Ed Carey: Building Dental Office Equipment Prototypes and Restoring Vintage Motorcycles

“I’ve known Dave since we were kids and we’ve been friends our entire lives,” Ed Carey, Head Engineer at Design Ergonomics says of his friend Dr. David Ahearn, founder, and CEO of the company. “When we were growing up, we used to hang out and build stuff all the time. I’ve always enjoyed making things. I did when I was young, and I still do today.”

Ed was with the company at the very beginning, in 1995, when Dr. Ahearn started to experiment with dental product design in his practice. Ed had a room above Dr. Ahearn’s practice and they collaborated daily, designing products to make dental offices more efficient.

“Dave comes up with ideas, and he throws them out there,” Ed says. “It might be a sketch on a napkin, or he might just tell me what’s he’s thinking. We start with a drawing and then make a mockup out of a simple material like cardboard to see the geometry of what the offering might look like in an office. We then go through a process to determine if the idea is likely to work.”

New products start with a prototype stage where Design Ergonomics installs a working product into a dental office where it can be tested. “We gather feedback from dentists and other professionals, and from there we either go back to design for modifications or we begin working with our factory team to put the product into production.” Ed says. Because of the close relationship between the practices and our prototyping facilities, we can often create potential solution in weeks that other companies deliberate over for years.”

Today, Ed works with a team of eight people in the engineering group. There are experts in lighting, metal fabrication, working with plastics, and cabinetry. Much of the high-end equipment they use in the shop is computerized, and machines can cost more than $250,000.

Alex Abren and Ed Carey at the D/E factory calibrating the MultiCam Plasma Cutter

“It’s amazing the ideas we come up with that other people think are impossible and are fun to build,” Ed says. “I’ve worked with my hands forever so I really know what can be done and what the capabilities of all these machines are. It’s not like we’re making products on a mass scale to be sold at Walmart. Rather, we’re building equipment that will be used by several hundred or several thousand dental offices to make their work more efficient. Our clients understand that the design of the product has a big effect on their performance. Believe it or not, many doctors aren’t that mechanical and don’t get that!”

While Ed loves building, he’s not a fan of paperwork. “As we’ve grown into a larger company, the government requires that we document everything that we do,” he says. “I understand the need for a paper trail around things like change orders and working with all of our suppliers, but it just seems to go on and on forever. Fortunately, I have coworkers that help out with the paperwork so I’m liberated from as much of it as possible.”

Ed’s creative, hands-on work continues in his free time. He loves to restore and ride vintage motorcycles. “My main rides right now are a 1976 R50/6 BMW and a Moto Guzzi Le Mans 850. I even have a California II Moto Guzzi with a side car.”

Ed Carey with his 1976 R50/6 BMW motorcycle at the Design Ergonomics facility in Fall River, Massachusetts

Weather permitting, Ed rides one of his motorcycles to the factory most days. “It gives me a little change to the day,” he says. “There’s a route I can take that goes through the woods, which is nice. The roads are rutty, so I use a BMW F650 dirt bike for that. So that’s kind of cool.”

Ed commandeered an unused nook in the factory to store several of his motorcycles, bringing his love of building things full circle.

“I’ve been with the company for nearly 30 years, and I will continue to be here until I retire someday,” Ed says. “It’s an awesome place to work, we have great people, and we are helping our customers by building excellent products.”



About Design Ergonomics:

It’s incredibly fulfilling for us to help our clients build dental practices that they are proud to own, and that allow them to give back to their communities and provide for their families.

We understand that, whether you’re planning a new office or an office expansion, getting your dental office design right the first time can be a make or break decision in your career. It’s just so important to get it right the first time, and that’s why we want to help you along the way, wherever you are in the process.

Our founder, Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, has dedicated his career to making it easier for practitioners to provide great dental care. He founded Design Ergonomics, and Ergonomic Products, to Design, Equip, and Train the best dental offices across North America. At our design center and factory in Fall River, Massachusetts, we focus on every element of dental office design and productivity, and manufacture the dental industry’s best in-wall cabinets, workstations, lighting, and delivery systems. Our Research and Development team holds numerous patents for their innovations and is constantly monitoring, and forecasting, the needs of the dental industry.

If you have any questions or if you need help with your dental office design, please contact the Design Ergonomics team.