Chief Executive Officer
In the four years of Chief Executive Officer Gordon Towell’s leadership has made National Dental Care the fastest-growing healthcare group in Australia. Gordon has driven growth through both acquisitions and greenfields sites, and solid strategic investment in technology at all levels has revolutionised patient interaction and demand.
Gordon has a broad range of business experience in both executive and non-executive roles in blue-chip companies with 11 years in dental healthcare and senior roles IT. He specialises in managing fast-growth healthcare service companies, global business development, mergers and acquisitions and stock market flotations. Gordon’s relevant recent board experience has provided in-depth understanding of the challenges and complexities of healthcare organisations.
Gordon has strong interpersonal and leadership skills which underpin the rapid growth and development of the group.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer Mark Fisher manages finance, information technology, procurement, acquisitions, settlement, legal and facilities for National Dental Care. Mark leads strategic planning for future development with input from both the commercial and management sides of the business.
Mark has two decades of experience in international finance and capital markets in Australia and London. He was senior director at Credit Suisse in Australia, advising on strategic reviews and capital management on over $50 billion of successful transactions. In UBS in London he had oversight of healthcare franchises in France, Germany and Switzerland. He moved to Australia with KPMG in 2011.
Mark has collaborative relationships with the executive and management teams; and is accessible to all staff on operational matters. He sees management and executive roles as support and connectivity for the much-larger practice side of the business, which provides revenue generation.
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Operating Officer Derek Shearer is well known and admired for his collaborative skills which built his executive career in multinational companies. His success in growing businesses with outstanding commercial results in the healthcare, hospitality and retail spheres has come through his ability to create and deliver effective strategic plans for business transformation.
Derek has developed National Dental Care’s strategic direction for Australia-wide growth in top-flight dental practices, with ongoing excellence in clinician training, cutting-edge technology and a high level of patient care. His ability to collaborate at all levels of the organisation creates unique, customised best-practice systems and policies. These are patient-care focused and scalable for further growth.
Derek is also a well-regarded mentor and coach who demonstrates leadership in complex and dynamic environments, building his teams along with the business.
Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Manager Dan Drummond built the highly-secure online dental management systems which have taken National Dental Care from its single-entity start five years, ago to an organisation of more than 60 fully-networked and fully-supported practices. National Dental Care is the only dental organisation which has completely networked practices across Australia, thanks to early investment in custom-building systems for growth and longevity.
Prior to this Dan had ownership of the IT systems in a mining analytics company which experience rapid growth, going from three sites to 155 sites internationally, over 13 years. He also has a broad range of IT experience in legal, educational and healthcare organisations, plus security and hosting work.
Dan enjoys bringing in new employees and mentoring their career development in the IT team responsible for the national network.
Financial Controller Jason Gent loves technical analysis and problem-solving. These passions have driven his rapid career development from auditing at KPMG through to becoming a chartered accountant; then moving into business analysis for complex global corporations in diverse sectors.
Jason joined National Dental Care at the beginning, and in five years has created the customised systems needed for a new business model in the dental industry. His specialist skills and experience have been important in taking dental healthcare from individual businesses to a consistently top-quality, corporate network.
Jason’s passion from the start has been in creating scalable processes and workflows so that growth is efficient and self-sustaining. As National Dental Care is the fastest-growing dental group in the country, this work has enabled growth in the income-producing practice network without requiring major support growth.
DB Dental Executive Manager
Alisha Garrod became Executive Manager of DB Dental group following a 20-year career from dental assistant through administration and practice management. She has had a passion for health and patient care since working as a dental assistant at high school.
Although Alisha originally planned to train in dentistry, she developed a strong interest in the business side of dental practices. She has worked at all levels of administration and management, giving her a complete understanding of staff experiences and challenges.
Over her career Alisha has seen the improvements new technology brings to treatments, along with an increased emphasis on quality customer service and patient care. She is excited by the growth opportunities offered since DB Dental became part of National Dental Care’s operations in Western Australia and is studying for Bachelor of Business, majoring in Law.
DB Dental Operations Manager
Nikki Cox has a passion for health care and health administration which has taken her to Operations Manager of DB Dental. She has a wide range of experience, skills, and training in the industry, essential to her role in overseeing National Dental Care’s Western Australian operations.
In Nikki’s seven years as Operations Manager, she has supervised the development of the business, with her earlier hands-on roles giving her great insight into all aspects of the industry. DB Dental is now poised for further growth across the state, underpinned by National Dental Care’s commitment to clinical excellence.
