“I can honestly say that because of my job here at Ultradent, I have friends all over the world,” says Bonnie Chatwin, Ultradent’s international sales assistant who oversees all of Europe, Russia, Israel, and Canada. Bonnie plans to retire later this year after an incredible 26-year career.
Ultradent counted Bonnie Chatwin as its 45th hire in February of 1988 when she came on part-time to help with some extra office work and filing. As her role grew, she began working in the international department about six months later and has been there ever since. She says she appreciates the opportunity she’s had to really make the role her own. “I’m so grateful that I’ve been allowed to grow into my job, and that the company has given me the trust to make decisions in that role, and to flourish in what I’m doing,” she says.
Today, Ultradent employs over 1,100 people, and Bonnie attributes the company’s growth to the quality of our products. “We simply have products that dentists can’t get anywhere else. They’re basically the best. I can’t tell you how many dentists used to come up to me when I was still doing trade shows and say ‘Do you have any idea how great these products are? I couldn’t live without them!’”
As for her job, Bonnie cherishes the relationships she’s been able to cultivate with the people she’s worked with over the years. “In fact, just yesterday,” she remembers with a smile, “our distributor in Sweden called and said, ‘I’m going to need your personal phone number, address, and personal email because I would like to keep in touch after you retire!’” She continues, “Our distributor in Switzerland always emails me photos of their crazy weather, or her cute new shoes, or of the fabulous airshow they had there this morning. It’s those personal experiences I will miss.”
In addition to the friendships, Bonnie’s absolute favorite thing about her job, she says, “is being able to make a difference for these international distributors on a daily basis. They’ll often email me, saying they need something right away. I love when I’m able to get it in the mail to them that same day. There’s a satisfaction in knowing I make a difference that I really enjoy.”
As for Dr. Fischer, Bonnie says, “he hasn’t just been my boss, he’s been my friend—in fact—I consider him family. My husband also worked here for ten years—and we’ve always considered each other family more than anything.”
Looking back, the years hold many fond memories, but also a lot of funny ones too. “Erwin used to be a HUGE practical joker. When I first started, he put some kind of screen saver on my computer that made it look like the letters were falling into a huge pile at the bottom of the screen. At the time, I knew very little about computers, so it scared me half to death!” she laughs. “He was a huge practical joker—always putting rubber mice under people’s desks or silly stringing the new guy’s cubicle.”
As for the future, Bonnie looks forward to spending a lot of time out on the lake with her seven grandchildren and to scrapbooking years of photos and memories in a workspace her husband is building for her. “I’ve been so busy here for the last 26 years, it will be good to tackle some new projects and catch up with my family; although, I’m sure I’ll miss it. I know I’ll miss Ultradent.”