Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
Rick is often seen as an optimist, always looking for the best outcome to any challenge. In his view, there isn’t a problem that can’t be solved. He believes that keeping a vision of the future can help one understand the needs of today. Rick believes that you can overcome any challenge by planning for success every day.
Rick enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and wears them out by trying to make every day count. As often as he can, he reminds them every day to “make good choices.”
Church has been a big part of Rick’s life. Participating in small group Bible studies continue to develop a sense of purpose for his home, career, and community. His faith leads him to look into the purpose of every encounter.
As an instrument-rated private pilot Rick’s enthusiasm for aviation gives him a diversion and a place for quiet thinking. He also enjoys cycling to maintain both mental and physical heath.
He began his career in the eye care business while studying accounting and management at Marshall University. As a student he worked part-time as a dispensing optician and eventually assumed the management role of a corporation that operated a wholesale lab and small chain of franchise optical retail stores. His career led him to the private sector of optometry where he quickly learned the need for strong business leadership. Rick founded Professional Vision Group in 1989 to answer the need of business leadership and marketing resources for private practice eye care practitioners.
To better help position private practices in the eye care market, Rick enjoys involvement with industry leaders. He enjoys reading books about servant leadership by various authors to keep his mind on new ideas and the true purpose of business leadership.
Rick passion is helping others realize the potential that they have and help them plan the path to make their dreams come true.
Often accused of being a perfectionist, Chris is fanatical about quality. Creative and determined, it’s not unusual to see him pacing the floor or staring out the window as he contemplates an idea or inspiration. Chris subscribes to the adage “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” so he spends countless hours watching history shows and documentaries.
Chris loves to get on the nerves of his wife and two daughters by asking the question “what do you think?” and “what is your goal for today?” They keep him around however because he is a pretty good cook.
Chris is rejuvenated by lending his talents and time to service in his church. Some of his best friends and deepest inspirations come from his work there. Leading a Bible study class for young adults has proven to be one of his greatest challenges and very well may get him kicked out.
An obsession for craft beer keeps helps him maintain his roundish figure and occasionally he will attend yoga class at the Y or ride the over-priced exercise bike he got for Christmas.
Chris graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Journalism – Public Relations because he simply couldn’t stay in school any longer. As president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, he did everything he could to hone his social skills while ignoring the demands of the classroom. A brief stint in the Air National Guard helped pay for his college as well as provide a little gas and beer money.
He sharpens the saw with online marketing courses from the Kellogg Executive Education program at Northwestern as well great free stuff from Google, Facebook, MailChimp, and Hootsuite.
In addition to some of the marketing projects, you are likely to deal with Chris if your practice needs a valuation, you are engaging in the Get Discovered program, or you are buying, selling, or merging a practice.
Chris joined PVG in 1992. He deeply believes in the entrepreneurial spirit and it pains him to see small businesses get out-flanked by big corporations and chains. He has dedicated his entire life to helping make dreams come true.
“I believe the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in primary eye care today,” he said. “I have met some fantastic young, new practitioners with an outstanding vision.”
Dedicated, loyal, and passionate about learning, Rene joined the PVG team in 1993.
“We were all young then,” Rene recalls. “Time has flown by. I value the hard work, optimism, and entrepreneurial environment at PVG. I am fortunate to work where I can see the significance that we add to our clients daily. We all care deeply about what we do.”
Her friends and family describe her as easy going, a good listener, and a banana walnut pancake maker extraordinaire. Her coworkers describe her as the “rock” of the organization – steady, dependable, and strong.
Curious by nature, she recently tried her hand at golf and is enjoying it. She loves to explore nature and you will find her most weekend on hiking trails with her dogs. She would love to someday live in the country – tending to gardens and farm animals.
Rene uses her extensive education and work experience to run the world headquarters of Professional Vision Group. Rene coordinates the administrative support of clients and consultants, accounts receivable, HR, IT, scheduling, and more.
Bob began his journey to PVG many years ago as a delivery person for a wholesale optical lab in Raleigh, NC. After converting to the retail side of eye care, he became a NC licensed optician in 1985. After mastering the optical side (our words,) Bob spread his wings and ventured into eyewear and lens sales and has worked (his words) for International Eyewear, Luxottica, Marchon, Essilor, Charmant and Zeiss labs. He has experienced wholesale labs, private and retail optical, managerial and recruiting positions. While it may sound like he had difficulty maintaining employment, in reality, he was simply honing his skills for PVG and, frankly, he is old. But spry.
Having been involved in several successful start-ups, Bob finds the challenges of marketing, staffing and training to be the most rewarding aspect of his career. The relationships he has formed with clients and staff are treasured and rewarding. He thrives on seeing the practice ultimately succeed in providing a unique and special bond with every patient while providing the best possible experience for them.
