By the Baluke Dental Studios team
Duane Baluke is a second-generation* dental technologist whose father co-founded Shaw Dental Laboratory, at one time the largest laboratory in Canada. After his father passed and the laboratory changed hands, Duane and his brother Walter (aka “Skip”) opened Baltor Dental Laboratory, which eventually evolved into Baluke Dental Studios.
Now 71, Duane still has no plans of slowing down or retiring; he loves his job that much. He vacations in Florida for a couple of months each year but we always hear from him a few days after his departure, telling us he’s ready to come back.
In fact, he’s actively involved in everything at the lab. For example, if there’s a case that involves more than three departments, we’ll meet for a roundtable discussion. These meetings sometimes go on for hours, but Duane is always there, troubleshooting with us, eager to see every stage of the case to be sure the patient is getting the best options available.
He takes a hands-on approach to training so when a technician is having a problem, Duane sits at the bench to show him how to fix the issue. He knows that showing, not just telling, is the best way to teach and provide a thorough understanding of the solution.
Duane always says the lab is an entity: it’s a moving, breathing, living thing and the people who work here are what keeps it alive. That sentiment is evident in everything he does.
He makes a point each morning to say hello to every one of us and pays attention to what’s going on in our lives. He feels a responsibility not only towards us as his employees, but to our families, too. And that passion and sincerity inspires everyone here; we see how much he cares and it makes us care just as much.
*Following in his footsteps, Duane’s daughter, Brittany, and son, Tyler, are both team members at Baluke Dental Studios; Tyler works in the removable department and Brittany just completed a three-year dental technology program at George Brown College.