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OCBJ INSIDER

The coronavirus has devastated the dental industry, which in OC includes a large hub of device makers, dental support organizations and other related businesses that have suffered as offices across the country have temporarily closed.

For Jim Glidewell, president and CEO of Newport Beach’s dental implant maker Glidewell Dental, managing company operations during a pandemic wasn’t the biggest COVID-19 problem he faced.

“When I walked into the hospital on March 23, I weighed 230 pounds. Twelve days later, leaving in a wheelchair, I weighed 203 pounds,” Glidewell said in a letter detailing his recent health scare.

“I couldn’t walk and could scarcely talk. The intubation left me depressed, and the drugs administered left me confused.” For a while he was certain he “wasn’t going to make it.”

Glidewell’s account—the first such reported instance of a higher level exec here being hospitalized because of the coronavirus—was published last week in the company’s Chairside Magazine, which is sent to dentists and other partners of the company, one of OC’s top five medical device makers by employee count.

The latest issue of the magazine focuses on how the dental industry can recover from the COVID downturn, using teledentistry and other measures.

Glidewell, who the Business Journal estimates to have a fortune near $500 million, noted that he “was fortunate to be included in a clinical trial for remdesivir,” a drug that he believes helped him recover.

He believes the combination of virus and treatment has left him with a permanent decrease in vital lung capacity—“probably 10% or more.”

“But I can live with that. It’s a fair price to still be here, watching over my family and company.”

He says he has no plans to retire, especially with everything going on in the industry. “I feel I owe it to dentists and patients everywhere to see them through.”

Bill Foley is back—investing in OC. See our front-page coverage on CoreLogic, which just got an unsolicited bid from the owner of the Vegas Golden Knights and other business ventures.

Roth Capital’s Byron Roth has known Foley for decades; Foley once had a stake in predecessor company Cruttenden Roth; see page 9 for more.

“I wouldn’t bet against Bill on anything,” said Roth, who is also on an acquisition push himself. He’s chairman and CEO of Roth CH Acquisition I Co., a blank-check firm that raised more than $75M in May and is now on the lookout for deals.

“We’re out hunting,” Roth told our Peter J. Brennan. “There’s some unbelievable activity. It’s fun, but time consuming. It’s another task on my plate.”

Foley’s hockey team plays at the T-Mobile Arena just off the Las Vegas Strip; the 4-year-old arena’s next-gen wireless connectivity systems were installed by Newport Beach’s Mobilitie.

Closer to home, Gary Jabara’s Mobilitie just got another big sporting account: It’ll install the 5G network at the Staples Center and LA Live sports and entertainment areas of Los Angeles, the Business Journal has learned.

“We’ll invest tens of millions of dollars into the network,” CEO and President Christos Karmis tells our Kevin Costelloe; see our July 13 print edition for more.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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