THIS MONTH'S BULLS EYE FEATURE: Brett Michener
For 38-year old Brett Michener, life is actually pretty simple. “I am trying to get better every day,” he says.
His father, Tim, who passed away on 2009, was in law enforcement for his entire career and was the most influential person in Michener’s life. And he describes his mother, Sue, a retired Philadelphia school teacher, as “the epitome of hard work.”
After summers as a life guard, working retail, mowing lawns, and working odd jobs with his dad, Michener earned both a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Master of Physical Therapy from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia between 1995 and 2000.
He met his wife Tracy in college and where they were “brought together” by Kevin Nealon of Saturday Night Live.
“Nealon was doing a show at our college and I was looking for a chance to talk to her. When he made some cracks about Allentown, PA I knew that was my in. My mother’s family was form Allentown as well so I knew the area pretty well. I can’t say my big opening line was anything of substance but I found out where she and her friends were going after and I made sure I was there as well.”
“Our first date was to see the movie “Entrapment” and dinner at Engine 46 Steak House down on Delaware Ave in philly. We have been together for 15 years and having more fun each year.”
The Micheners have three children: Ella 9, Evan 7, Sydney 7—all students at Springville Elementary School in Mt. Laurel.
Michener says that his wife is always telling him that he “tries to do too much” and that his children think “I am the tickle monster.”
His career started as a physical therapist for large corporation and then, in 2004, he opened his own clinic, which now includes 15 employees.
When asked what he knows now that he wishes he’d known then, Michener replies “That my role as the CEO would be better split between in the clinic and out.”
The best part of his job, he says, is “bringing new opportunities to my team and showing off what they can do.” And the worst part is “having to worry about a budget.”
The best advice Michener ever received was from his father, who told him: “You treat everyone with dignity and respect.”
The worst advice he ever recalls receiving ever received was from the Vice President of a large corporate physical therapy company. “Give adequate care not optimal care.”
“In looking back that was the moment M&M physical therapy was born so I guess it wasn’t the worst advice for me just everyone else in the room.”
Michener’s self-description is “my word is my bond,” his business philosophy is to “give the best quality service because it’s the right thing to do,” and his best decision was “going into business with my partner Steven Platt.”
His worst decision was “going against my instincts on a few occasions,” and his toughest decision was “letting go of a long time employee even though it was the ‘right’ decision.”
Michener’s personal motto is “always give first,” and he measures success “by how many people are asking to work with my team and myself.”
His goal yet to be achieved is to take GPI to the national stage and the organization he respects the most is the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Kristi, Chelsea, and Sam at the BCRCC are the reason I give so much of my time to the chamber…for what they accomplish through hard work and grit and what they produce day in and day out.
His biggest “aha” moment came when he realized that “here is more opportunity for my company outside the clinic than in.”
He is deathly afraid of “being locked up abroad,” but Michener’s greatest fear is “letting down my family.” As for the dumbest thing he ever did, it was “adding a zero in bill pay. Fortunately the company on the receiving end noticed it before they wiped out my checking account.”
His one bad habit that he just can’t break is “eating cookies.”
Michener, who admits to 15 tattoos or body piercings, says his secret talent is fixing things that are broken.
His best experience as a volunteer came watching my 9/10 y/o softball team win the championship game.
He announces that he is allergic to “negativity” and says that “the one game you will never beat me at is “being happy in life.”
“If you really want to make me angry, Michener adds, “insult my integrity.”
The accomplishment of which he is most proud is “being able to coach all 3 of my children and them asking me to coach again.”
If he had a “do-over,” what it would be “learning another language when I had the chance.”
The farthest he has even been away from home is California and if his flight is delayed and he’s stuck on the tarmac for a long time, he would most want to be sitting next to “my wife because we can talk for hours, sit quietly, share snacks, and read each other expertly.”
When Michener meets people, the first thing he notices about them is “how they carry themselves and if they take care in their appearance.”
Fortunately, Michener has had no brushes with death or serious injury. “Surprisingly, I made it through childhood playing near trains, rivers, and power tools with all of my fingers and toes.”
The event that created the most significant emotional reaction on his part in the past year was “buying out a business partner.”
When asked if he could do one thing to change South Jersey, what it would it be, Michener says “South Jersey really needs tax relief for small businesses.”
When he brags about South Jersey to people from elsewhere in the state or from out of state, he says “Everything is at your fingertips here.”
Finally, when asked why somebody would want to meet him, Michener says, “I’m honest and real and if I tell you I will do something I’ll follow through to the best of my ability.”