Dr. Suketu Patel was a little caught off guard when he was told he’d been nominated for the “My Boss is Boss” feature in Discovering Bulloch. But he soon expressed delight at being honored by people that he says he greatly esteems.
Those people are the employees at East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery, where Patel has practiced for about six years.
“I think it’s great. I had no idea they were doing all of this,” he said. “I think the world of them and hopefully they think the world of me. We try to have a good time here, as best as we can. It’s hard, because sometimes what we do, we’re doing surgery, it can get kind of serious at times. But we try to kick back and have a good time. I’m very honored to be nominated for this.”
Patel says that being able to connect with your staff, working together and listening to everyone’s ideas are key components to not only being a great boss, but to a great work environment as well. Although he has served in leadership positions in the academic, athletic and organizational arenas, this is his first time being an employer.
“I kind of came in with the philosophy that I wanted to treat everybody as equals. We’ve got people who are supervisors in different departments, and we kind of lean on them a little bit more to keep things organized and stable. But there’s no hierarchy of individuals as far as I’m concerned. Everybody is equal and everybody is allowed to speak and share their ideas. I think that’s what makes us great,” he said.
The staff of East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery moved to their new facility about eight months ago. Patel says the old facility, which had housed the practice for about 25 years, had gotten quite crowded as the practice grew. The new facility is spacious and light, and offers state-of-the-art care for surgery of the mouth and jaw, with the primary focus being on wisdom teeth and dental implants. There is also a conference room upstairs for continuing education, training and staff meetings.
When Patel isn’t working, he says he enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Anjali, a pediatric dentist, have two children: Rayan, who is 7, and Lara, who is 5. The family enjoys traveling together, as well as exploring the many things the Boro has to offer. Patel has also been into CrossFit for about five years, and enjoys working out and keeping fit.
Patel’s employees share the affection for him, simply calling him “Doc.” Chris O’Malley, coordinator for Professional Relations at East Georgia, called her boss “compassionate and caring.”
“He truly tries to understand the struggles that his patients are going through and help them regardless of their situations. He gives his employees the responsibility and support needed to care for our patients. Doc is rarely in a bad mood and always has a ‘can do” attitude. Working for him is a pleasure,” she said.
Paula Dailey, insurance and billing coordinator, says she appreciates Patel’s sense of humor.
“Dr. Patel has a laugh that makes the worst day the happiest. His laugh will make you laugh. He really enjoys interacting with us and our crazy ideas; at the same time, he wants us to treat our patients and each other as kindly as he does,” she said. “I feel blessed and loved working for a boss that is a real person and not a boss who does not see us just as an employee. Sometimes the days are long, but in the end, he finds a way to let each of us know just how valuable we are to him and the practice.”