This Q&A feature helps readers learn more about people living and working in the Mount Vernon business community.
This week’s Q&A profiles long-time Mount Vernon resident and owner and manager Earl Reed. A full-service medical office located on Richmond Highway, Doctors Express of Mount Vernon offers a wide range of care services, including testing, lab work, x-rays, prescriptions and more. The walk-in clinic is open every day and appointments are not required. Services offered include lab work, sports injury care, minor surgical care, as well as help with issues related to cuts, bruises, broken bones, burns, back pain and more. The office also offers employer and school/sport related services, including annual examinations, physical exams, drug testing, sports physicals and more. The clinic, which opened its doors 18 months ago, accepts most insurance.
A retired Air Force officer, Earl has lived in the Northern Virginia area with his wife, Dottie, for 30 years. After high school graduation, Earl attended The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. He served two tours as a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. Next, he spent about 10 years traveling around the world as an international program manager. Later, Earl spent several years working as a full-time contractor for the U.S. Department of the Navy, and then for Homeland Security. He also served as a technical advisor to nuclear physicists for many years.
Earl and Dottie, who currently reside in Stratford Landing, have been married since 1969. The couple met back in Florida when they were in kindergarten. They have two grown children and one grandchild, who all live in the area.
Describe your business.
We provide the local community with a state-of-the-art urgent care center that bridges the gap between your primary care physician and the emergency room, for non life-threatening medical conditions. With nine doctors who regularly rotate in and out of the office, we offer fast, effective and affordable care to patients needing immediate medical attention due to illness or injury. We treat all ages, from six months old and up. Our goal is to have patients “in and out within less than an hour.”
How did you become interested in your line of work?
Throughout my life, my career required me to constantly be away from home. I decided I had traveled enough. And I always wanted to do something that would ultimately benefit the local community. So, I took all of my savings and decided to take a risk by opening a Doctors Express franchise. This is basically my “retirement” plan. I chose the healthcare field and this business model because I really feel strongly about easy options for busy families and individuals. Also, the healthcare field is up and coming, especially with the Baby Boomer population’s increasing health care needs.
What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
I enjoy the community involvement aspect. That was my goal when I first started all of this … because I was always traveling in my previous work, it was hard to get involved in supporting local organizations. I feel like now I can help provide a real community asset. I feel like I’m doing something that can be a real, positive contributing factor to the community. That’s really my warm and fuzzy.
Where is your favorite place to go in the Mount Vernon area?
My wife and I really enjoy everything along the [George Washington Memorial] Parkway. I actually used to volunteer at Mount Vernon Estate in the greeting and customer service side of things. For 24 years, my wife used to teach kindergarten at private school in Old Town. She used to say her drive back home each day along the Parkway, was her “sanity check.”
What are your hobbies?
Well, I am a commercial pilot , so I really enjoy flying. I also like to golf. But these are two luxuries I’ve had to set on hold for awhile as I work to get Doctors Express fully established.
What was the last movie you saw?
“Hope Springs.” My wife loves Meryl Streep.
If you weren’t in this business, what would you be doing? Do you have a dream job?
I’m pretty sure I’m living it. After all, earlier in my career, I flew F3s and F15s and they paid me for it. However, I suppose I’m still trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up.” The bottom line is that I really want to make this new business work. Even though it’s been a totally consuming financial and emotional commitment, we will hopefully start to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. With Doctors Express, we really put everything on the line. But we truly believe in it, and I don’t regret getting involved with it for a minute.