Van Handel Interview

Jazz at Joe’s Sponsor Spotlight


                      Van Handel Dental Lab

Lisa Dae: Describe your business?  What do you do?

Dave Van Handel: We fabricate and/or repair removable tooth appliances.

Lisa Dae:  How long have you been in business?

Dave Van Handel: 22 years here in Bend.

Lisa Dae:  What brought you to Bend and How long have you been here?

Dave Van Handel:  I grew up in La Grande.  From there I moved to Eugene and went to school at the University of Oregon for a political science degree.  I moved to Portland and started this trade.  When I started doing this, I wanted to move back to the east side of the mountains.  My parents lived in Powell Butte, and my dad was in kind of poor health, and so I came over to help my mom out with my dad.  I ended up starting my business here in Bend in 1996.

Lisa Dae:  How did you learn this trade?

Dave Van Handel:  I had run into this guy while I was living in Portland that I had gone to high school with in La Grande, and he had a dental lab business in Portland, and he needed somebody to help him.  And so, I decided that I wanted to look into it.  So, I worked with him for a few days and I liked it.  I like working with my hands, and it can be semi-artistic.  So, after I did it for a while I decided to go to school and enrolled in the dental tech program at Portland Community College.  When I graduated I moved to Bend.

Lisa Dae:  Tell us a little bit about Van Handel Dental Lab?

Dave Van Handel:  We are in the heart of town, at Third and Revere here in Bend. We have a total of four employees including myself.  And you know John Burke and Mark Karwan, (both very good musicians,) work for me.  I hired John about six years ago, and he knew nothing about dental-lab work.  I saw him at a gig, and he needed a job, and I needed a fresh body in here, so I hired him.  So, we trained John.  Then John ended up moving to Portland for a couple of years while his wife was going to nursing school, and he worked for a lab over there.  When John and his wife decided to move back after his wife got out of nursing school, I hired him back again.  He’s learned a lot in that amount of time.  Same thing with Mark Karwan.  I was gigging at the Northside Bar & Grill and he had just moved to town.  He had a job lined up, but when he got to town they said, “Sorry, we can’t use you.”  So, he was kind of stuck here, and I needed a delivery driver, so I hired him on the spot, too.  He has been progressing, learning how to do more and more things. It’s a great working environment. 

I’ve got about 56 dental offices that I work with.  Most of them are local in Bend, but we do have clients in Madras, Prineville, La Pine, Redmond, Sisters and a couple of accounts in Portland.

Lisa Dae:  What do you like most about your business?

Dave Van Handel:  We do a lot of jobs where the dentist will send a case in where the patient has a lot of issues, and it’s nice to be able to fix that.  To make it look nice and make it functional.  It can change somebody’s life.  I worked as a denturist also, where I saw patients directly, and I did that for about 15 years.  I just decided that I either had to concentrate on one or the other because trying to run both businesses at the same time was too much for me. I opted to just do the lab work, but all that experience, seeing patients and doing it all myself from start to finish, gave me a lot of knowledge to be really good at doing this for other clinicians.  That part is nice, too, because I can call them up if they did something wrong and ask them to do something different.

Lisa Dae:  What prompted you to sponsor Jazz at Joe’s?

Dave Van Handel:  I like Joe.  I like the concept that Joe has going at Jazz at Joe’s.  Being that I’m a frustrated mediocre trombone player and musician, I just figure that’s one thing I can do is to help monetarily so that we can all hear some great music.  It’s nice to have that caliber of player here on a regular basis.  I just like the way that Joe does the concerts, the venue and everything. I just wanted to help keep that going.

Lisa Dae:  What do you like about jazz?

Dave Van Handel:  Everything.

Lisa Dae:  Have you always been a jazz lover?

Dave Van Handel:  I listened to music as a kid.  Growing up I had older brothers and sisters, and they were always listening to music around the house.  I listened to The Beatles and Rolling Stones and Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, that kind of stuff.  I was just going through my dad’s records one time, and he had this Duke Ellington album. I don’t even think I knew who Duke Ellington was. But I put it on, and I don’t know, I just loved it.  I just wore that album out.  I listened to it constantly every day for like a year.  That was it!




Website Builder