Five Questions for Terry Hammer, CO
Terry Hammer, CO, left the military in 1969 as a first lieutenant. "I guess this is where I got my ideas about paying attention to detail," he says. After his military service, Hammer immediately joined the family business, B & H Orthopedic Lab Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied orthotics at Northwestern University and received his certification as an orthotist from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC) in 1973. Over the years, Hammer says he "has done about everything in orthotics," but he specializes now in scoliosis bracing, halos, and custom TLSOs.
How did you become interested in/involved with O&P?
It was a very natural attraction. My father, Ken Hammer, started the business with a partner in 1950. I literally grew up in the field.
What tools do you use to motivate your employees?
It is very simple, I lead by example. I don't believe one can expect orders to be followed. Tasks are not done correctly and efficiently simply because you write your employees a paycheck. I pay attention to detail and stress quality. A sense of urgency should always be demonstrated.
What are your business' goals for the new year?
I don't want to focus on quantity. I want to pay more attention to product quality and the way a patient is handled. This is what sets us apart from the rep vendors. This is how we keep our place in the sun.
What do you see in the future of O&P?
The future looks very good, but only if we continue to do what we do best. Don't be tempted to follow the business practices of the reps. Remember they only have one product to offer for a specific problem. We should have depth and carry at least three or four LSOs, etc. There is no one off-the-shelf back orthosis that will fit or do everything for everyone. Soon you know what works and what doesn't. You have the option to go custom! Only the O&P practitioner can do that!
What advice would you give new O&P business owners?
Even though it is expensive, maintain as much depth in your inventory as possible. Pay attention to detail. This is what sets us apart from our competitors.