Bob believes that attitude and presentation add up to improved communication for doctors, staff and patients. His favorite saying, stolen borrowed from Rick is “No one knows how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Having absolutely no interests other than his wife and two boys, Bob is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is one of the few people that answers his phone on nights and weekends. He does sleep occasionally, albeit fitfully.
Bob believes that everyone has a superpower. His is producing kidney stones.
Josue Esquivel has been working in the eye care industry since 2004. He worked in the trenches the first six years of his career fine tuning his skills in needs-based selling, assisting, and lab finishing. This experience gave him the necessary foundation to successfully operate as Optical Director in a leading private practice where he managed five offices.
Josue plays a major role in helping privately-owned practices succeed. Through his commitment to their businesses, he has helped practice owners improve quality of care, increase revenue, and grow their business.
A self-described influencer, Josue is committed to positively motivating staff to run a more successful practice. He continues to fine tune his skills by studying the teachings of John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Warren Buffet, and more.
As a child, Josue often had to find a way to make a dollar. “In school, I was that annoying kid that was always trying to sell you a chocolate bar or knocking on your door to cut your grass or pull the weeds,” he said. This pattern became embedded in him and is now what energizes him to be a Stock Trader and Real Estate Professional in his spare time.
His new position in life provides him the financial fuel to feed his passion, which is to help children in need. If you can’t get in touch with him, he’s probably climbing the mountains of Nicaragua with his wife Nelly on their way to deliver clothing, Bibles, and basic necessities to children that don’t have running water, electricity, or often even a place to live.
Don’s passion for sales and organization started at a very young age. As a kid he was encouraged by his father to develop a route selling end of day baked goods from the family’s bakery. It was until many years later that he realized how this actually helped form his customer service, sales, and organizational skills.
Don’s interest in the optical world initially came from his optometrist uncle who help initiate him to the profession. He formed a wholesale optical lab business serving his uncle and other local private practice optometrists. The lab grew over 20 years to over $1 million in annual sales and was sold to Homer Optical in 1998.
With the help of a very understanding wife, his ability to balance a growing family of two daughters and one son, a business, and a love of sports allowed him to become the man he is today.
An accomplished baseball player, Don played for Stetson University and was named to the county’s baseball hall of fame. He coached high school boys volleyball for 25 years, all the time grooming and developing his leadership skills and commitment to excellence.
Don’s passion for the industry has been a lifelong commitment including volunteer board positions at both Foresight Vision and Vision Corps who serve the visually impaired and their families.
“Don may not be the first one to jump in and say something,” according to Chris Morris, vice-president of Professional Vision Group. “But when he does you need to listen. He is always insightful and wise.”
Don received an associate’s degree in Ophthalmic Science from York College of PA with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He worked as a dispensing Optician in both private practice and retail.
Don’s 30 years of optical experience as a dispenser, owner, sales consultant or manager, hasn’t softened his passion for the optical industry. He is driven by his relationships and the success of others and is eager to face new challenges every day.
Rebecca has a passion for creativity and is always involved in some type of home improvement project. Many houses have garnered a fresh new look to their existing bone structures thanks to her and her husband’s ingenuity and hands on hard work. Unfortunately for her husband, she likes to add and change designs in the projects as they are working on them.
Having worked and managed both corporate and private practices, her experience has forged a passion for private eye care practice. She is always thinking of new ideas and ways to help private practice grow. Her goal is for team members to learn something new during every on-site visit. Her skillset and background with training and development helps to bring out their full potential.
Rebecca loves talking to and meeting new people and isn’t afraid to speak to anyone. “I think it comes from my background,” she said. “Both of my parents were teachers and I grew up around learning games and speech contests.”
Majoring in Mass Communication in college she had her own radio program three nights a week. If asked she can quickly switch into her on-air personality, aka “D.J.”
She feels that her love for scenic photography has kept her open to new ideas and perspectives within the eye care industry and life in general. “I’m often asked why I take many pictures of the same thing. Lighting, temperature, and time of day can change the look of anything. It is all a matter of changing perspectives.”
Having endured the loss of her son she has taken this tragedy and became an advocate for mental health, suicide awareness, and prevention. She currently lectures and mentors to groups and individuals on this very personal topic.
Rebecca’s philosophy is “Your smile is your LOGO, your PERSONALITY is your BUSINESS CARD, and how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your TRADEMARK.”
Although she was born in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Laura Pittman moved to Georgia at the age of two and considers herself a Georgia peach. She is well versed in all things Georgia and enjoys cheering on her favorite sports teams – the Braves and the Falcons. You can’t say she’s a fair-weather fan!
