Dave Doubek: ‘No one holds back’

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dave Doubek laughingly refers to it as “the beginning of the end.”

Doubek was two years out of college, working in Chicago’s financial district, when his father called him in to consult on a new computer purchase for the family’s Alsip, Ill., HME business, Doubek Medical Supply. The company began in the 1940s as a community pharmacy under the leadership of Doubek’s grandfather, then branched out into HME in the early 1980s while in his parents’ hands.

Although Doubek had helped out periodically in the family business as a kid, he wasn’t sure it was for him. He headed instead into a career in high-powered finance.

“I was the guy who needed to get away, spread my wings and see the real world,” Doubek says. “But deep down I think I knew I would be here one day.”

So when that call came in 1993 to help out with a computer purchase, Doubek responded. That one-time consultation for the family business grew into part-time work overseeing a new software implementation, which then gradually evolved into a full-time job on the operations side of Doubek Medical Supply. In 2000, he became president.

Doubek’s mark on the company has been to focus on specialization-“my parents dabbled in a lot of products,” he says-with a strong presence in enterals, diabetic supplies, ostomy, wound care and custom fittings.

To this day, Doubek Medical Supply remains very much a family operation. Doubek’s brother serves as vice president of sales. His pharmacist sister works on a part-time basis. His father still serves on the board, and his mother helps out in the retail store about 10 hours a week.

On the positive side, being surrounded by family “ensures accountability and trust,” says Doubek. “We know that ultimately we all have the same goal in mind, and that we’re able to depend on each other.”

Yet it’s not without its challenges, and at the top of Doubek’s list is the difficulty of balancing family and work relationships.

“It’s tough when you’re in the same building every day, with major decisions to make, then you’re all getting together for Thanksgiving dinner,” he says.

His family’s solution?

“When there’s an argument or a lack of communication, we come back to what’s best for the company,” says Doubek. “No one holds back in this family. Everyone speaks their mind, and that’s a strength.”

The preponderance of family-owned HME companies like his is a strength for the industry, he says, because of the high levels of service they typically provide.

“We get referrals from bigger companies, patients who say ‘I just wasn’t getting what I needed there,’” says Doubek. “There’s something to be said for, when your name’s on the building, customers walk out satisfied. That accountability is there.”

Dave Doubek
Title/company: President,
Doubek Medical Supply
Locations: Alsip, Ill.
Age: 39
Years at the helm: 8
Best family quality: “Our work ethic and dedication.”