ROCHESTER HILLS, MI – After celebrating 23 years with Wright & Filippis, a regional powerhouse with multiple locations in Michigan and Northwest Ohio, Tim Hatt is of two minds.
On one hand, the 54-year-old director of HME and Legislative Affairs admits that optimism is in short supply these days across the industry. On the other hand, he can’t help but see continued opportunity.
“I have a broken heart over what is happening with competitive bidding,” says Hatt from Wright & Filippis headquarters in Rochester Hills, Mich. “And yet, the growth potential for the industry is still great. People need our products.”
This continuing need is one of the main reasons Hatt started with the company more than two decades ago. “I started in this business as a part time delivery technician delivering tanks in the middle of the night when old school concentrators would break down,” he remembers. “It paid my way through the University of Michigan, Dearborn. I graduated in 1983, and I elected to stay in the business on the advice of one of my professors because of HME’s strong demographic growth potential. We determined that the DME industry was going to grow somewhere between 7% to 15% per year until I was in my 70s.”
The business has become undeniably more difficult in recent years and Hatt and his colleagues rely partly on Medtrade to keep them engaged and inspired during tough times. “We attend both Medtrade Spring and Medtrade,” enthuses Hatt. “We feel it is imperative to attend to stay abreast of the different issues within the industry. We have access to the leadership of the major suppliers, and they are all there at those gatherings. Our itinerary is literally from 6:30 in the morning to 10:00 at night at the Medtrades.”
When he is not helping to run Wright & Filippis, Hatt prefers to be in the South Dakota wilderness hunting birds with his two trusty Weimaraners. “It’s about the dogs and being out walking in the field, and watching the dogs doing their thing,” he enthuses. “First they find them, and they point at the bird. If I’m on my game, I’ll shoot the bird and the dog takes over after that. We have done that pattern more than 100 times.”