Cory Meschke took a circuitous route to business ownership but ended up coming back to his childhood roots.
Meschke is the owner of the Lenexa-based MidLyne Orthodontic Laboratory, which provides a variety of devices and appliances to orthodontic practices in the metro area.
“We provide premium lab products — anything from retainers and appliances used in the orthodontic process,” Meschke said. “We fabricate materials based on stone models we receive from doctors to make customized pieces.… We use a variety of materials including acrylic and stainless steel, doing a lot of soldering and bending.”
Meschke works alongside his five employees to meet the needs of his clients
Q: How did you get into the orthodontic business?
Meschke grew up watching his father, an orthodontist in the Wichita area.
“I grew up with the dream we’d go into practice together,” said Meschke. His first job during his high school years was working in the lab of his father’s practice.
“I learned on the job from one of the others,” he said.
Eventually, Meschke enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry in its doctor of dentistry program. However, things changed.
“In the fourth year, after passing both of my exams, it just didn’t feel right,” Meschke said. He left the program, choosing to go to law school; when that didn’t “fit,” Meschke decided to pursue a doctorate program in bioengineering.
“I was searching,” said Meschke. “One day, I got up and walked out of class and decided to do this.… It struck me that the appliance I had been making for my dad for years WAS biomechanics.”
Meschke started the orthodontic lab business in 2004 in the basement of his Olathe home with equipment he bought in his dental school days.
“I pounded the pavement and found a few dentists who took a chance on us,” Meschke said. “Those dentists are still with us.”
Four years later, Meschke’s lab — then called Orthodontic Solutions — had grown, and he moved operations into a 900-square-foot space in Overland Park. A little more than a year ago, Meschke moved the operation into its current 2,700-square-foot Lenexa location.
Meschke said the lab had experienced an annual growth rate of 20 percent. One of the steps Meschke took was adding high technology equipment, including a 3-D printer. Once the lab receives a computer file from the orthodontist, the 3-D printer comes into play.
“They send us the file, and we are able to grow a model and fabricate any appliance,” he said. “It increases both efficiency and accuracy.”
The lab is so busy using this equipment that Meschke is getting ready to buy a second 3-D printer.
Q: Up to now, MidLyne has done little external marketing. Why? What are you doing now?
Meschke said most of the lab’s business had come by word of mouth; he saw little reason for outside marketing. But when Meschke decided to expand outside of Kansas City to increase lab business, some marketing made sense.
“We just launched a marketing campaign including a website and a catalog,” Meschke said. “We just got really busy real fast and didn’t have time to do it.”
Part of the effort included changing from the name from Orthodontic Solutions to MidLyne Orthodontic Laboratory.
“We weren’t going to be able to trademark the old name,” he said. “MidLyne was unique enough the way it’s spelled that we could.” The name also plays off of the dental term of the midline section of the mouth.
MidLyne staff also participated in a trade show for the first time to spread the word about MidLyne. It is something Meschke said the company will continue to do.
While growth is important to Meschke, so is his business’ work environment.
“My kind of dream is to create an atmosphere where everyone has fun at their job, so I want to hire lots of people,” Meschke said. “And we need more business to do that.”
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: MidLyne Orthodontic Laboratory
ADDRESS: 14643 W. 95th St., Lenexa