Armed with only P3,000 in savings and a thirdhand dental chair, Dr. Steve Mark Gan came back to the Philippines in 1998 after intensive training and a residency in the United States.
Little would the public know that this doctor, who set up a "simple practice" in Binondo, would emerge as the founder of one the most advanced dental centers in Asia.
"We started out in Binondo, in my dad's place in Chinatown. It was a very simple practice," he said.
He had been fortunate to join St. Luke's Hospital in Quezon City, where he began conceptualizing his own clinic.
As demand for his services grew, he established Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC) in 2001.
Word-of-mouth referrals and his keen adherence to global quality standards helped Gan's clientele grow -- a roster which now includes local celebrities, diplomats and government officials.
Today, GAOC has ten premium branches with another one in the pipeline. The center provides a range of services from general dentistry to dental implants.
Under the GAOC Group of Companies, Gan has also instituted a second-tier expansion, the Novodental clinics.
Not one to settle on his current successes, Gan grasped the opportunity to tackle the technological sphere, effectively ushering in the Samurai Dental Laboratory where state-of-the-art prosthesis and implants are manufactured, and the Gan Tech Industries (GTI) focusing on technology distribution.
Through the Dental News Philippines, the group is able to educate fellow associates, mentors and even students on all the necessary applied sciences and technology.
"We do not only want ourselves to be advanced, we share it with our colleagues in the profession," he said.
In more recent years, Gan has chosen to develop the GAOC brand in accordance with present-day marketing culture. Through Creative 300, he is able to carry out marketing schemes, in-house applications, and social media, steering both the GAOC Group of Companies and many others towards contemporary influence.
GAOC has been known for its top-of-the-line equipment. No expense is spared in achieving only the highest of standards for Filipinos.
Moving toward a completely digital structure, GAOC currently stands as one of the few 100% digital dental businesses in the Philippines.
Refusing to live up to the conventional disposition many have with regards to visiting a dentist, GAOC has mastered the personalized technique in sustaining an inviting environment coupled with the finest patient care.
The customized, tech-savvy approach to dentistry evokes a touch of charm and luxury, dispelling any fearful notions, virtually setting a spa-like atmosphere, calming the mind and body, granting an all-around feel-good experience for its clientele.
Aware that not everyone can afford his services, Gan also extends his support to those who truly need his aid.
At present, he conducts monthly medical missions, likewise shouldering the cost for a handful of surgeries and procedures.
"The work is never enough and never ending, so we want to give back our blessings," he said.
While Dr. Gan works on helping those who cannot afford his services, he also looks to creating opportunities for his workforce.
Through the GAOC Foundation, money is raised to facilitate educational scholarships for employees and staff, allowing them and their families a chance to obtain college degrees.
Furthering his passion, Gan now wants to focus on giving back particularly to the dental community.
By instituting the GAOC Dental Academy, Gan is able to develop the minds of the next generation of dentists.
Set to match international standards, the GAOC Dental Academy will allow students the platform to learn from esteemed professionals from around the globe.
While most international graduates prefer to work abroad, Gan viewed his global experiences as a chance to return to his motherland and develop the dental standards in the Philippines.
The GAOC Group of Companies is the realization of Gan’s dreams, the result of humble beginnings driven by devotion.
Through his perseverance, Gan has harvested monumental change in local dentistry, cultivating a brand that is set to live beyond its name.
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