Dunbar is honored by B&CL for success in business,

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2006

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The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &045; Establishing his own clinic was the right thing for him to do, Abram Dunbar said, pausing from a busy schedule at Visions Therapy Services to reflect on the nearly three years since he opened the business.

At the recent Natchez Business and Civic League awards banquet, Dunbar received the group’s Man of the Year award for the successful way in which he operates his business.

It was a total surprise, Dunbar said. &uot;There are a lot of people out there that deserve such an honor,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m honored to receive it, but I’m a conservative person and I’m not really looking for honors. We’ll just keep trying to do our very best for our clients.&uot;

That attitude toward his work and the entrepreneurial spirit he showed in opening his own business are what caught the eye of the committee members responsible for the Business and Civic League awards, said Rita Winn, committee chairman.

&uot;His name came up several times in the committee,&uot; Winn said. &uot;The awards committee is a group of people looking for those who have shown they’re capable of making a success in the business they have chosen.&uot;

Testimonies to both the quality of Dunbar’s work and the benefits patients received were used in the decision making, Winn said.

For Dunbar, the clinic is all about the patients and their needs. &uot;I started the clinic in an effort to provide my clients what they deserve,&uot; said Dunbar, a physical therapist with a degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. &uot;All therapists are qualified to run their own businesses. It’s just a question of whether they want to take on the extra work of a business.&uot;

For him, being able to choose the amount of time he allots to a patient is important. &uot;You may want to spend two hours with a client,&uot; he said. In most clinics, a therapist would not have that choice.

With his wife, Tara, as office manager and his brother, Cedric Dunbar, also a physical therapist, and two physical therapist technicians, the clinic is right where he wants it to be, Abram Dunbar said.

His drive was not to have a huge clinic and not to make big money, Dunbar said. &uot;I thought if I could go into it and help some people and make a living, I’d be satisfied,&uot; he said.

&uot;I never want to be a big clinic and don’t care to own any other clinics. Once you start doing that, you start losing effectiveness and the quality drops. I don’t want to lose that. I want to oversee what goes on here.&uot;

Dunbar grew up in Hattiesburg but moved to Jefferson County when his father, an Alcorn State University professor, moved his family closer to the university.

A 1991 graduate of Alcorn, he went on to get a master’s degree at Alabama A&M.; After some studies at the University of Missouri at Columbia, he went to the University of Mississippi Medical School for the physical therapy degree.

In Natchez, he worked for a while at Community Hospital prior to opening his clinic at 54 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

Having his own business has required long hours and hard work, he said. But the sacrifices are worthwhile. Anyone considering physical therapy as a career should be compassionate and patient, Dunbar said. &uot;And you have to have the desire to make things better than they were when you started.&uot;