Fall Summit

November 7-9, 2019

Orlando, Florida

(360) 980-1437

The DEO Fall Summit: 
How To Grow Through
Practice Acquisitions and Startups

Open to the public

Days Until The 2019 DEO Fall Summit:


What is The DEO Fall Summit:
How To Grow Through

Practice Acquisitions and Startups?

  • You’ve made the decision to grow your DSO/group practice. Now what?
    How do you choose the scaling path that is right for you — acquisition or de novos? Why “reinvent the wheel”? Attend The Summit to learn from not only industry experts, but DSO/group-practice leaders who have forged this path before. Discover the many different acquisition/startup strategies for success, and find out how and why to choose the growth plan that is right for your DSO. You’ll walk away with important insights, armed with the necessary tools, techniques and best practices to accelerate the success of your acquisition/startup growth plan.

    We’ve invited leading influencers representing the DSO/group-practice space to share their expertise.
    These dynamic experts will lead compelling presentations to guide you through what works — and what pitfalls to avoid when acquiring and starting up new locations. Attend The Summit to learn:
    -  How large DSOs and group dental practices use startup location strategies
    -  How to use KPIs and numbers to evaluate potential locations for acquisition
    -  How to use acquisitions and startups to accelerate the top line
    -  How to identify your ideal “target acquisition” profile
    -  How to effectively integrate a new location into your culture and systems — without losing employees or productivity
    -  How to roll dentist equity into new acquisitions and retain new partner dentists
    -  How to market new locations: essential tactics to ensure the schedule is full when doors open

    Plus, network with the brightest minds in the dental industry.
    This is your chance to mastermind and share experiences with peers. Registrants include nearly 400 dentists, group executives, and dental professionals, as well as sponsors dedicated to the group space. Summit attendees are from group dental practices, DSOs, suppliers, vendors, and investors.


Stephen E. Thorne IV

Lessons in Opening Hundreds of De Novo Locations
Speaker: Stephen Thorne IV, BA, MHA
Founder, president, and CEO, Pacific Dental Services

  • Stephen Thorne is founder, president, and CEO of Pacific Dental Services (PDS), a leading DSO in North America. Mr. Thorne has been with PDS for over 30 years and has been the main driver in their path to success. In this presentation, Mr. Thorne will share insights and lessons learned from leading PDS through the opening of hundreds of startup locations, including:
    •  PDS’ unique growth path
    •  Lessons from one of the DSO industry’s most experienced CEOs
    •  Best practices for de novo growth
    •  Challenges encountered when scaling startups
    •  PDS’ growth strategy for next year and beyond

  • See Stephen's speaker interview here for more info on his presentation. 

Dr. Samson Liu

How to Go from 0 to 25+ Locations in One Year
Speaker: Dr. Samson Liu
Owner, founder, and CEO, SOHDental

  • Dr. Samson Liu has become one of group dentistry’s most incredible success stories, going from his first location at the beginning of 2018 to acquiring his 25th location by the end of that year. Dr. Liu spent the majority of his career as an executive vice president at Heartland Dental before starting SOHDental. Dr. Liu will share his inspiring story and more, highlighting:
    •  His step-by-step process of going from 1 to 25+ locations in 1 year
    •  Struggles, low points, highlights, and successes in the journey
    •  Advice for groups and DSOs looking to speed up growth
    •  Lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid while scaling quickly, with tips tailored for smaller DSOs

  • See Dr. Liu's speaker interview here for more info on his presentation. 

Dee Fischer

Integrating Culture into New Locations
Speaker: Dee Fischer
CEO, Fischer Professional Group

  • Dee Fischer has decades of experience growing DSOs and currently helps doctors create systems, accountability, and passion in the workplace. Ms. Fischer has been an integral part of several DSOs’ exponential growth, guiding the operations and HR management to scale to larger organizations. Her presentation will highlight the human resources alignment needed to scale successfully, including:
    •  How to transfer culture from current to newly acquired locations
    •  Ensuring the seamless addition of new locations
    •  Retaining employees at new locations
    •  Overcoming negative attitudes
    •  Deciding which employees should be retained vs. which should be let go
    •  Adding existing systems to new locations
    •  Getting new employees excited about the company vision

Brian Colao

Forming a Legal DSO

Speaker: Brian Colao
Director, Dykema

  • Brian Colao is the Director of Dykema’s DSO Industry Group. Brian is the foremost authority in the United States on DSOs, including regulatory and compliance issues, mergers and acquisitions, and legal best practices concerning DSOs and their affiliated dentists. Brian currently represents DSOs in all 50 states and six Canadian provinces, and has been in the dental space for more than 25 years. Brian was named a 2019 DSO Influencer by Group Dentistry Now.

