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Cultivating the Talent of a Community
Justin Sparks might seem an unusual candidate for director of operations of the biggest eye center in the Klamath Basin; he comes from a background as a contractor and he has 20/20 vision. But when the Klamath Eye Center hired Sparks to do some construction projects back in 2004, his work was so impressive that the Klamath Eye Center took him on full-time. Sparks scribed under Dr. Mark Fay for almost three years – learning the ins and the outs of the business and earning his way up to Director of Operations.
Sparks says this is just the way it works for Klamath Eye Center.
“Finding qualified workers in our community isn’t easy,” Sparks says, “so instead we find good workers and we train them and move them up the ranks. A lot resources go into all the training, but it’s worth it for us to stay state-of-the-art in our small community.”
Technology to Cover the Basin’s Needs
“We’re kind of on an island by ourselves out here in ‘The Basin’,” Sparks says. “Certain times of the year, you don’t want to be leaving town. Everyone in the area respects that and tries to expand the services that we as a community can provide so we can be sustainable and self-sufficient. There’s a pride of being able to provide for ourselves and for each other and we all chip in to cover the full spectrum of the community’s needs”
For Klamath Eye Center, “chipping in” means investing in both in-depth training and highly specialized equipment. The $100,000 optical coherence tomography machine does precise 3D imaging to identify and assess retinal and optic nerve abnormalities.
“We have pieces of equipment that cost as much as a house,” says Dr. Mark Fay. “It adds to the cost of medical care, but we want it for our families, so we can bring the best technology to this community. Our goal is to offer all the eye services people need locally so they don’t have to go to Medford or Bend.”
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Because the Klamath Eye Center team is working with technology that’s constantly sending massive image files back and forth to different locations, they can’t afford to be held back by internet bandwidth. So with limited speed and the increasing need to network multiple locations, Klamath Eye Center switched over to Cal-Ore Fiber Internet last year.
“We’re able to network three of our offices together,” says Sparks. “Now I can sit at one office and it’s like I’m at the other. It’s worked out very well for us and Cal-Ore has supported it exceptionally.”
“Cal-Ore is another company in our community like us,” Sparks says. “They could have just kept providing the same thing, but instead they’re stepping it up and bringing new fiber technology to Klamath Falls. It uplifts business for all of us. Fiber is one of the things that allows little old Klamath Falls to stay current in the world of technology, whether it’s healthcare or media. We might not have everything here, but we’re definitely on the map, with fiber broadband.”
Looking good, Klamath Eye Center. Looking real good.