Partner Feature: Get to Know Ben Peterson, COO

What was your journey prior to joining ARC Physical Therapy+?

Growing up and working on the family farm in Clay Center, Kansas is where much of my background comes from. We raised corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and pigs. My parents still farm.

I was blessed after high school to attend Pittsburg State University and study medicine while playing football. (Go Gorillas!!)  Football has always been a passion of mine as far back as I can remember. I did well in football at Pitt State and got the opportunity to continue playing for 2 years for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999 and 2000. My NFL career was short-lived, but it allowed me to dive into physical therapy more quickly.

The best thing about college was that I met my wife my junior year, and the second-best thing was that I became interested in physical therapy and chose it as a career!   

When did you join the ARC Physical Therapy+ team and what roles have you held at the company?

I actually hold the honor of being ARCPT+’s first student!

Back in 2004, I performed my last clinical rotation at ARCPT+ prior to graduating from Physical Therapy School at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

At that time, ARCPT+ was just a baby: 6 months old, one clinic, one physical therapist, and one athletic trainer. I immediately fell in love with the vision of the company, and was hired shortly after my clinical rotation. Since being a student, I have:

  • Served as a staff clinician at the North Kansas City clinic
  • Been the Director of the Independence, Missouri clinic for 10 years
  • Was ARC Physical Therapy’s first Regional Director
  • And, most recently and currently, am our Chief Operating Officer

What are your top goals in your current role as Partner? 

To ensure that excellent therapy services are provided to all of our clients at all of our clinics. This will always be first and foremost.    

In doing this, we strive to exceed expectations in therapy and customer service, while helping all of our clients meet their goals.

To provide an excellent place to work for any individual who wants to be excellent in what they do, and respond to the challenge to learn and get better every day.     

What is your vision for ARC Physical Therapy+?

In order for us to continue to provide excellent care to our clients, our organizational structure must be sustainable to a rapidly changing health-care environment. ARCPT+ has to grow to continue to be who we want to be as a provider. With growth will come diversity.

We want to be a company where people can retire from after a successful and rewarding career. In the next 20 years, we will hold to our mission and vision of being a catalyst of change in the marketplace and be recognized as a company who did not waiver from being excellent despite the challenges of the marketplace.    

What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned in your time at ARC Physical Therapy?

I have learned that there are a lot of great-hearted people out there who have a desire to help others. I have learned that we all have struggles and need to rely on each other as life is not easy. I have learned that together we can accomplish great things.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

I believe that employee retention speaks volumes about a company. I am honored to say that there are 15 team members who have worked at ARCPT for 10 years or more, and I consider every one of them my family. That may not seem like it should rank as the greatest accomplishment, but I am truly honored to have worked alongside every one of them for over a decade.   

ARCPT+ is truly a great company, and these 15 people have everything to do with that!

What three traits define you?  

  1. I can’t sleep at night if a job is not done right, or if I did not give full effort… I hate that I can’t please everyone all the time as I have always been driven to please those I work with.  
  2. I am a person of faith, and I am thankful for those I am blessed to work with and get to live life with each day.
  3.  I’m not perfect, but I’m trying my best to be a lifelong learner.  

What is your personal philosophy?     

  • Do the absolute best you can do with what you have been given. 
  • Find joy in your work and in those you live life with.  
  • Treat others with kindness and respect, even your enemies, and in doing so you may win them over.     

Who opened doors for you?  

My dad and mom are the first who come to mind. Some teachers come to mind also, my 3rd and 5th grade teachers, my high school chemistry teacher, and multiple coaches who encouraged me along the way. 

Currently, I have some great men in my life. They are mentors, who continue to invest in my growth.  

I would most definitely be remiss if I didn’t mention my wife, Amy. She has supported everything I have ever done for 24 years. Not only does she open doors for me, she also closes ones I shouldn’t go through! 