    In his speech, Brian will go over the advantages of forming a legally compliant DSO, and will discuss:

    •  How to onboard acquisitions in a compliant manner

    •  How to onboard de novos in a compliant manner

    •  The various different ways to structure a DSO and/or sub-DSO

Jacob Berry

Greg Wappett

How Large DSOs Evaluate Acquisitions

Jacob Berry, executive vice president of business development, 
MB2 Dental Solutions
Greg Wappett, director of corporate development, 42 North Dental

  • Jacob Berry spends his days leading business development and developing growth strategies for MB2 Dental, one of dentistry’s fastest-growing DSOs. A key part of his role is evaluating new-location and partnering opportunities through careful analysis and consideration. In this presentation, Mr. Berry will share methods that you can apply to your DSO’s next acquisition, including:
    •  A deep look at the financials for acquiring locations
    •  What to look for when purchasing new locations
    •  How to professionally analyze a purchase opportunity
    •  Essential metrics and KPIs to uncover during the evaluation process
    •  Recommended steps to determine a “yes” or “no” 

  • As director of corporate development at 42 North Dental, a premier DSO in the Northeast with locations spanning four New England states, Greg Wappett is experienced in managing the complexities involved with acquisitions. Strategically evaluating each opportunity, Mr. Wappett has helped 42 North Dental grow. He will join Mr. Berry in this presentation highlighting his approach, offering:
    •  An alternative look at the financials of acquiring locations
    •  How his view changed over time toward KPIs and metrics
    •  How to conduct a thorough review of each new acquisition opportunity
    •  Financials of a “healthy” practice vs. an “‘unhealthy” practice
    •  Deceiving numbers to watch out for when evaluating a potential new acquisition

Steve Bilt

Dr. Alan Acierno

Behind the Scenes: How Strategic Partnerships Will Change 
Steve Bilt, CEO, Smile Brands
Dr. Alan Acierno, CEO and owner, DecisionOne Dental Partners

  • Early in 2019, Smile Brands (400+ locations) and DecisionOne Dental Partners (27+ locations) came together in a landmark partnership that changed the dental landscape. Mr. Bilt and Dr. Acierno will present a “behind the scenes” look at how the deal came about and detail how other groups and DSOs can learn from their experience. They’ll discuss:
    •  The difference between a strategic partnership and an acquisition
    •  How this partnership has changed the DSO landscape
    •  Takeaways from strategically integrating two companies together
    •  Why Dr. Acierno and the DecisionOne Dental team decided it was time to partner
    •  What both groups got “right” during the process, and lessons learned looking back
    •  Advice for other groups looking to strategically partner 

Diwakar Sinha

Equity-Driven Growth Strategies for Acquisitions and Startups

Speaker: Diwakar Sinha
Partner, Tusk

  • Diwakar has been instrumental in Tusk's success and has worked in the dental lending space for over 12 years. He has provided capital to hundreds of solo dentists and DSOs throughout his career. In his presentation, Diwakar will discuss associate equity and compensation strategies when taking on acquisitions. He'll be addressing and answering the following questions:

  • •  What are the different ways to address doctor compensation when taking on acquisitions?

  • •  What are the pros and cons of various compensation/equity structures?

    •  How do you minimize turnover resulting from compensation issues in acquisitions?

  • •  What is the best associate equity structure to provide a win-win scenario for all parties when taking on an acquisition?

