SafeLink Consulting has been selected by the NADL - National Association of Dental Laboratories as The Strategic Partner for the industry and featured in JDT - Journal of Dental Technology- Who's Hot in 2021. "The Strategic Partner: They were there for the industry in a time of need.", states the JDT.
This comes at no better time for SafeLink Consulting as the company is proud to be celebrating thirty years of helping the dental community.
"We thank the NADL - National Association of Dental Laboratories for the honor as Strategic Partner for the Industry. It's been a long ride and so glad we've been together for 3o years in the dental industry. We thank all of those responsible for this recognition. We look forward to many, many more years as a partner with NADL and NBC." says Mary Bartlett, President & Sr. Compliance Advisor of SafeLink Consulting, Inc.
As published in the JDT January 2021 issue:
In 1992 Mary Bartlett launched her own business to help dentists and dental lab owners understand
the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and protect their workers. Later that year, her husband Clarence
Smith and daughter Angie McLendon joined the business. As a manufacturer’s representative, Clarence
had over ten years in dentistry which helped build their client base. After Clarence passed away in 1997,
Mary and Angie made the difficult decision to keep SafeLink going. Once infection control education was mandated for certification, SafeLink’s attendance at courses and tradeshows was brought to a new level. Bartlett met Gary Morgan and his wife Claudia at a tradeshow in 2007 and discussed his interest in joining SafeLink. He began consulting with labs and became a partner in 2008.
Since then, the company has continued to grow, but with the advent of COVID-19, it has transformed
how things are accomplished. Before, they conducted mostly onsite services. Now, it’s webinars, online
courses and virtual training.
“We had to change how we did business to make it easier on our clients, with a focus on virtual training
and assessments,” said McLendon. “Also with so many tradeshows ceasing or becoming virtual, we now do most of our marketing online through our blogs and search engine optimization. It’s been a big change, but we’ve had to adapt, the same as dental labs had to adapt.”
Through conferencing software, SafeLink consultants are able to “walk” through the lab. They know what they are looking for and ask for photos or a closer look in order to write up their report. Although
the type of interaction changed, SafeLink remained a steady resource.
“I can honestly tell you when COVID-19 first hit, I was scared to death we weren’t going to survive
as a business,” said Morgan. “What surprised us was the resiliency of the industry. Immediately labs
started thinking about alternate ways to survive and our phone starting ringing with their questions on regulations and FDA. Our engagement and informational resources enabled clients to focus on keeping their business going.”
SafeLink Consulting, Inc., Cumming, Ga., USA
Mary A. Bartlett, President & Sr. Compliance Advisor
Gary D. Morgan, CDT, ASQ CQA, Vice President & Sr. Compliance Advisor
Angie McLendon, Business Operations & Marketing Manager
What motivates you or fuels your passion?
M: I get personal pleasure helping others to resolve their problems. I care about our clients and their success and I want to ease their issues.
A: I joined SafeLink to help my parents and I want to continue to make the company successful.
G: I met Mary as a lab owner and I was passionate about keeping my technicians safe. This transitioned into quality systems and was a big impetus to get into consulting because I wanted to see other labs be successful and profitable.
What would you change in the current world of dental laboratory technology?
M: I’d like to interest more people in the dental laboratory technology career. Although schools have closed, technology has opened up another workforce and these opportunities need to be promoted. Dentists also rely on technicians more than ever and the state regulatory bodies should do more to push technician chairside services.
G: Recognition is lacking for the technician’s knowledge and skills. So few states have a CDT requirement, and so few recognize that dental labs are an independent and valuable business, apart from the dentist. Once certification and regulations are promoted the profession will be elevated in the eyes of dentistry.
What do you hope to leave as your mark/legacy?
M: It’s going to be difficult to retire but I know I’m leaving it in good hands with Gary and Angie. They have the same passion to provide the avenue for dental labs to keep employees
safe. Mostly, I want to be remembered as a person who cares about the industry and
hopefully made a difference.
