Corporate Partner Testimonials

Dan Merkel

Dan Merkel
American Orthodontics

American Orthodontics Corporation feels the need to give back to the orthodontic community and recognize all the great things the AAOF is doing to ensure the strong continuation of the profession. That is why American Orthodontics is very enthusiastic to be the first company to give a Million Dollar donation to the AAOF and thereby supports the Continued Commitment to the Specialty®. Our desire is that this donation will motivate other vendors and clinicians to donate or increase their previous donations as well so that the orthodontic profession will continue to prosper well into the future.

Randy Benz

Randy Benz
American Orthodontics

American Orthodontics Corporation is entering its 42nd year in the orthodontic industry. We have always recognized the unique and special qualities that encompass the orthodontic community. This community is made up of doctors, patients, orthodontic school faculty, residents and vendors. Many have been highly blessed by the profession that has given great careers with a high standard of living and satisfaction, while simultaneously changing millions of patient’s lives for the better. 

Just consider American Orthodontics Corporation, where over 400 associates and their families benefit from the industry in the form of careers and family income while providing high quality, made in the USA solutions to the orthodontic community. We have also benefited from countless relationships and friendships that have been formed over the years with wonderful clinicians and staff.

Dan Merkel is the founder and CEO of American Orthodontics Corporation. When I approached Dan about doubling our past donation of one-half million dollars to a new level of giving the AAOF has not witnessed before, it was a quick conversation ending with “YES”. American Orthodontics Corporation feels the need to give back even more to the orthodontic community and recognize all the great things the AAOF is doing to ensure the continuation of the profession. That is why American Orthodontics Corporation is very enthusiastic to be the first company to give a Million Dollar donation to the AAOF and thereby supports the “Continued Commitment to the Specialty®”.
The AAOF has provided over 6.6 million in funding junior faculty as well as fellowship and research grants. Over 1,000 gifts have also been awarded to residents in orthodontic programs and numerous department chairs/directors have been supported early in their academic careers. This type of funding is key to ensuring the continuation of highly talented and motivated faculty and healthy orthodontic programs across the country. Eighty percent of junior faculty supported by the AAOF remains in full-time academics after five years.

We are pleased we can be part of these great accomplishments and with continued support from other vendors and orthodontists, the AAOF will have even more of an impact in the future. I sincerely urge you to give if you haven’t done so, or look at increasing your pledge amounts by following our example.


Kunkemoeller, Jim

James R. Kunkemoeller
President and CEO
Great Lakes Orthodontics Ltd.

The decision to have Great Lakes Orthodontics pledge at the fellow level was an easy one.   More than ever, attracting and retaining the most qualified and talented faculty members for the Orthodontic programs is essential to the future of the specialty.  The AAOF has provided over six and half million dollars of funding in support of orthodontic faculty in the form of fellowship and research awards.  The effect is evident in the high retention rate of junior faculty supported by those awards.  I firmly believe that continuing this support should be of critical importance not only to Orthodontists but to every Orthodontic Company as well. As an orthodontics company, our business and employees have greatly benefited from our relationship with the profession.  Supporting the work of the AAOF is not only an investment in our future, it is our responsibility. I am privileged to be involved in the foundation's efforts.




Brandon Collier
Collier, Sarner & Associates, Inc.


I’m not an orthodontist. I’m a lawyer, lecturer and writer specializing in teaching doctors (primarily dentists) how to be better businesspeople, how to get wealthy, and how to avoid the big blunders that too many are prone to make.

These include a curriculum that has become overwhelming, costs (including research) that are skyrocketing, students who are graduating with choking debt loads, and difficulties in making teaching pay enough to entice graduates to become professors instead of private practitioners.

As a person who cares about teaching, I inquired as to why this was so, and no dental educator was able to give me a justification that made any sense. In the process of my investigation, I learned a great deal about dental education and the issues your profession and schools are facing.  I’ve been flattered to be asked to serve on dental school and dental foundation boards.

In the process, I’ve learned about the many strengths and the serious problems your dental schools (and ultimately your profession) are facing. These include a curriculum that has become overwhelming, costs (including research) that are skyrocketing, students who are graduating with choking debt loads, and difficulties in making teaching pay enough to entice graduates to become professors instead of private practitioners.  Of those problems, the first (streamlining curriculum) is beyond my competence. But I do understand money and economics, and the last three problems are solvable with money. Others, more articulate than I, have explained to you why it’s essential for each orthodontist to give to his or her school and to the AAO Foundation, which supports all these needs.

