I get great deals on my other office insurances and dental supplies, not to mention the legislative updates we get from Scott! Sadly, if you’re not a GDA member, you don’t get that information unless you’re researching it on your own, and truly, who has the time?
Several years ago, Dr Greg Morris asked if I’d be interested in going through the chairs, and I thought it might be fun, so I said yes. I’m glad I did it. I have learned so much about the decision-making processes for the GDA, and I have truly loved arranging speakers for our district and making sure the Southwestern District has the most up to date CE around.
I actually have two local mentors, Dr Joe Kirbo and Dr John Roan. Both have helped me so much, from the “what am I looking at?” phones calls to the “what do I do next?” calls. They have walked me though so many things from day one. They have saved my sanity many times. I’m praying they never retire!
On the Southwestern District: By and large, we’re a friendly bunch and we look out for each other. If someone passes away or if a dentist gets sick and can’t work, this district can be counted on to take care of its members.
The Year Ahead:
I’m really excited about the ADA meeting in Atlanta this year. It will be the first time I’ve been able to attend. Also, our district is home to several charitable clinics which provide free dental care for the underserved. We host Kingdom Care in Waycross, the William Broadfoot Dental Clinic in Valdosta, and the Migrant Farmworker Clinic in Lake Park. My goal is to increase the awareness of these programs, increase funding if possible, and get more dentists involved in taking care of their neighbors. The community needs to see that we care and that we’re not only interested in ourselves.