Business Profile | Dylan Bates

September 2015 View more

Dylan Bates, CEO of ATI Physical Therapy, for Naperville MagazineWhat do you attribute to your success?

The story starts with a great foundation. From clinic number one, we committed to creating a special atmosphere for our employees and patients. We have built a unique culture at ATI and we have been fortunate to attract 4,000 plus awesome professionals who take great care of our patients on a day-to-day basis. In regards to the brand, we are now the largest PT company under one brand in the industry, we chose to go with the one brand/one culture/one philosophy route a number of years ago. We felt there was an opportunity to truly build the five-star brand in the physical therapy industry. We work hard everyday to strengthen the ATI brand. We want the ATI brand to stand for the people’s choice award in the communities that we serve, the employer of choice, the choice among patients for the best in physical therapy, the choice among the physician and referral source community and the acquirer of choice for PT companies that are looking to sell their company or clinics. Additionally, we have made sizable investments in our leadership team and have built a proprietary IT infrastructure that is the backbone of pretty much everything we do at ATI.

With a growing number of physical therapy clinics available in the U.S., explain what’s behind the ATI philosophy that makes it unique.

The public is becoming more and more aware of the benefits of physical therapy. Additionally, with the aging population, the demand for physical therapy will continue to increase significantly over the next 5 to 10 years. At ATI, we stress the importance of being the bright spot in every patient’s day. Although our patients are often in pain, we create a positive, upbeat, and caring atmosphere for them to recover. We use the phrase, ‘roll out the red carpet’ with our employees to ensure that they take special care of all of our patients on a day-to-day basis. We take pride in hiring great people. We invest in beautiful clinics and deliver consistent clinical excellence across all 450 plus locations.

ATI has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the Chicago area. What makes ATI such a great place
to work?

Company culture is something palpable at ATI. We have engaged employees and critical mass of great people who buy into what we are building at ATI. When you walk into our corporate office or visit one of our clinics, you can feel the positive energy. We invest in our leaders and stress the importance of recognition and positive reinforcement. Our employees feed off of the great foundation that has been built over the years and take pride in being a part of ATI. Employees also enjoy being a part of the progressive culture at ATI. They recognize the growth opportunities and career paths that are available at ATI. Additionally, they get to give back to the communities that we serve via the ATI Foundation. The ATI Foundation is a 501c3 charitable foundation that strives to provide funding and medical resources to area children with physical impairments. The ATI Foundation was founded in 2003 and has raised more than $2.5 million for children with physical impairments. ATI employees are the driving force behind the ATI Foundation and it’s a sense of pride for the entire organization.

You joined ATI in 1999 to expand physical therapy services. What has been your proudest accomplishment so far?

It’s hard to pick out a personal accomplishment. Something I admire and respect about our founder, Mr. Greg Steil, is he always stressed that our success will never be about any one person. We have a great team atmosphere at ATI and we have accomplished a lot as a team. I will say, however, that I’m proud of how we have stayed the course in terms of our commitment to creating a special company. We often make the statement, ‘lets get better as we get bigger.’ There is a relentless pursuit of excellence at ATI and I am committed to never letting up on that philosophy.

Who do you admire the most as a business leader?

I’ll get a little creative with this answer. We often use sports analogies within ATI, especially with our leaders. We talk about building a top-notch program. I admire Mike Krzyzewski, head basketball coach at Duke and the program that he’s built. Attributes that I admire in how he’s built his program include; discipline, consistency, accountability, intensity, values, integrity, positive reinforcement, and emotional connection with his players. Coach K is arguably the best college basketball coach of all time.

When you are not busy being CEO, how do you enjoy spending your free time?

I live in downtown Naperville with my beautiful wife and two boys (ages 2 and 6). We love the Naperville community and spend most of our free time enjoying activities with our boys. I stay active and enjoy working out. I’ve been a Bulls season ticket holder for years and enjoy going to sporting events. But, honestly, I enjoy simple nights with my family the most. My schedule can get pretty crazy, so if you give me a movie at home on a Friday night and eight hours of sleep, I’m a happy guy!

Photo by Mike Hudson