If the schools cannot attract sufficient professors and generate advanced research, the dental profession becomes endangered. Dentists, and particularly orthodontists, risk becoming viewed as merely one more type of highly educated employee/technician. Impossible? It has already happened to a degree with pharmacists and optometrists. I’ve noticed that medical schools tend to covet neighboring dental school land. If a dental school loses prestige, there is a risk that university administrators will succumb to pressure to close their school. These things would be a tragedy for your profession, in general, and for the Collier family in particular.

Why does the Collier family have such a personal interest in the future of orthodontics? Because I expect that every one of my lineal descendants to the end of time will need their teeth straightened (and if history is any guide, some twice)!  I had braces. My siblings all had braces (one of whom needed them a second time).  My parents each had braces.  Even my grandfather, who was born in 1908 had braces (Braces back then?!!?)  I now realize that the Collier family simply has great genes for the orthodontic profession, and in fact my children’s pediatric dentist is already warning me about their impending treatment.

As a loyal consumer of orthodontic treatment, I have put my money where my mouth is.  I am a contributor to the AAO Foundation at the Regent level.  I urge everyone who reads this to do the same. You will be helping to ensure your future success and the future of your profession.  Thank you.




Ron Saslow
President and CEO

For more than a decade, Hu-Friedy has been producing quality instruments that help Orthodontists perform at their best and assists them in delivering the highest level of care to their patients. The Hu-Friedy $25,000 pledge to the AAOF is a logical extension of our support of the orthodontic community and our commitment to investing in education and research that will drive future innovation.

At Hu-Friedy our mission has always been to improve lives through better dentistry - smile after smile. Much more than words, this mission drives everything we do and is a guiding principle as we continue to strive to make a positive difference in the level of orthodontic care. When we consider what the orthodontic community does every day in the treatment of dental and facial irregularities and making it possible for patients to meet the world with beautiful smiles and restored confidence, it makes us proud to know we’ve contributed to something so important.

When you’ve been in business as long as Hu-Friedy has (102 years!) – providing quality instruments that support dental practitioners in their commitment to the highest level of performance – you naturally think of your customers as an extension of your corporate family. That same sense of family is also part of the AAOF heritage, and is just one of the many reasons why Hu-Friedy is proud to invest in the future of the orthodontic community. 


From left: Robert W. Hazel,
Executive Vice President AAOF;
Dr. Stephen E. Hershey, President AAOF;
Paul D. Wilkens, Senior Vice President of
Marketing and Product Development
Ortho Technology; and
John A. Nabors, Senior Vice President of
Global Sales Ortho Technology

Ortho Technology is a rapidly growing leader in the orthodontic supply market. Since 1991 Ortho Technology has offered innovative and unique products that orthodontic professionals worldwide have come to trust. Ortho Technology is committed as a company to provide practices with the very best products possible, while delivering the utmost in customer service.

To show its gratitude and commitment to the orthodontic profession Ortho Technology recently pledged $100,000 to the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF), the charitable arm of the American Association of Orthodontists that provides support to orthodontic education programs and research.

“The AAO Foundation is grateful to Ortho Technology, an AAOF Corporate Partner, for their generosity towards realizing our mission to advance the orthodontic specialty by supporting education and research,” said James Gallagher (RMSO/CO), 2010-2011 President of the AAOF Board of Directors.

“We have always been and will always be deeply committed to the orthodontic industry, and we are thrilled to be able to give back to the profession that has given us so much,” said Paul Wilkens, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Development.

Ortho Technology’s OrthoRewards loyalty program also allows practices to accumulate points with each purchase that can be redeemed for charitable contributions to the AAOF, or put toward rewards like product discounts, gift certificates good for cruises, hotel stays, and much more.

“Orthodontists are a very special group of dedicated individuals and the relationships we’ve developed with them have been very satisfying to our continued organizational growth,” said Brian Leaghty, President and CEO. “The profession has been very good to us and we want to show our appreciation.”

About Ortho Technology, Inc.

Based in Tampa, Florida, Ortho Technology, Inc. is a privately owned orthodontic supply company engaged in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of products to enhance orthodontic treatment.