G: I hope the legacy of this company is that we provided the information the industry
needed at a time when no one else was providing it. As we educate about safety and quality,
we are here to help businesses and protect workers. There are amazing people who have
suffered because they had long-term exposure to hazardous materials. I don’t ever want to
What does the dental laboratory look like 5-10 years from now?
M: I see continued consolidation, technology innovations and a declining workforce. As far as regulations, OSHA recognized with silica and beryllium that the permissible exposure limits were too high and lowered them. Hopefully OSHA will continue to study new materials and enforce standards to protect workers.
G: The digital world will continue to change dramatically with a focus on production. While the capacity for labs to produce has greatly increased with technology, there is a loss of some artistic flair. Automation will dominate how things are done in the future and will also help U.S. labs keep work here. It can also help put new blood in the labs. Younger people are excited about technology and can adapt and learn quickly.
What is the biggest untapped opportunity for today’s dental laboratory technician?
M: During the pandemic we consulted with many clients who were able to keep working by manufacturing face shields or swabs. Labs should continue to look at other areas of manufacturing outside of dental devices. Small labs should also think about ways to make their business more attractive to investors or a group of labs. Last, owners should consider looking outside the U.S. for business. Sometimes it’s easier to do business in a foreign country than here.
G: The younger people will be the innovators and will bring better and alternative ways of doing things. It’s exciting and enthralling to see what technicians are able to do and how they market through social media.
The response to the pandemic came in phases. At first, clients needed help to manufacture other products. Once employees returned to work, then there were concerns regarding COVID-19 exposure
and keeping employees safe.
Bartlett said, “We knew the industry needed help and we were here to help whether we got paid or
not. Angie was a driving force in unceasingly getting blogs and information out. We would hear about new questions or guidelines and she would push us to get another blog out. It’s an unknown virus though, and still remains a moving target. As far as the future, the pandemic helped us take a look at how we deliver our services and also the importance of what we do.”
When OSHA recommended that business owners develop an infection disease and preparedness
response plan, SafeLink added COVID-19 information to their safety manual. The response was overwhelmingly positive and their virtual consulting and training calendar became very full. Both Bartlett and Morgan expressed deep appreciation for their whole team in keeping the day-to-day operations running so they could focus on consulting. It appears that no matter what changes lay ahead, the future still brings hope.
Morgan said, “Mary mentioned that she’s in the twilight of her career. Angie and I will ensure that
SafeLink will still be here to address safety issues for the dental lab industry. It’s been our core business
since it was founded even if we change our footprint. We are always going to keep doing what we are doing and be around for a long time to be of service to the industry for whatever that normal looks like.”
Learn more about how to achieve OSHA Compliance for your dental laboratory. Contact SafeLink Consulting for assistance with OSHA compliance.
Learn more about how to stay on top of FDA Dental Regulations. Contact SafeLink Consulting for assistance with FDA compliance / Quality System Management.
Visit our website to learn more about how SafeLink can help your business with safety programs and quality systems.
Learn more about what SafeLink Consulting can do to help your business with compliance services, including safety compliance, to meet OSHA training requirements and quality system consulting to meet FDA compliance. SafeLink Consulting assists businesses with workplace safety training, infection control training, HIPAA training online, quality systems, assessments, audits, due diligence, and more.
Dentistry compliance - assisting the dental practice with meeting requirements for OSHA, HIPAA, EPA, and CDC guidelines, patient safety and employee health & safety
Dental Laboratory compliance - assisting the dental lab with meeting requirements for OSHA, FDA, and CDC guidelines, employee health & safety, plus FDA requirements for lab manufacturing custom implant abutment /gmp for medical device manufacturers
Medical Device Manufacturers compliance - assisting with meeting OSHA compliance & FDA requirements, GMP - good manufacturing practices
General Industry compliance - assisting with OSHA compliance and FDA compliance as it pertains to the specific business
Beverage Industry compliance - assisting beverage businesses such as the craft brewery, winery, cidery, distillery, vintner with meeting OSHA compliance, health & safety, FDA requirements / GMP - Good Manufacturing Practices.