Making smiles Northern Lights bright

Hu Family Dentistry builds advanced dentistry facilities with help from First National Bank Alaska

Dr. Jerry Hu’s professional life revolves around healthy smiles. So it is little wonder Hu’s smile shines so brightly when discussing his love for dentistry and his home state of Alaska.

“Practicing dentistry while raising my family in Alaska is very important to me,” Hu said. “I constantly remind myself of my roots here and the unique sense of community that exists.
“I’ve remained motivated by all the Alaskans who have told me what I’m doing matters.”

Hu grew up in Soldotna. Today, he practices in a high-tech facility there and in a new office in south Anchorage which opened less than a year ago. The state-of-the-art offices feature sophisticated Henry Schein equipment and a comforting feng shui design.

“Vibrant, clean, modern,” Hu said.“We made sure to design the clinic to be welcoming and easy to move around in.”

Hu’s long-time relationship with First National Bank Alaska, Senior Vice President Charlie Weimer and the bankers at the Soldotna Branch helped him make the necessary moves to grow and prosper.

“Charlie and First National have been instrumental in what we’ve accomplished,” Hu said.“We built a rapport early on and Charlie has really believed in me.”

“The opportunity to do anything”

Born in Taiwan, Hu’s family immigrated to the United States when he was a preschooler. After first
living in California, the Hus made their way to Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula.

“My parents wanted my brother and me to have a chance at the American dream, the opportunity to do anything,” Hu said. “They worked in the restaurant business and when the chance came for us to come to Alaska, we took the opportunity to build a future.”

Hu’s parents opened Soldotna’s Golden International restaurant in 1981. Today, Hu’s wife Sharon runs the business but still receives help from her mostly-retired in-laws.

Growing up in the Soldotna community, Hu found it easy to express himself and his passions through the arts. He participated in band and drama, which helped him grow comfortable in front of a crowd.

But it wasn’t until a junior high class took a field trip to a local dentist that Hu became hooked on his future profession.

“It was a career day sort of thing,” Hu said. “When the doctor told me dentistry has a little bit of everything, it’s architecture, it’s art, it’s science, I knew it was the field for me.

“Throw in helping to improve people’s lives and it only made more sense.”

Well studied, well educated

Hu’s healthy appetite for dentistry served him well as a student before and after he graduated high school in 1991. He earned numerous local, state and national scholarships on the way to being admitted to the University of Michigan’s prestigious dual- degree dental program known as the“Preferred Admissions Program.”The school’s dental program is considered by many as the best in the world.

By the time Hu turned 24, he earned his bachelor’s and doctorate. He returned to Alaska in 1998 and took over a well-known Soldotna practice. Since then, his well-crafted work in dental sleep medicine, cosmetic dentistryanddentalimplantshasresultedincredentialed memberships in many national and international dental academies and societies. In May 2017, he obtained his second board certification as a Diplomate with the American Sleep and Breathing Academy thus strengthening his expertise. He’s also spoken at national and international conferences.

“Doing so always takes me back to those days in drama class and performing in the band,” Hu said. “I’m so appreciative of everything my Alaska teachers taught me.”

“That kind of trust is hard to find”

Hu and his team redesigned his Soldotna practice in 2002 using the same feng shui principles reflecting nature, peace and tranquility he used when building the Anchorage practice.

“Whether in the waiting room or the dental chairs, we always want our patients to be comfortable,” he said.

Comfort lends itself to Hu and his working relationship with Weimer and First National. The bank helped Hu work with the Small Business Administration to find the exact kind of financing he desired in building the Anchorage practice.

“Charlie and the bank have always stuck by my side,” Hu said.“The team of bankers has acted as a sounding board for business decisions.

“That kind of trust is hard to find.”

In the short term, Hu expects to continue commuting between Soldotna and Anchorage, depending on the needs of his patients. He hopes to teach someday, maybe as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

No matter what the future holds, Hu’s smile and his successful relationship with First National aren’t going anywhere.

“My career has created opportunities for me to visit different parts of the world, but I’m always happiest when I fly back home to Alaska,”he said.“To be here, doing what I love with a fantastic bank like First National looking out for me is truly gratifying.”

Learn more about Hu Family Dentistry at smilesofalaska.com.