Flying Along, Fixing Patients

First National helps neurosurgeon's new practice get off the ground

Dr. Marius Maxwell's lifetime travel log is filled with many seemingly exotic locales.

India. Australia. England. Italy. America.

Maxwell's really explored the world.

It's only fitting that the successful neurosurgeon is also an avid pilot and falconer, who said he always wanted to live and work in Alaska. So when the time came for Maxwell to spread his wings in the 49th state, he sought out the right financial institution to co-pilot his new adventure.

"First National Bank Alaska is the kind of local bank that is very nimble and offers unique solutions when it comes to our banking needs," Maxwell said. "We're thrilled with it. The people there answer your call and actually recognize us when we walk in the door.

"First National provides a much higher level of service than I've found elsewhere."

A Cambridge-, Oxford- and Harvard-trained physician, Maxwell is the founder and chief neurosurgeon at Arctic Spine, a new practice in Anchorage. The medical office opened late last year, and Maxwell is overwhelmed by the response so far.

"I pride myself in looking after my patients as if they were members of my own family," Maxwell said. "At Arctic Spine, we bring a real commitment to the individual. I'm going to meet with you. I'm going to listen to you. If you come and see me for help, I'll be the one looking after you."

More than 10,000 surgeries

Maxwell boasts three decades of neuroscience research experience two decades post-doctorate. He specializes in treating simple and complex spine conditions such as bulging, collapsed or degenerative discs, sciatica, failed back surgeries, arthritis of the spine and lumbar spinal stenosis.

Unique and holistic, Maxwell's approach incorporates minimally invasive and innovative procedures. He's successfully performed more than 10,000 surgeries and is Board Certified with theAmerican Board of Neurological Surgeons. Heis the Board of Medicine for the State of Alaska's sole expert reviewing neurosurgeon.

A pilot trapped in doctor's body

A devoted animal lover and master falconer, Maxwell is also a former tactical jet fighter pilot. He demonstrated his MiG 17F and P51D Mustang aircraft for years in the Lower 48, and the walls of his Anchorage office are adorned with portraits of numerous aircraft.

"For many years, I was a pilot trapped in a doctor's body," Maxwell said. "But I finally sold my fighter aircraft and woke up to my role I hold in society as a neurosurgeon.

"Now, just like the good folks at First National, taking care of Alaskans is all I do and it's what I do best."

Maxwell opened Arctic Spine because he saw a gap in the market for a dedicated spine center that serves the patients' interests first.

"Practicing neurosurgery is like flying supersonic jet fighters to the edge of their performance envelope," he said. "There is no room for error. Most of my patients suffer chronic neck or back pain and require specialized care."

A customer service-minded approach

Maxwell's experience has led him to believe that surgery should be a last intervention.

Over time, Maxwell realized a more measured, customer service-minded approach works best for everyone involved.

"It's very important for us to offer same-day service," he said. "If you call us with a problem, there is no reason you should have to wait four to eight weeks. If you wish to be seen today or the next day, we're going to make that happen."

While working in completely different industries, Maxwell said he'll gladly compare the way he runs his practice to what he's personally experienced in his time banking with First National.

Arctic Spine relies on the bank's cash management tools and credit card processing merchant service. Maxwell has met with local experts Vice President Melissa Reiser, Personal Banker Rachel Carlson and others. They understand the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Alaska, and are there to help day in, day out.

"Like the bank, I want neurosurgery to be more customer oriented," Maxwell said. "Or in my case, patient oriented. I'm going to make myself available to whomever walks in my clinic much the same way First National does when I walk into the branch."

To learn more about Maxwell and Arctic Spine, visit or call 907-222-6500.

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