When you first hear about Dan Rootenberg's career, you hear that he is co-founder and CEO of SPEAR Physical Therapy, and a recent award recipient of the prestigious Jayne L. Snyder Practice Award from the private practice section of the APTA. However, we took some time to get to know Dan beyond those accomplishments, and we learned that he is also a proud husband and father, regular triathlete competitor, avid baseball fan, a staunch supporter of the APTA and NYPTA, and incredible advocate for the physical therapy profession.
Take a few minutes and get to know this month's member spotlight with us! Enjoy the Q&A with Dan below.
Congratulations again on the award SPEAR PT received! Please tell us what it feels like to be the recipient of APTA’s most prestigious private practice award, and share with us some of the hard work it took to get there.
When I got the call from Terry Brown, President of PPS, I was on Madison Avenue with fire engines blaring and I couldn’t help but notice Terry’s southern twang. Honestly, it felt like I was hearing that we were being inducted into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. That week, we had our annual picnic in central park and I was able to share the great news with every one of my 130 team members at the same time. It was one of the most special moments in my career.
Running a private practice, I wear so many hats it can become dizzying at times. I feel very fortunate to have a great executive team on my side to rely on. Physical Therapy is such a personal business that it takes the efforts and passion of the entire organization to keep things moving forward.
You were an award recipient of a NYPTA chapter award at the 2016 Delegate Assembly, and have been a longtime member of both the APTA and NYPTA. Can you tell us how membership in your professional associations has enhanced your career?
The NYPTA, APTA and PPS have been absolutely integral to my growth and development as a professional, as a leader, and as a human being. I feel fortunate to have colleagues that I so respect and admire. It is in these professional group forums that we can share ideas, positively influence each other and develop each other’s skills and talents.
How is technology helping or changing your business? What is your favorite new technology or device?
Technology has enabled us to get a more accurate sense of how our practice is doing than ever before. I love being able to tell stories from data analysis. Getting real time analysis on a daily basis tells a much better story than we could have told in the late 90’s, when we were on paper EMRs.
What is one of the biggest differences between now, and the time you first started practicing physical therapy?
When I first started my practice, I did everything myself. It was good and bad. I learned about all aspects of the business, but if I wanted to grow I had to keep reinventing myself every few years. This is why it’s vitally important to stay close to colleagues through professional associations, executive coaching and constant development. I believe we should all look at ourselves every year and see how much we have grown and developed. That is a big part of what SPEAR stands for- self-actualization.
What is your favorite hobby or past time, and how have you incorporated that into your career if at all?
Since I was 5 years old, my goal was to play professional baseball. I was fortunate to have been able to accomplish that dream and weave that accomplishment into what I do at SPEAR Physical Therapy. I’m still involved both on the grass roots level, by serving on two little league boards and coaching my kids’ little league teams as well as on a Major League level. This March, Major League Baseball is flying me to South Korea to be the team Physical Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
What advice would you give to a young professional, or a student of physical therapy as they embark on this career path?
Follow your dreams. It will take hard work, effort and hustle, but it will be worth it! Grit and determination get you far in life. If you add talented people on your team to that mix, magic occurs.
What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you?
I live in Manhattan with my wife and three kids. Five years ago, I learned to overcome my fear of swimming in open water and now compete in triathlons every Summer!