Josey Sewell

Implementing Your Growth Vision Into Reality

Speaker: Josey Sewell
Integrator/COO, CarolinasDentist

  • As the Integrator for CarolinasDentist, Josey Sewell is an expert at implementing strategy into action. Ms. Sewell is set to share her experiences as the wearer of many hats within the leadership team of CarolinasDentist and will present an often overlooked, but vitally important aspect to growing a group practice or DSO: bridging the gap between the vision of the executive team to the entire team. ​

    Ms. Sewell will discuss in more detail the following:

  • •  Roles of the leadership and management teams

  • •  Delineating the difference between a visionary and an integrator

  • •  Creating an optimal work environment for your leadership team (and subsequently your entire team)

  • See Ms. Sewell's speaker interview here for more info on her presentation. 

Dr. Jeromy Dixson

What I've learned after 30 Acquisitions

Speaker: Dr. Jeremy Dixson
Founder & CEO, The DSO Project

  • Dr. Dixson is a top DSO Influencer/thought leader (Group Dentistry Now 2019), a three-time INC Magazine 500/5000 awarded entrepreneur, and the Founder/CEO of The DSO Project, dentistry's first dental support organization (DSO) accelerator. Formerly, he was the Founder/CEO of Smiles Services LLC and Founder/President of Smiles Dental Group PC. In addition to his M&A Advising and Consulting work at The DSO Project, Dr. Dixson provides Board Services to private equity firms. He also currently serves as a trusted DSO/dental industry advisor for private equity firms, dental technology companies and global dental brands in a variety of capacities. He is a visionary, inspirational, and transformational leader who builds unified individuals, teams, cultures, and world-class organizations.

Day 1 Panel: Best Practices and Strategies for Success with Acquisitions

Dr. Hisham Barakat
Founder & CEO
Pyramid Dental Integration

Terri Krauss
Dental 365

Dr. Barry Deirmenjian
Smiles West

Day 2 Panel: Lessons Learned and Pitfalls to Avoid with De Novos

Dr. Matthew Kathan
Timber Dental

Dr. Eric Roman
Founder & Dentist

Dr. Sam Alkhoury
Founder & President
Simply Dental Management


Day 1: November 7

5:00 p.m.

Arrive at the Ritz Carlton Orlando

6:30 p.m.


7:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception

Day 2: November 8

7:00 a.m.

Breakfast & Registration

8:00 a.m.


8:30 a.m.


9:30 a.m.


10:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m.


12:00 p.m.


1:30 p.m.


2:30 p.m.


3:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m.

Panel Day 2

5:00 p.m.

Close Day 2

Day 3: November 9

7:00 a.m.

Breakfast & Registration

8:00 a.m.


8:30 a.m.


9:30 a.m.


10:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m.


12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

Panel Day 3

3:00 p.m.

Close Day 3

Register now!

2019 FALL Summit Registration


Per Attendee

3 Days

Full Access to Speakers 

Full Access to Networking and Events — plus, Earn CE CREDITS !

The 2019 DEO Fall Summit: How To Grow Through Practice Acquisitions and Startups is open to all members of the dental community. DEO Members receive a special registration price. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about  DEO Membership, click here
or Contact Darin Acopan
for more information:
[email protected]


The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Our room block at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes is now fully booked. Hotel rooms in the Orlando area are selling out as well.

We have some solutions for you if you still need to book your reservation. Please read the following carefully:

  • The J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes is also close to sold out. You might be able to make a reservation on a first-come, first-served basis. These rooms are priced at the normal hotel rate and not in our room block.

  • The Courtyard by Marriott is about 5 minutes from the Ritz-Carlton resort. They have availability from Nov. 6-9. (Note: You cannot walk between the two properties, as the route crosses a major road.)

  • The Fairfield Inn & Suites is about 8 minutes from the Ritz-Carlton resort. They have availability Nov. 6-9.

  • The Gaylord Palms is a full-service hotel that is about 20 minutes from the Ritz-Carlton. They have availability Nov. 6-9.

  • Other options include Airbnb or VRBO.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Hotel reservations are first-come, first-served, and the above availability could change at any time. We recommend booking your hotel accommodations as soon as possible.

All Fall Summit meetings will still be held at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes.

Become a sponsor!

Contact Darin Acopan for more information:

[email protected]