Heather R

Heather is a specialist within our Laboratory Customer Service department and has been working at Great Lakes since 2011.

Read about her transition from being a special education teacher to being instrumental in Great Lakes’ efforts to lead in digital dentistry.

On her start at Great Lakes:

I have a bachelor’s degree in English. Before I started at Great Lakes I worked in special education. I was laid off, so suddenly I was without a job and I started throwing résumés out everywhere. I was terrified to touch education again after being laid off from a job that I was really happy with.

I came in to Great Lakes for an interview for a switchboard operator / receptionist position. I really thought I would just work at a front desk for a doctor. I had no idea what this company was or what they did. Before I walked in the door, I figured that this would be a dead end position with no room for advancement. I very quickly realized that this could become more and that the department could be a stepping-stone.

On her career path so far:

I started as a Switchboard Operator in the Business Support Services department. About a year later, I was promoted to International Document Specialist. I handled UPS, international orders, FedEx International, all of the international documents that we took care of. I did that for, maybe, four years. A few years ago, the company expanded into digital dentistry, which allows doctors to send us cases from digital uploads instead of through the mail.

Company management came to me and said, “This is happening. This is Digital. We don’t know where it’s going, but we think you can help us.” I moved into the Lab Customer Service department where I assist doctors who want to send us their laboratory cases digitally. It was a brand new position for the company, but I received training and support that has made me successful.

On her current position:

My education as an English major and my experience working in special education has helped prepare me for the work that I do now. I help develop processes and I train people on highly technical procedures. I have to break things down and make them as clear as possible, which isn’t always easy.

My job is always changing, it’s growing every day and there is always something new. Six months from now, I could look back and and be shocked at how my job has evolved. I’m sure that’s just going to continue. It doesn’t get stale, it doesn’t get boring, it’s a constant iteration, which I like. It keeps me going.

I have been recognized for my work by being named Employee of the Month and by being nominated for Employee of the Year.

Her advice to potential applicants:

Do it. If you come in and work hard, show that you are patient, and are willing to learn more – there’s a lot of opportunity here. The options are endless, there’s a lot of room for growth in this company.