A Wheaton, IL native, Dr. William Bloink attended Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton, IL. He always thought that he would end up in the St. Louis, MO area, which is near Alton and his wife’s hometown, but none of the dental offices he interviewed at interested him. One day while walking the halls of the dental school, looking for inspiration, he asked a sales representative his thoughts. The man said, “There’s a guy in Effingham, Illinois that might have something going on.”
Maybe the sales representative was, in fact, a good salesman, or maybe he was just curious about Effingham, Illinois, but Dr. Bloink drove to Effingham a week or two later and walked into Dr. Rick Workman’s office. From that day, he knew he wanted to be a part of it.
“I remember being blown away by his energy and enthusiasm and witnessing the passion from the team members and watching them take care of patients. I called my dad later that night and said, ‘I’ve seen the future of dentistry, and it’s in Effingham, Illinois.’ He paused and said, ‘Where the heck is Effingham?” said Dr. Bloink. “I knew that whatever Dr. Workman was doing I wanted to be a part of.”
Dr. Bloink joined Dr. Workman after graduating from dental school and at that time Dr. Workman only had five practices. The main practice was in Effingham and the other four were operating in smaller communities nearby. The team consisted of 12 team members – Dr. Workman, Dr. Bloink, Debbie Steppe and Julie Thomas were among them.
“At the time, Dr. Workman was one of the best dentists I had ever met, and between he and Debbie, they taught me everything that I know about dentistry. I’m very grateful for those first couple of years when I got to work with him as closely as I did. I’m honored to be known as Dr. Workman’s first business partner,” he said.
One of Dr. Bloink’s favorite Heartland Dental memories, and an iconic moment in Heartland Dental history, is when he and Dr. Workman were enjoying dinner at a Chili’s in Springfield, IL. That particular evening, Dr. Workman began to sketch on a cocktail napkin the future he envisioned for Heartland Dental. About four years later, everything he wrote on the cocktail napkin came true. That’s when Dr. Bloink realized that Dr. Workman truly had something special.
“For me, one of the core beliefs that Dr. Workman instilled in me when I met him was that we had an opportunity to create something that would help lots of people and help support lots of families. I didn’t exactly know that we would grow to where we are today, but I always wanted to create something that would help support my children should they decide to go into our industry.”
That vision came full circle with Dr. Bloink’s son, Gus. Gus is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. This summer, Gus will be joining his dad at Dental Group of Springfield. Gus says his dad was very open to whatever he chose to do career-wise. At a young age though, he knew he wanted to join the “family business.”
“All these years I’ve been going into the office and asking, ‘What’s going on in here today?’ And I finally get to be an active part of that. To be able to work side-by-side with my dad and the team at Dental Group of Springfield is a dream come true for me,” said Gus. “I’m also really honored to serve the community that I grew up in.”
Gus gives credit to Drs. Rucker, Flaherty and Adonis, other supported doctors at Dental Group of Springfield, for guiding him along the way. He also mentions Dr. Whiteside, a Heartland Dental supported doctor he shadowed early on in dental school. As he’s grown as a dental student and continued through his education, he’s got to spend more time with veteran supported doctors and hear their stories. And while their passion for Heartland Dental inspired him, he really came to love the company on his own.
“From where I stand and from what I can see, it’s that dentists graduate dental school with a solid working knowledge of dentistry and how to be good clinically, but in my mind, there’s still so much more to learn. Heartland Dental really offers young doctors a great opportunity. The knowledge and support that is available to us as new doctors is just unbelievable,” said Gus.
Just as Gus is excited to be working alongside his father, Dr. Bloink is excited to be working alongside his son. He’s excited to watch him grow as a leader and as a person and is grateful for the opportunity they’ll have to deepen their father/son relationship as colleagues and professionals.
“Not only am I excited, our supported doctors and team members are excited to have him in the office as well. It will be the proudest day of my professional career, by far, when he walks in the door and puts on a white doctor’s coat. I’ll be beaming that day,” said Dr. Bloink.
Gus too, feels the same sentiment.
“The first day of my professional career will be my proudest day. My dad’s going to be there teaching me, helping me grow and working alongside me. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see what the future holds for us. It’s going to be a good time.”
When speaking of the future, Dr. Bloink says he’s excited and incredibly optimistic about what the future holds for Heartland Dental. When there were six offices, he thought 100 would be a lot. When there were 100, he dreamed of 500, and now we’re far beyond that. He says that one of the greatest advantages the company has is having Dr. Workman as Heartland Dental’s founder. Dr. Bloink firmly believes that Dr. Workman’s mantra of doing the right thing for the right reason in the right work environment holds as true today as it did when the two first met. Dr. Bloink is overjoyed to be part of the company’s bright future and to witness his son’s generation of dentists grow into seasoned professionals.