Meet Heath Johnson
Introducing Heath Johnson, Asst. Director of Insurance Services for WDIA
As some members may not be aware, the Washington Dentists’ Insurance Agency is a wholly owned subsidiary of the WSDA that generates a tremendous amount of non-dues revenue for the Association. What does this mean to you, our members? It enables the Association to advocate on your behalf in Olympia, it helps keep your dues low, but just as importantly, it means you have access to insurance experts who understand dentistry and the specific needs dental professionals have. As insurance brokers, WDIA staff have access to policies written by scores of companies, and as such, they’re able to find the best fit for your needs and your budget. Today we’d like to introduce the newest member of the WDIA team, Heath Johnson, Assistant Director of Insurance Services for Eastern Washington. Heath can be contacted at (206) 441-6824 or 800-282-9342. Email Heath at email@example.com.
Serving our members in Eastern Washington
Coeur D’Alene native Heath Johnson is well known to many of our members because of his long association with Aurum Ceramics, a respected dental lab out of Canada. After graduating from the University of Idaho in 2002, Johnson traveled Europe studying the continent’s history, which inspired him to return to the states and college to get his teaching certificate. “I had always been a history buff,” he says, “but after my trip to Europe, it made me want to teach history to kids. I got my certification and taught as a permanent substitute teacher for two years at Lake City High School in Coeur D’Alene. I loved working with the kids and the staff at the school – it was a great experience.”
Johnson, an avid athlete, also coached high school football and taught skiing at Schweitzer during that time. Though he loved teaching, he wanted to stay in the area and there were no openings for full time teaching posts in the foreseeable future. “I knew that if I waited it out 3-4 years that something would have come up because teachers were retiring, but I didn’t want to spin my wheels that long. Staying put was important to me because this is where I grew up, I have family and friends here, and I like the lifestyle in the area, too — it has a small town atmosphere and that’s really who I am – I’m not a big city kind of guy.” Friends and local dentists encouraged him to apply at Aurum because of the corporate culture and the future of the company.
Johnson was the Northwest Territory Sales Manager for Aurum, and he found he liked the work saying, “I liked the job even though it was totally foreign to me – there was a learning curve, but as I got into it I found the aspects of it – restorative dentistry, implants and sleep apnea were really interesting. I also really enjoyed being on the front lines and dealing with dentists. Most supply guys work on the sidelines and know their products, but I had to have a much broader knowledge about how implants affected surrounding teeth, how teeth move, how bite and oral health can be related to sleep habits, and overall systemic health — it was always changing, and I was always learning new and exciting information.”
A future in the region
And while he was happy and engaged at Aurum, he know that his prospects with the company were limited. Because it is based Canada, a move up the corporate ladder meant a move to Calgary, away from his tight-knit family. “My immediate family gets together at least once a week, and I’ve grown up with my friends and been close with them for 25 years. Beyond that, the Inland Northwest is home to me because it fits my lifestyle – whether its waterskiing, swimming or floating in the river, being in the water is one of my favorite things to do. I also love being out in the wilderness backpacking, camping, and skiing. Most of our winter weekends revolve around us being on the mountain somewhere.” Additionally, Johnson, who was once a golf caddy, gets to the course with his family as often as they can. “I love to play golf,” he says, “and it’s been fun getting my family interested in coming along with me.” But a move out of the region would have disrupted more than just his life -— Johnson’s wife Wendy’s career is rooted in Eastern Washington — she’s the Executive Director of the Spokane District Dental Society, and his step daughter Madison is excelling in local sports and thriving in the community. It was important to Johnson to stay put.
The move to WDIA
Johnson is excited about his future at WDIA, saying, “I’m looking forward to being able to service my clients from beginning to end – walking them through the process of looking at their overall portfolio, their family life, and helping them determine what needs to be covered. It’s an opportunity to be the go-to guy, to control the process and the outcome, something I wasn’t able to do at Aurum. I also like that I’ll be able to utilize my contacts in Eastern Washington and work with the people I’ve built good relationships with, and that this role keeps me close to my home and family.”
Heath’s former clients rave:
“Congratulations to Matt, Kerri and the WDIA family for the great addition of Heath Johnson to your team. I was introduced to Heath while he worked with Aurum Group out of Spokane. Heath’s position at Aurum was multi faceted encompassing sales, marketing, quality assurance as well as the human resource/relations manager. If and when I had concerns, he was always there to assist in address and, if necessary, correcting challenges. These attributes, are what Matt has cultivated at WDIA and which we will see through Heath’s contribution, and, it will be great having an Eastside representative for our insurance needs. Welcome Heath!”
— Katherine M Hakes, DDS
“Heath always strived for strong communication between the dentist and the Aurum staff to ensure the best outcome for the patient, dentist and lab. He continually requested feedback on quality and how to improve the overall experience for the dentist from case pick-up to delivery.”
— Jonathan S. Judd, DDS
“I have worked with and known Heath for several years. He is always professional and he brings a refreshing level of maturity and focus to his work. He takes his clients seriously and he follows through with his promises.”
— Anthony G. Giardino, DDS, MS
“We have worked with Heath Johnson on a multitude of projects over the last five years and have always found his dedication and work ethic exemplary and a model for his colleagues and peers alike”
— Dr. Mark Paxton