Empowering Employees to Success

Audio interview with Steve Bilt, president and CEO Bright Now! Dental

2008 Volume 11 Issue 2

Steve Bilt is president and chief executive officer of Bright Now! Dental, Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Monarch Dental Corporation and Newport Dental Plan. A member of the Bright Now! founding management team, Mr. Bilt served as the company’s chief financial officer from its inception in May 1998 through March 2000.

GBR readers may find these additional audio and video interviews from the Graziadio School of Business and Management and Pepperdine University interesting.









Steve Bilt, MBA









Before joining Bright Now!, Steve was vice president of finance for Vivra Incorporated, an operator of 250 dialysis clinics in 29 states and specialty physician networks and practices in 15 states. Vivra was the second-largest provider of outpatient kidney dialysis services in the United States, caring for approximately 15,000 end-stage renal disease patients. He was with Vivra during its growth from approximately $150 million in annual revenues to over $700 million and through its successful sale. Earlier in his career, as a manager with Ernst & Young, he provided consulting and assurance services to high-growth technology and healthcare organizations.

In 2003, Steve was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in an international program honoring business leaders who have created and sustained successful companies; he also became a member of the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame and Academy and has served on the judges’ committee since 2004. Founded by professional services firm Ernst & Young, the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year program is co-sponsored nationally by Microsoft.

Steve is a member of the Young Presidents Organization, an international association for chief executives. He received a bachelor of arts degree in business economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a master of business administration degree from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University; in 2006, Steve completed the Harvard Business School Presidents Program. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of California. In addition to his professional career, Steve enjoys scuba diving, mountain climbing, cheering on his soccer-star daughter, and teaching his son to hit a fastball. For more on Steve, visit the Bright Now! Dental Network.

Audio Files

Part 1 [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/part1.mp3] read transcript
Part 2 [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/part2.mp3] read transcript
Part 3 [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/part3.mp3] read transcript
Part 4 [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/part4.mp3] read transcript
Enabling Success [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/highlight1.mp3]
Customer Service: The G3 Method [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/highlight2.mp3]
The MBA [powerpress http://gsbm-med.pepperdine.edu/gbr/audio/bilt/highlight3.mp3]

Note: If the file does not download automatically, right click on the download icon and click “Save Target As…”

Questions Mr. Bilt answers include:

Part 1

  1. What is Bright Now! Dental, Inc.?
  2. What is Bright Now!’s business model and how did it come about?
  3. What problems do you face in Bright Now!’s acquisitions of Monarch, Castle, and Newport Dental?
  4. Is the company’s strategic goal to acquire similar businesses or build new ones from the ground up?
  5. How do you work with your affiliate dentists?
  6. How do you add value to the businesses you acquire and your affiliates?
  7. What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made along the way?
  8. Where do your biggest opportunities for profit and growth lie?

Part 2

  1. As CEO, how much of your success depends on intuition, talent, or learned skills?
  2. What are the skills it took to start Bright Now! and how do they differ from what it takes to be CEO?
  3. What started you on the entrepreneurial path?
  4. Tell us about your proudest achievement.

Part 3

Introduction: Mr. Bilt received the 2003 “Entrepreneur of the Year Award,” which was co-sponsored by Microsoft, USA Today, CNN, and the NASDAQ Stock Market. Past recipients include Michael Dell of Dell Computer, Richard Schulze of Best Buy, Andy Taylor of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Pierre Omidyar of eBay.

  1. How can other companies incorporate Bright Now!’s winning strategies in the areas of: empowering field operations management, developing administrative excellence, focusing on patient care and satisfaction, and providing employee incentives and recognition?
  2. Who comprises the company’s field operations management and why are they important?
  3. What does administrative excellence mean to you?
  4. How did you put into practice meaningful employee incentives and recognition?
  5. As a judge for the “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” competition, what criteria do you use to evaluate success?
  6. How does Bright Now! Dental approach customer service? Specifically, tell us about the G3 plan.

Part 4

  1. The Bright Now! Community Fund received the Red Cross Humanitarian Award before it was fully up and running. Tell us about the Fund and what it has accomplished.
  2. As elections draw near, a potential change could be in the healthcare system. What are some of the weaknesses and strengths you see in the current system and what would you want to change?
  3. How has the recent downturn in the economy impacted the company?
  4. How are you planning for the future in this time of instability?
  5. How is technology impacting your business?
  6. How has having an MBA influenced your career direction and your success?
  7. What do you think are the future job prospects for MBA grads in the next few years?


The “GBR Jingle” was composed by Kyle Rotolo, who was born and raised in northern New Jersey. There he played in a number of rock bands and aspired to become a songwriter before moving to Malibu. At Pepperdine he is a music composition major studying with N. Lincoln Hanks.

About the Author(s)

Nancy Ellen Dodd, MPW, MFA, serves as academic editor of the "Graziadio Business Review." Her book on creative writing, "The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages," was published by Writer's Digest Books in June 2011. She also served as editor of Marshall, a USC academic/alumni magazine, and started the Marshall Review, an online journal for the Marshall School of Business at USC. More than 135 of her articles have been published in local and national publications. Dodd received her master's in Professional Writing from USC with a concentration in screenwriting and an MFA in playwriting at the USC School of Theatre. Ms. Dodd also teaches screenwriting as an adjunct faculty in Seaver College at Pepperdine University.