Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Spotlight: Dr. Minh Nguyen, Excelsior Orthodontics
Thank you to Dr. Minh Nguyen, owner and Orthodontist with Excelsior Orthodontics in Purcellville, for answering our questions! Learn more about the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Committee here.
Where were born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?
I was born in Arlington and raised in Sterling, VA right here in Loudoun County. But since graduating high school, I’ve been away and over 12 years of school at 4 different universities. I’m excited to return home and not have to worry about moving again in a few years. Loudoun County has been home nearly my entire life. My family has lived in the county since 1990 and we’ve seen the development of the county grow tremendously right in front of our eyes. I had a great upbringing in Loudoun and when I was looking for opportunities to start my career naturally I started looking close to my home first. I grew up with great school systems that prepared me for my academic career. I had safe neighborhoods where I met some of my best friends and continue our relationships to this day. Now that I’m done with any formal schooling, I’m excited to open my startup orthodontic business in Purcellville, VA, Excelsior! The community is wonderful, full of family owned small businesses, friendly people, and is the center of Western Loudoun County. My family and I look forward to next chapter of our lives.
When did you launch your first business and how did you get into your current line of work?
At this moment my business is not quite launched yet as we anticipate opening Excelsior Orthodontics in June located in Purcellville! Getting closer to launch creates a bag of mixed feelings from nervousness and excitement all at the same anticipating opening day. I got into my line of work as originally wanting to go to medical school in college, I shadowed my local dentist in Sterling and I was inspired to switch career directions. I didn’t want to be an orthodontist until late into dental school. I shadowed at a couple orthodontic offices right here in Loudoun County actually and they inspired me to pursue orthodontics as a very fulfilling career. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that influenced your career?
Absolutely, I’ll start with my own orthodontist Dr. Bao Vu in Falls Church, VA, who was actually a faculty member in the orthodontic department at Howard University where I went to dental school. Most of dental school I didn’t want to be an orthodontist but I remained close with him during my tenure. When I decided to be an orthodontist, he was excited for me. During residency and even to this day I continue to pick his brain on patient treatment as much as I can.
Dr. Ronnie Sparks in Charleston, WV is another mentor of mine. He was a part-time faculty member while I was in residency at WVU. Hands down one of the most influential orthodontists that formulated the majority of my philosophy in terms of patient care, orthodontic biomechanics, and even business management. The community of Charleston is in great hands. He’s one of the orthodontists that most people don’t know about but for those that do, know that he’s amazing. Despite us both being busy we manage to stay in touch when we can and catch up on life.
What is the best part of your job and why?
That’s a tough one. I enjoy the interaction with people and the relationships I develop. Helping patients of all ages from children, teenagers, and yes adults, come out of their shell as treatment progresses. A lot of them have the same reaction that I had after my braces came off, they start to smile a lot more, take more photos, and can’t imagine what life was like before orthodontic treatment. Not just the patients but I enjoy working with team members of the office. I believe in helping everyone around me fulfill their maximum potential in all aspects of their life including colleagues. When I work with orthodontic assistants, I tend to turn into teaching mode providing little tips and tricks no different than if I was a faculty member at a university.
What is it like owning/running a business in Loudoun?
I’m not entirely sure yet but I’ll find out soon enough. So far though, I’ve been dealing mostly with vendors from my construction, equipment vendors, and marketing teams. It’s a lot on my plate but I know I can control the brand I’m trying to build. I’m so fortunate enough to meet many other business owners who grew their businesses from nothing. It gives me faith that if I work hard, I can prepare myself for any opportunities to come.
What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?
The United States is the most diverse country to ever exist in all of mankind in the history of the world. Despite moving every 3-4 years after high school, I’m very fortunate to have lived in different environments in the mid atlantic. Even though I’ve lived in a variety of communities, there are so many cultures that I’m still learning about. To be recognized in the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce as a spotlight is quite an honor. Asian Heritage Month means an opportunity to share about my upbringing. Vietnamese Americans have not been in this country very long relative to other immigrants. Like a lot of my friends of Asian immigrant parents, I’m a first generation college graduate in my family. The sacrifices that my parents made to raise me is a debt that can never be repaid but I think just being the best version of myself is enough for them. They taught me at a young age about hard work, discipline, and the strong value in education. I feel so grateful for living in this country and the opportunities it has afforded me. I look forward to being a contributing member of the community.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family and fiance. The closet thing I have to a child is my dog Rocket. He’s full of energy and the biggest cuddler as a Jack Russell Terrier. I enjoy doing a variety of different workouts, from bodybuilding, to crossfit, and outdoor running. It’s a huge destresser where I can focus on improving my health. I got my fiance into superhero movies a lot and local comic cons. We try and keep up with the Marvel movies as they come out.