Nikki’s career began in dental nursing and moved to nursing training and then into practice management after she began a family. Her flexibility in developing her skills and changing roles has given her an understanding of employee needs to attract and retain staff.
Human Resources Manager
Human Resources Manager Steve Ralphs leads the workforce development of Australia’s fastest growing dental group, National Dental Care. The HR focus is to not only find skilled dental and admin-support staff, but to train, promote and retain staff to grow and develop with the organisation as its biggest asset. Ongoing training and clinical improvement is a key focus for National Dental Care in providing consistently superior dental services.
Steve’s previous role in taking a startup healthcare organisation to 3500 employees across 250 sites in a decade provides essential experience to support National Dental Care’s rapid growth. He has worked globally and values the opportunities diversity brings.
Steve has also created a mentoring program to encourage leadership; he enjoys helping people to develop motivation, resilience and emotional awareness with strategic support systems to assist in people-skills’ growth.
National Learning and Development Manager
As National Learning and Development Manager, Adriana Santibanez leads the staff learning and development strategy she created, which guides organisation-wide training and ensures every patient receives the same excellence in customer service and clinical treatment.
Previously Adriana developed and managed a training department for a large-scale dental organisation. This experience underpins her ability to create bespoke training structures for organisational growth. Adriana’s original work as a teacher and university lecturer in Argentina gives her a deep understanding of successful learning and training environments.
In her early days in Australia, Adriana worked her way up from assisting in an orthodontist’s practice while learning English, to managing practices, to executive roles in healthcare organisations. She now combines her passion for teaching and her experience at all levels of dental and healthcare organisations to further National Dental Care’s staff development.
Dr Antony Benedetto
Chairman & Dentist, National Dental Care Erina, NSW
Clinical Oversight Committee Chair Dr Antony Benedetto guides the committee as they regularly share advice on patient need and clinical direction to National Dental Care’s executive team. Antony, a lead dentist at National Dental Care Erina, believes the COC provides vital clinician input to senior management as well as reassurance to dentists that patient outcomes are at the forefront of organisational planning.
Antony obtained a Bachelor of Medical Science and a Bachelor of Dentistry from the University of Sydney and undertook further studies with an implant course in Cambodia and an exchange program in Japan. He has practiced as a dentist for the past decade in Tamworth, Taree and the Central Coast. He has also completed many Continuing Professional Development courses, with a particular interest in CAD/CAM digital dentistry.
Antony enjoys helping people and finds solving their dental problems very satisfying. He performs a wide range of dental treatments, which means patients can have most of their concerns addressed in-house.
Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer, Gordon is responsible for setting the companies vision and overall direction, and leading his executive team to implement the National Dental Care strategic plan to ensure the best possible outcomes both for our partnered practices and patients.
With over 30 years’ experience in the health, technology, and media sectors, Gordon has built up a broad range of business experience. Prior to his role at National Dental Care, Gordon has held both executive and non-executive roles with “blue chip” companies including; Director – Strategy, Marketing and Operations of Dental Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bupa; Non-Executive Chairman of AIMEDICS – developer and manufacturer of Type 1 diabetes nocturnal hypoglycaemia monitoring devices; CEO of IBS Automotive – global leader in automotive software systems; Non-Executive Chairman of Dynamic Hearing Pty Ltd; Non-Executive Director of Netregistry, Australia’s largest provider of domain names; Group CEO of the GEON Group – a leading print and mail communications business in NZ and Australia; Managing Director of Granada Business Technology, a subsidiary of the Granada Group PLC; and Managing Director of the Compel Group PLC.
Dr Henry Gilkes
Lead Dentist, National Dental Care West Lakes Dental, SA
COC South Australian representative Dr Henry Gilkes is the lead dentist at National Dental Care West Lakes Dental and has managed the practice since 1989. Henry joined the COC in early 2017 and believes it’s an important community – a clinically-driven conduit for experienced clinicians to share insights as well as an important way to disseminate organisational information back to practices.
Henry has previously worked in his own practice and in the UK. He is skilled in all aspects of general dental care and has special interests in oral surgery and implantology. He holds memberships with many dental societies and study groups and enjoys being able to mentor younger dentists.
Henry also lead the NDC to participation in the Adopt a Patient program, where dentists help an individual patient within their normal working week. The ADHF sources deserving patients and help with the provision of laboratory services at no cost. NDC encourages this pro bono work and covers expenses including dental assistants and consumables.