I believe doors are opened every day, we just have to choose which ones to walk through. I urge everyone reading this to not underestimate what one word of encouragement can do in someone’s life.

What does true leadership mean to you?  

A great leader is one who provides vision towards a noble cause, teaches followers how to work in alignment with that vision, and demonstrates the sacrifice it takes to achieve the vision.    

What leadership principles have led to your success? 

To be a good leader, it’s crucial to have the right people around you, and you must be fighting for a worthy cause.  

Leaders love their people and put their people above themselves. 

Leaders never give up, and never give up belief that what they are doing is making a difference for the good.           

What do you find most exciting about the PT space now?  

It’s changed more in the last 2 years than it has the previous 20! Some of the changes have been good, others not so good. The volatility in our space, though a little unsettling, has created some exciting opportunities. I am excited that we are in a great position to be able to take advantage of the opportunities and further expand the reach of our mission.  

What do you find most exciting about the PT/workers’ comp space?  

Let’s face it, we live in a very different world than we did just a year ago. We have found that employers and other work comp associates have been extremely open to looking at new ways of doing things. This has led to many opportunities for us to utilize our experience in helping our employer partners become a healthier workforce and in decreasing work comp costs. 

What do you do to take care of your team?  

I first want to say that our team works extremely hard and I am very proud of them!   

We have been intentional in changing some processes over the past year to ensure that we are still able to see and hear each other despite not being able to physically assemble as much. We have also placed focus on making sure the personal needs of our team members are met. ARC Physical Therapy+ has not been immune to our share of losing family members, experiencing very serious health conditions, and other extremely tough life circumstances. We have risen up as a team to make sure that our ARCPT+ family members, and their family members, are well cared for.  One Family. One Mission. That has been our focal point this past year to ensure our team knows they are supported.

On a lighter note, we make sure we have plenty of Starbucks readily available to our employees. We also enjoy making fun of each other during virtual meetings if anyone forgets to unmute themself. We enjoy each other! Most of the time!      

What are the keys to developing the next round of leaders? 

To me, we are all leaders whether we like it or not. We are all being watched by others, and we must try to be at our best at all times.   

We all fall short from time to time, but we all should strive for consistency in leading our next generation of leaders by example in: 

  • Being kind.  
  • Being open to listening to others with a different background or viewpoint.  
  • Taking action (in kindness) on which issues we don’t feel are right. The more we speak truth, and are willing to have difficult conversations, the closer we will move towards a better community and world. The more that others see those efforts in us, the more possible it becomes for them.

How do you want to impact physical therapy in the Midwest and beyond?  

The biggest compliment is when others do what you are doing after you have already done it. We will continue to be trailblazers in the marketplace, and other people will follow us in our mission.    

Despite the growing challenges in our profession, ARC Physical Therapy+ will provide excellent therapy how we believe it to be best delivered: with an organization model that supports QUALITY. Too many physical therapy organizations have a model that only survives with QUANTITY. This is not the fault of the therapist, but the result of the organization not fighting for what they believe in, over a long period of time. 

ARCPT+ will fight for what we believe in, and continue to be recognized as a therapy provider of excellence, throughout the region. We are already leading, but will take a noticeable lead in this charge over the years ahead.  

How are you involved in the community?    

With my PT and sports background, I am the resident neighborhood, church, school, and sports PT! Of course, my services are free of charge, unless you bother me more than about 3 times! Kidding aside, anyone who knows me knows that I truly enjoy being able to help people out in this way. 

Something else near and dear to me is volunteering and leading local mission’s efforts through different groups in Kansas City and the surrounding area. I have been blessed to meet many great people over the past 8 years since I have become more involved in this.

Finally, my wife Amy and I support our local schools by being leaders through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It’s awesome to see the growth in kids during such a pivotal time in their life, and we are honored to play a small role in their development into young men and women. This also causes us to be on good behavior in the stands when we are rooting for our own 3 kids while watching them participate in sports!

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