Ken Ziff joined Dental Care Alliance (DCA) in November of 2021, but his familiarity with the dental industry dates back to his childhood.
“I grew up in my father’s dental office in New Jersey,” Ziff says. “He was a dentist for 50 years, but he was a pharmacist for a decade before that, because he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. He instilled in me a work ethic that I have brought to the table here at DCA and that I have passed down to my own kids.”
As DCA’s vice president of real estate operations, Ziff has ample opportunity to put that work ethic to the test. He oversees all real estate, facilities repairs and maintenance, and construction for the dental support organization, which assists over four hundred dental practices across the country.
For Ziff, the key to managing this sizeable portfolio is to honor the relationships between the DCA team and their dental providers and those between the providers and their patients.
Before coming on board at DCA, Ziff cut his teeth in the world of corporate real estate and construction at professional employer organization Staff Leasing (later Gevity HR), NRT, a subsidiary of the real estate brokerage company Anywhere Real Estate Inc., and TTEC, a global customer experience outsourcing company. In each role, he grew his individual responsibilities and his leadership experience, in part by absorbing as much knowledge as he could from the industry experts with whom he collaborated.
“So much of what has helped me throughout the years is building relationships, learning every step of the way, taking on increased responsibilities, and always making great connections,” says Ziff. “You have your internal and external customers, and you really want to take care of them and develop those relationships, because when it comes time to get things done and get them done together, it is a lot better if you are all rowing in the same direction.”
Over the years, Ziff has adopted an “attitude of gratitude” mindset that guides his interactions with his team members and colleagues. “It is a matter of experiencing a genuine willingness to partner and collaborate throughout the organization from the bottom to the top,” he says. “I treat everyone the same, and that is something I have carried with me throughout my career.”
At DCA, Ziff works with his high-performing team to ensure the smooth day-to-day operations of dental offices nationwide. “Service-level excellence is so important to us,” he emphasizes.
“We have two people on the team who deal with repairs and maintenance on a daily basis. Instead of just dispatching somebody in response to a work order, they reach back out to the office to make sure they really understand what the problem is. One team member assists with construction projects, while another leads the real estate lease administration area. The team is small but mighty!”
Ziff wants each DCA provider and their office staff to take pride in their space as a place of work and a place of care. “We are all on the same team. The dental providers are doing their part and the office staff is doing their part, so we need to make sure we do our part in providing patients an inviting and comfortable space,” he says.
“The providers have relationships with their patients, so there is no reason for us on the support center side not to have relationships with the providers and their staff.”
That includes bringing new providers into the fold. “Besides relocations and renovations, the company has experienced tremendous growth through acquisitions, which we call affiliations,” Ziff explains. “A lot of the doctors choose to partner with us. They didn’t go to school to become businesspeople or marketing or insurance experts. When they partner with us, we take those burdens off their shoulders and help them get back to what they do best and what they hopefully still love to do, which is to be a dentist.”
As new practices ally with DCA and its real estate portfolio expands, so do Ziff’s responsibilities. Beyond handling real estate leases and negotiations, he leads a construction docket with current projects in Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and more. “At times, we have up to two dozen projects of varying scopes that I am supporting at any given time, all of them at different stages,” he says.
For projects nearing completion, Ziff holds weekly or biweekly meetings with working groups throughout DCA to stay ‘in the know’ as final installation dates approach. He likens his role to that of an orchestra conductor, who must maintain visibility over the many sections of DCA and help each of them hit their cues at exactly the right moments.
No matter the challenges that may arise in the process, Ziff has what it takes to persevere––a skill he picked up from his father all those years ago. “I give him so much credit, to have the absolute drive to succeed instead of just doing something because he was told he must,” he says. “It shows that anything is possible, as long as you have the will and the desire.”
Mohr Partners, Inc. is a global corporate real estate advisor, providing corporate tenants with an integrated set of portfolio services, including strategic planning, business intelligence, lease administration/accounting & FASB ASC 842 compliance, research and site selection, labor analytics, project and construction management, comprehensive demographics analysis, economic incentives, negotiations, and transaction management. Since 1986, Mohr Partners has been managing real estate portfolios for corporations, and each year completes transactions globally for its clients.