Michael Flinn, DDS has been part of the Redwood Falls community for the majority of his life.
Growing up the son of a family physician, Flinn was familiar with the health care world, but he did not follow in his father’s footsteps.
He became a dentist instead, and since 1975 he has been practicing in Redwood Falls.
As Flinn nears the time in his life when he starts thinking more about life outside of the office, he knows there is going to be a need for someone to fill in the gap he leaves.
In an effort to move toward that transition, Flinn brought in a new associate who is working in the Flinn office on Firewood Drive in Redwood Falls.
“I am not ready to quit,” said Flinn, adding he still loves what he does.
Yet, Flinn also realizes there is going to come a day when he is going to be ready.
So, he hired Travis Johnson.
Johnson, who grew up in Walker and earned his high school diploma in that community, began pursuit of his career on the Duluth campus of the U of M. He admitted dental school was not the plan from the very beginning, although something in health care was.
It was one year into his undergraduate studies when Johnson determined the world of teeth would be in his future.
“I had a great experience growing up,” Johnson said, adding he has a great relationship with the dentist who cared for his teeth back home.
A job shadow experience confirmed his plan, and Johnson qualified for dental school after three years at UMD.
Attending dental school in Minneapolis, Johnson, like his fellow classmates, had a decision to make before he finished his schooling.
What aspect of dentistry would he pursue? Would he specialize in a particular kind of dental work, or would he pursue the life of a general practice dentist.
“It was a tough decision for me,” said Johnson, who said he thought about everything from oral surgery to orthodontics.
Yet, in the end, he opted for the general practice path.
“I wanted something more hands-on,” he said. “The one thing I did not want to do was the same thing over and over every day.”
Johnson started in Redwood Falls June 5, and he said the chance to be in a small town was appealing, because living in a rural community is what he knows and likes.
“In a small town office you can be more personal than you can be if you work for a big corporate office,” said Johnson. “In small towns you see your patients at the grocery store and you know each other when you meet each other on the street.”
Page 2 of 2 - Johnson said he started looking for a place to work this past December, and through an uncle who works in Elk River Johnson was able to make a contact that led him to Mike Flinn.
“Mike came highly recommended and has a good reputation,” said Johnson, adding the opportunity to work alongside someone like him means learning from the kind of mentor he was hoping to have.
Before making his final decision, Johnson came to Redwood Falls and visited the local office.
After two days of watching Flinn work he was convinced this was where he was supposed to be.
“I am confident I am going to learn good dentistry from Mike,” said Johnson.
Flinn said things have started off very well as he is working with patients, and he feels confident Travis is going to be a good fit for Redwood Falls.