Dental Tribune Europe
The famous phrase “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is a saying that Larry Bodony tries to follow. (Image: exocad)

Interview: “It’s our goal to represent an open culture”

By Dental Tribune International
November 18, 2021

For this interview, Dental Tribune International met with Larry Bodony, president of exocad America and a system integration expert, at the company’s 2021 IDS press event earlier this autumn. Exocad is one of the leading providers of digital dentistry software and since it joined forces with the globally renowned medical device company Align Technology in 2020, there was much to discuss about the past, the present and the future.

Mr Bodony, how did you become involved in dentistry? What is your professional background?
Actually, I have worked in many industries, including graphics and even national security. But before all that, I went to the MIT in Boston for my studies and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. The first job I landed after that was at a mini-computer company, and after that, I was employed at Kurzweil, a company that manufactured DSP musical synthesizers. This was my first experience with a start-up, it went all the way to public offering.

That’s very impressive. But exocad is not considered a start-up anymore, right?
That’s right. And we are also now a part of Align Technology, a leading global medical device company that designs, manufactures, and sells the Invisalign system of clear aligners and iTero intraoral scanners, in addition to exocad CAD/CAM software for digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry.

When I first met the founders of exocad in 2011, it was the company’s first IDS show.  I was immediately interested in the CAD/CAM software and the focus of the team.

Back then, the booth was tucked away somewhere at the back of the Koeln Messe exhibition hall. Now jumping forward to 2021, when we saw this year’s booth in the best location, I turned to our CEO, Tillmann Steinbrecher, and said: “Wow, it’s a long walk back to the corner where we started!”

At this year’s IDS in Cologne, Germany, exocad showcased its newest software releases and innovations for dental technicians and dentists on 360m² with a multitude of demo stations. (Image: exocad)

But this is the interesting thing about exocad, isn’t it? The company’s success has been huge—and particularly so now with the acquisition by Align Technology—yet everyone is still so humble and grateful to be along for the ride.
You hit the nail right on the head. Our team continues to be led by people who are focused, hard-working, and who communicate well. Our goal was and remains to extend our open culture. I am happy that, even after joining with Align, our goal of developing open software solutions for our customers remains.

What do you enjoy most about working for exocad?
In my ten years with exocad, no two days have been the same. And I learn something new almost every day, whether it involves dentistry, a novel material or it might be as simple as meeting somebody with new and novel ideas about our software. I marvel at the things people come up with: our growth is truly driven by our employees and their interactions with our strategic partners and customers.

Also amazing is the way in which the digital dentistry and especially 3D printing have taken a huge leap forward in terms of development and acceptance amongst dental professionals. What does that mean for exocad?
Open architecture CAD software can adapt successfully to changes and enable new innovative dental workflows. For instance, 3D-printed crowns, we want to make it simple to use and get it to market quickly.

And what about keeping the balance between catering for both your existing customers, primarily dental technicians, and new customers like the general dentist?
We think about both customer categories. Using our modular and open approach, we provide the best experiences to our customers including flexibility and freedom.

Evidently, the digital era is upon us and is the way to go. What would you say to dental professionals who are sticking to analogue?
I understand why some dental professionals might be reluctant to transition to digital. Change can be uncomfortable, more so if your business and income are dependent on the smooth and efficient operations of your business. For instance, if you were trained under traditional ways and have practiced for years following those traditional processes, the reality of changing seems very daunting. However, the reality is that the transition does not need to be difficult and many dental professionals who have made it will tell you they will never go back because of the improved workflows and other benefits they see in their practices.

Our job is to make that transition as easy, intuitive and productive as possible and offer cutting-edge products. The greatest opportunities are opening up now, and it’s good to have a parent company like Align Technology on our side because of its focus on dentists and orthodontists.

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