Laura began her career in private practice eye care when she was just a teen. After a visit to the local eye doctor she saw an associate cleaning optical frames and thought “I could do that.” With her foot in the door she quickly went from pulling paper charts (yes it was that long ago) to managing the front desk and billing department.
Laura completed the Office Manager certification from the University of Houston and continued growing her knowledge of the field. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Kennesaw State University while raising her son and managing a successful private eye care practice outside of Atlanta.
Laura has experience in every aspect of an optometric practice. Her friends and family often mistake her for the eye doctor. Luckily for them, her younger brother is currently a student at UAB Optometry and will be able to answer their “pink eye” questions soon.
Laura’s love and respect for eye care stems from her family history. Her father was diagnosed with nystagmus at a young age yet was not able to be fully corrected until he visited a private eye care practice in Georgia as an adult. This visit changed her father’s life. Laura did not fully appreciate the magnitude of her father’s visual correction until she was older and experienced a need for visual correction herself. She is a personal advocate of annual eye health and vision exams and never misses an opportunity to preach it.
Laura brought her knowledge and experience to the PVG team just six months after marrying her soul mate.
“I believe I was meant to be in this field,” Laura said. “All of my experiences, both personal and professional, have prepared me to help private practice thrive.”
“The EYES have it” could easily sum up Keith’s focus through the years. Being taught at an early age that “the way you practice is the way you play” is the standard he lives by and that keeps him developing his craft day after day. His desire to deliver the best in quality, service, and care are the criteria he offers every day in his encounters with others.
Keith loves spending time with his wife of more than 38 years and enjoying the simple things in life, especially their three sons and their families, building memories that will endure the years as examples to others. If there is any time left you may find him gardening, hunting, watching sports events, or even on the golf course trying to keep an eye on the ball but all too often yelling “FORE” for the sake of others.
Keith grew up watching his father who is a licensed optician. He decided at 16 that a career in the optical business was a great way to enhance the lives of others by providing vision solutions. He worked part time while studying opticianry in high school. After graduating from Milton High School, he entered the optical field as a lab technician at a full-service optical department owned by a group of Ophthalmologists in Charleston, WV.
The knowledge, education, and certification he obtained there paved the path for career growth in management with Walmart Vision Centers and then into outside sales with Safilo, Marchon, Tura, and Hoya.
When a position with PVG became available in the Tri-State area Keith’s name was the only one that came up. He had forged a reputation for hard work, fairness, and honesty. The new role gave him the opportunity to use his business experience in management, finance, human resources, negotiations, people development, sales training, service, and quality control.
“Keith has the desire and drive to be the best at whatever he does,” according to Rick Omohundro, president of Professional Vision Group.
His lifetime vision has always been to help others see clearly. Now he can help private eye care practitioners see their visions more clearly, too.
Annie Lewis Grubbs
Annie is not one to leave a project unfinished. She is borderline obsessive about finishing what she started. One of her favorite things to do is to make a list, just to be able to mark things off that list. (She has a feeling that her husband doesn’t feel the same way about her lists.)
Annie resides outside of Richmond and lives with her husband, three children, Pomeranian dog, and four silkie chickens. (She recommends that if you aren’t familiar with silkies, do yourself a favor and look them up.) She loves the sound of her rooster crowing in the morning and collecting eggs for the day.
She spends her free days being a referee to her three small children and watching non-stop Mickey Mouse on TV with her youngest. She also has a passion for competitive swimming. She grew up swimming year-round, and assists with coaching at the local high school. She loves watching her two older children swim competitively, as well.
Annie has a strong faith and believes God works all things for good. She has been on multiple international eye care mission trips. Her most recent was to Antigua in August 2019. Her team saw over 4,000 patients in just four days.
“I’m humbled every time I go on one of those trips,” she said. “The people are so grateful and it reminds me why I love what I do. Good eye care is important to everyone.”
Annie Grubbs has been in the eye care business her entire professional career. Her first “real” job, while still in college, was as an eyewear consultant for Sears Optical in her teenage years.
As a licensed optician in the state of Virginia, Annie has worked mostly as a dispensing optician in private practice. She managed her fill-in optical dispensing business for more than eight years.
She was an adjunct instructor in the Opticianry department at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College where she graduated in 2003. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences with a minor in management from Old Dominion University.
Annie has been an active member of the Opticians Association of Virginia for over 18 years and has also served on the board as Secretary.
Using her knowledge and experience, Annie is eager to lend a fresh, new perspective to your practice.
“I will never forget what a colleague once told me,” she said. “Pick a subject. Any subject and become an expert on it. If you know it inside and out, it will become your passion.”