Changing the Path
It’s not often you find someone who leaves one demanding career only to go back to school —med school, mind you — to start a new profession in a new field. However, that’s exactly what Dr. Richard L. Averitte, Jr., the founder and CEO of Affiliated Dermatology did when he left his successful career as an engineer and project manager to become a highly successful dermatologist.
Growing up in the Midwest, family connections led Dr. Averitte to move to Arizona where his wife had roots, and his brother had moved to in 1994. He had promised them that if he ever had the opportunity, he’d move out to Arizona, and since a sunny state like Arizona needs dermatologists like a car needs oil, the rest is history. However, family and sunshine weren’t the only things that brought him to Arizona.
I love what Arizona had to offer. The climate is awesome. But the community growth here is beyond anything I’ve ever seen.
Setting up Shop
His initial plan out of medical school was to become an orthopedic surgeon, but for Dr. Averitte, it was important to have a good work-life balance and the grueling hours were impractical for a man about to start a family. So, he achieved the balance he desired by opening a dermatology practice where he could interact with patients at the office and develop long-term relationships with them.
After completing his residency in Ohio, his adventure began in 2002 when he moved to Arizona to get Affiliated Dermatology off the ground using a loan from his grandmother and a credit card.
While Dr. Averitte loves what Arizona has to offer in the way of weather and diverse environments, what he admires most is the myriad opportunities that Arizona affords those who are willing to take a chance and work hard at what they are passionate about. After all, he notes, where else can someone take a modest loan from his grandmother (paid back with interest, by the way) and turn it into a thriving business with over 220 employees and six locations?
When asked which of the five Cs most resonated with him, without hesitation he responded that while all of them applied, catalyst was the one that immediately jumped out at him. Dr. Averitte has a profound respect for Arizona’s economic engine, and in all his travels around the U.S., he hasn’t seen a metropolitan area that has such elasticity and potential for growth. Arizona, he observes, can be whatever you want it to be. It just takes desire and a willingness to apply yourself. As he points outs, with the Valley’s existing infrastructure and large population — and more arriving every day — it can support practically any endeavor.
Calling Arizona Home
Dr. Averitte believes Arizona still contends somewhat with a negative reputation with some people back east who still view Arizonans in a provincial light. But in the sixteen years he has lived here, Dr. Averitte has had overwhelmingly positive experiences and has noticed a shift in attitudes. A true champion of the state, to help promote Arizona, he runs a residency program to attract talented practitioners to the area. “Once you get to Arizona and train in Arizona, you’re more likely to stay.”
For those of us who call Arizona home, we couldn’t agree more.
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