I know some of you may be wondering, "What the heck is that picture, and how does it relate to physical therapy?" In short, this is a picture from my once in a lifetime trip that got the wheels spinning. However, after contemplating the question a bit longer, everything in my life has brought me to this point of launching the first of it's kind on-demand physical therapy clinic with a doctor of physical therapy that travels directly to the client.
Years before I knew I wanted to be a physical therapist, I had a sense of small business instilled into me ever since I was a kid. Both my mother's and father's parents owned small businesses. My grandmom on my mom's side owned both a flower shop in OCMD, and a clothing store in Towson, while my grandfather owned a successful door manufacturing business. However, my father's family business, Dulkerian's Persian Rug Co., dulkerianspersianrugco.com, made the largest impact on my life as I helped my dad every summer growing up while school was out. My grandmother repaired rugs for years, while my dad took over for my grandfather. Getting up and commuting an hour into Baltimore every day to wash dirty rugs for a living will definitely make you humble. However, it was something I was proud of. Dad worked so hard to support his family and to help people out. He has always made it more convenient for customers with pick ups, deliveries, and sales directly to his customers out of his blue work van.
I found physical therapy in my junior year of high school, and I knew it was what I wanted to do for my career. I also knew that this career would allow me a chance to one day own my own business. I worked hard and ended up going to Ithaca College to study physical therapy. This was when I met the most influential person in my young career: my professor Ernie Nalette. He always talked about the profession of physical therapy and how it truly was in the real world. He became a mentor influencing me to question the status quo, and to want better for my patients. Physical therapy should not be an assembly line, packing as many people as possible into a day. I took his advice to heart, but worked on honing my skills for just about the past 10 years, becoming very proficient in hands-on techniques.
I have continually seen decreases in reimbursement from insurance companies forcing physical therapists to see more people, and increasing deductibles or co-pays for clients. I wanted something better. This was about the time I took a once in a lifetime trip along the California coastline camping, surfing, and hiking along the way via a 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon named Lone Star from Vintage Surfari Wagons, www.vwsurfari.com. Thank goodness we were not there during the mudslide this past year, because that was the same stretch of road in the Big Sur that we boondocked for the night to watch the sunset over the cliffs. I would highly recommend this drive at least once in your lifetime. Anyway, this was the time I began to realize that it may be possible to create a mobile clinic that I could take directly to clients, with everything I need inside to provide the best quality physical therapy. I made it my mission, putting in a lot of hard work preparing the business, even traveling all the way to the Lone Star State to purchase my big blue van. From scratch, I built out my van into a physical therapy office on wheels thanks to a lot of help from my family. Pioneer PT was born, and now I hope to help as many folks as I can by providing the best possible care directly to you!
James Dulkerian, DPT
Active outdoorsman with an honest soul and a passion for health.