Dr Nick Morton
Clinical Director, DB Dental, WA
COC Western Australia representative Dr Nick Morton is Clinical Director for DB Dental and advises on clinical issues within the 18-strong group of practices in Western Australia. Nick values the COC for the opportunity for experienced dentists to share knowledge and offer direction to the executive on clinical matters.
Nick qualified from King’s College, London in 1990. He spent 23 years practicing in private practice in the UK. During that period he spent a great deal of time enhancing his skills in all aspects of dentistry to provide his patients with a fully comprehensive dental service.
His particular interests are dental implants, adult orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and the use of lasers in dentistry. He moved to Australia in 2013 to join DB dental and enjoys mentoring dentists learning new techniques.
Dr Nasr Bachawaty
Lead Dentist, Elite Dental, VIC
COC Victorian representative Dr Nasr Bachawaty is lead dentist at National Dental Care Keilor Elite Dental. He has managed that practice since 2009 and has practiced dentistry for 20 years. Nasr became the Victorian COC representative early in 2018, to speak for the growing number of National Dental Care practices in the state. Nasr sees the COC’s role as vital to create balance, bringing the clinician’s perspective on the human side of operations to the executive team.
Nasr trained at the University of St Joseph in Lebanon and graduated with a Bachelor of Oral Surgery. Since then he has worked in his own clinic and managed private sector clinics in Lebanon and Australia. He has worked in all areas of dentistry and likes making people look good, feel good and stay good with good oral-hygiene habits.
Nasr particularly enjoys aesthetic and restorative dentistry for its ability to give people back their confidence, with procedures like full-mouth restorations.
Dr Jillian Fisher
Lead Dentist, National Dental Care Chermside, QLD
COC Queensland representative, Dr Jillian Fisher, is lead dentist at National Dental Care Chemside. She has worked at Chermside for the past two years and prior to that at Brisbane’s Post Office Square practice for three years. Jillian believes it is an honour to have a voice in the COC, which considers all perspectives and encourages robust discussion. Jillian is proud to bring the views of her Queensland cohort to the group and the executive team.
Jillian’s parents are dentists and she was a part-time dental assistant at 14, then a hygienist and therapist. She graduated from Griffith University in 2012 with first class honours and worked for an orthodontist and a prosthodontist in her first two years out.
Jillian is passionate about treating special-needs patients in the general anaesthetic theatre in the practice. She sees their personalised care with the same practitioner as vital for reducing anxiety associated with hospital admissions.
Dr Rod Wills
Lead Dentist, National Dental Care CBD Dental, NSW
COC NSW representative Dr Rod Wills is lead dentist at National Dental Care CBD Dental in Sydney. He began his practice here more than four decades ago and has a keen interest in aesthetic and restorative dentistry. Rod believes the COC is a great forum to bring different ideas together to create common goals. He also enjoys the opportunity to mentor younger dentists and share his experience.
Rod has long been involved with technological developments in dentistry and was one of the early adopters in Australia using CAD/CAM technology two decades ago. From high school days he has been passionate about both biology and mechanics; dentistry combines his twin interests.
Rod has studied aesthetic rehabilitation in Italy in recent years and has completed many post-graduate studies and professional development courses. He also enjoys the social side of dentistry; building long-lasting relationships with his staff and patients.
Dr Nathan Pitchforth
Dentist, DB Dental Innaloo, WA
Clinical Oversight Committee representative and Lead Dentist, Dr Nathan Pitchforth, brings 27 years of dentistry experience and training to DB Dental, the Western Australian arm of National Dental Care. Nathan has a track-record in building up practices, both here and in the UK, where he worked until four years ago.
Nathan enjoys general-practice dentistry and has built expertise and skills through regular post-graduate training as well as a decade of voluntary hospital work, where he gained experience in issues not usually seen in dental practices. He has particular expertise in building the confidence of very anxious patients, so they can get the dental care they need.
Nathan values being a member of the COC for the opportunity to share and learn from each member’s areas of dental expertise; as well as to review new technologies and advise on clinical direction. He also enjoys mentoring and facilitating groups of younger dentists to build skills.
We are now one of the largest providers of dental services in Australia, with year-on-year growth since our inception in 2013. We have developed and refined a unique model of patient-focused healthcare which provides both patients and dentists with a superior experience.