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In this episode, host David Mandell, JD, MBA welcomes Dr. Butch Ferguson, a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Their discussion initially covers Dr. Butch’s career journey, including his experience in the US Army Dental Corps, both pros and cons — beginning with his own training, moving up the command chain, training other dentists and oral surgeons for years.


(Video Available May 30, 2024)

David and Butch then dive into his decision to leave the military and join Augusta University as a faculty member in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, where he spent a few decades.  Butch discusses the challenges and rewards of teaching in a Level 1 trauma center, dealing with complex surgical cases and severe trauma, as well as the career, financial and business advice he gave to students over the years.

The discussion concludes covering the topic of retirement, including how Butch was not initially prepared for the transition and the toll that took on him.  They then chat about Butch’s new business and his newfound energy around that. Their discussion includes Butch’s advice for other doctors approaching retirement on how to “retire well.”


  1. Build a great reputation:For the doctors he trained for decades, Butch’s #1 rule was to build a great reputation clinically. Butch comments “Number one, you got to go out and you got to build reputations, which means you have to go out there and you have to be a great provider. So, my number one goal, I used to have ‘Ferguson’s rules of engagement.’ My number one rule of engagement was when you get a chance to do something perfectly, damn it, you do it perfect. Because there are going to be times in your practice where you can’t do it perfectly because of whatever factors are prevailing at that moment, and you got to get done the best you can.”
  2. The importance of planning and routine in retirement:Butch emphasizes the importance of having a routine and an action plan when transitioning into retirement. Without a clear plan or routine, retirement can lead to disorientation and loss of direction, as he experienced when he retired in 2023.”Every day of my life for all those years, I knew where I was going to be. I knew what I was going to be doing. I had direction. All of a sudden now there’s no direction at all,” Ferguson explained. He further points out that this lack of routine led him to miss important events, like his daughter’s birthday, emphasizing the need for planning before retirement in order to ensure a smooth transition.”
  3. Turning skills and experience into a business venture during retirement:Butch shares his experience of turning his skills and experience into a business venture during retirement. He highlights his initiative of providing consultant activities and continuing education presentations to private practitioners based on his experiences as a senior faculty at a dental school.”I decided to take those skill sets and turn them into a little business where I will provide consultant activities and provide continuing education presentations and lectures to the private practitioners,” Butch explains. This approach not only keeps him engaged during retirement but also allows him to contribute to his field outside the confines of a traditional career.


  • Butch advises young doctors to build a great reputation, prioritize their financial planning, and seek professional advice for aspects beyond their expertise.
  • Butch emphasizes the importance of planning for retirement and maintaining a routine to avoid disorientation and loss of direction.
  • He highlights the need for dental practitioners to have training in handling medical emergencies in their practices, which is the focus of his new venture.
  • He also stresses the need to balance professional life with personal interests and hobbies, which often get neglected due to work commitments.


  • Guest, Dr. Butch Ferguson’s Bio
  • Host, David B. Mandell’s Bio