Alumni Focus on Kerry Giedd (OD/MS’00) and Brad Giedd (MS’00)
Kerry (KG): born in Euclid, OH, now residing in Orlando, FL
Brad (BG): born in Bismarck, ND, now residing in Orlando, FL
Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?
Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?
KG: Karla Zadnik, Joe Barr (OD’77, MS’79), Mo Merchea (OD’97, MS’99, PhD’03) , Jeff Walline (MS’98, PhD’02)
BG: Joe Barr (OD’77, MS’79), Mo Merchea (OD’97, MS’99, PhD’03)
CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
KG: Optometrist in private practice at Eola Eyes in Orlando, FL, and self-employed as a clinical researcher/consultant
BG: Optometrist in private practice at Maitland Vision Center in Maitland, FL, and self-employed as a clinical researcher/consultant
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
KG: My partner and I opened our private practice cold in 2003. The patients were sparse early on in our little office, but we have grown steadily and are now one of the largest practices in the area. We moved to our own building in 2011 and now have four doctors. I have always “job shared” with my partner since the day we opened, with each of us seeing patients about 25 hours per week. I practice full-scope optometry with an emphasis on contact lenses (keratoconus, scleral fits, etc.). I perform many administrative duties in the practice as well, and taking good care of our team is very important to us. I’ll also often see a few study patients (if we have a clinical trial underway) or have a phone conference with a contact lens manufacturer as part of the consulting work I do.
BG: A great mix of pediatrics through geriatrics with glaucoma and cataract co-management and lots of specialty contact lens patients, with several local corneal surgeons sending me their most challenging cases. In between patients, I coordinate industry-sponsored clinical trials, which keeps me in the office some evenings and weekends. But, the variety has kept it all fresh!
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
KG: Deregulation and devaluing of our profession in the midst of disruptive technologies that risk our patients’ health and well-being.
BG: The lack of understanding of the value of optometric services we provide, AMONGST OUR PEERS, that threatens the vitality of our profession and diminishes our standing.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
KG: I always wanted to work in a medical/health care field and planned on becoming an MD until my third year in undergrad. I had become very close to a wonderful family with several generations of optometrists. I worked with them and admired the work life balance a career in optometry seemed to provide them. I decided to pursue optometry school instead of medical school. I also had the opportunity to work with Tom Quinn (OD’79, MS’81) and Susan Quinn (OD’82) before coming to OSU, which was a wonderful experience that really reinforced my career choice.
BG: Optometry was a second career for me (electrical engineering working on rockets at Kennedy Space Center was my first). The influence of my own optometrist growing up and my highly myopic eyes were always reasons for my interest in eyes and optics. After a few years in engineering, I decided to pursue optometry as a career.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
KG: I think I pretty much have the perfect job right now with three days of patient care and some consulting work, including some fun travels, speaking engagements, etc., scattered in my schedule. I’m not hoping or planning for much change in five years, but do plan to check off a few “bucket list items,” like becoming a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the AAO. I’d love to get my MBA and do more consulting and less patient care later down the road.
BG: I hope to be able to limit my primary schedule to a day or so of patients each week and dedicate the rest of my time to specialty contact lens fitting. I enjoy clinical research and hope to continue that, but would like to find time to start working on some of my own ideas.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
KG: “Balance is not something you find. It’s something you create.”- Jana Kingsford. Think about the life and career you want and work on making them a reality. Align your short-term decisions with your long-term goals.
BG: Have a plan! Consider a residency. The lost income you perceive to be a sacrifice will come back to you tenfold over the course of your career in the knowledge you gain and the relationships you build.
OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
KG: Meeting Brad, working with Karla Zadnik, and parties (pre-social media, thank God) at the EYE house.
BG: One of the two Michigan games Cooper actually won, getting my MS (and my MRS!), fun times spent with Joe Barr and Mo Merchea (buddies for life!)
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
KG: It was at Ohio State, at the College of Optometry, that we met in 1998, so there’s that ... Yes, Ohio State means a lot to us.
BG: Professionally, the relationships we built at Ohio State and the mentorship we received, particularly through our master’s degree programs (Kerry in the Opt7 program and Brad in the Cornea and Contact Lens Residency program), had a huge impact on our careers.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry as alumni?
KG & BG: Living almost a thousand miles away could leave us rather disconnected. However, Central Florida has one of the largest and most active Buckeye Alumni Clubs in the country, so we regularly visit with fellow Buckeyes from many different backgrounds/careers to watch games or just socialize. With regard to the College of Optometry, we catch up with fellow alumni at AAO and/or AOA receptions, we come back to Columbus for a visit every few years, we read the alumni publications, and so on. Particularly within the contact lens industry where we do a lot of consulting, there are Buckeye optometrists everywhere, so the OSU connections stay strong.
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
KG: Spending time my family, especially at the beach, going to the theater, lots of volunteer work locally and vision care mission trips to the DR, American Academy of Optometry Foundation board
BG: Golf, racquetball, Rotary volunteering and mission trips that let us use our gifts to serve others, and everything kids …
Tell us the best eye pun or joke you have ever heard.
BG: One of my staff members once described her relative with strabismus as having an “atchaphoria.” I asked, “What’s that?” She said he had one eye looking “at ya” and one eye looking “for ya”- I about fell off my chair and soon realized that “atchaphoria” surely should be part of optometric nomenclature!!
What was the first concert that you attended/most recent?
KG: Yikes! Not particularly proud of these answers, but … Most recently, I chaperoned a group of our 14-year-old daughter’s friends to the Shawn Mendes concert. My first concert was Donny and Marie Osmond. In between those are some less embarrassing shows … One of my most memorable concerts was U2 at the Horseshoe.
BG: Most recently, I saw U2 in Tampa (June 2017) and it was as good as the first time I saw them decades ago. My first concert ever was probably KISS, sometime in the 1980s. Ouch!
What is your favorite summer time activity?
KG & BG: We love spending time at the beach with our kids or traveling outside of Florida to escape the heat and humidity as we countdown the weeks until college football season. We especially enjoy visiting the U.S. National Parks.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
KG: This is a tough one for me. I truly love what I do and our profession. Optometry has been really good to me and I’m grateful the opportunities I have had. For almost 25 years, I haven’t thought about being anything else, so I’m just not sure.
BG: An Uber driver. Clearly, that is what my kids think I was born to do! I tried rocket science … it was fun for a while, but then I went back to optometry school.