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Community Highlights: Meet James Dulkerian of Pioneer PT

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Dulkerian.

Hi James, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Pioneer PT all started as a dream after an epic California road trip in a VW bus named Lone Star.

At the time, I was a director of an outpatient sports medicine clinic who was treating multiple patients at a time all day long for 12 hours straight, not to mention documentation! I was totally burnt out and pissed off at healthcare, even debating leaving my profession altogether. I wanted change! My ethics were being pushed to their limit, I could not provide what I felt was good care for my patients when seeing multiple people at a time. That just is not how people should be treated.

Back to the dream. I woke up at about 2 A.M. with my AHA moment one night back in early 2016. At that moment, I knew exactly what I was called to do. I was going to bring personalized, convenient, and performance-based care directly to patients via a Mobile Studio. This idea evolved from all of the DIY camper vans and the van life culture I was exposed to in CA in the fall of 2015.

In 2016 I planned everything out for the build, and in January of 2017 pulled the trigger by purchasing my first van to convert into a mobile studio in the Lone Star state of TX. The drive back to my home state of MD was exciting as I envisioned a new delivery of HEALTHcare instead of reactive sick care that exists in our current system. Shortly later, I quit my full-time job and went all in on my dream.

After completing the build, I realized I knew nothing about being a business owner. Realizing I had to grow as a person, I hired a business coach and began getting out of my comfort zone. I felt the highs and lows that every entrepreneur experiences, with times feeling like I wouldn’t make it, but I persevered. Fast forward, Pioneer PT continues to grow even during a global pandemic. It felt like Pioneer PT was ready for that moment and now is on the verge of launching a second mobile studio with a new team member. The goal is to serve outdoor enthusiasts from coast to coast to keep them ready for their next adventure.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
OMG, no! Is it ever a smooth ride?

Despite using all of my savings to start the business and being worried about paying my bills, this was not the most difficult challenge I had to endure. One of the hardest things was dealing emotionally with my little sister being diagnosed and going through cancer treatment. Then, as things were picking up my mobile studio broke down and required a $22,000 fix. What!!!! Again, I thought I was going to go out of business. As things started to pick up again, a global pandemic of Covid 19 started. Business once again grinded to a halt mid March. However, things picked up month over month since last May, and business has not been better.

We’ve been impressed with Pioneer PT, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Pioneer PT is the first mobile studio in the country for physical therapy and wellness purposes. A true clinic on wheels bringing care to where the client is. Think bodywork, joint manipulations, exercise coaching all in one to keep your body performing at its peak. We serve folks at their home, office, and even running and cycling races.

The future vision is to instill on demand service as well as more digital products and telemedicine options to expand the level of care.

How do you define success?
I define success as impacting people’s lives to help them reach their goals physically while maintaining a work-life balance. Work-life balance is something I have strived for even before the pandemic. My goal is not to see more clients in a week than I was forced to see in a day at my previous job. This maintains a high level of concierge service that people deserve and allows the provider to be there for family, maintain physical/mental/spiritual, and emotional health outside of work. Maintaining these outsides of work allows folks to make a bigger impact.

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