MUSKEGON — After helping people through physical therapy, assisted living and finally her own outpatient care facility, Holly Lookabaugh-Deur has been recognized for her work with the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce 2005 Entrepreneur Award.
“I felt that people deserved better care,” the Mona Shores resident said. “I have never once regretted doing it the right way.”
For Lookabaugh-Deur, the right way was starting Generation Care Inc., a physical and occupational therapy center located in a 15,000-square-foot facility at 945 East Sherman Blvd. that features pools for aqua therapy. After opening in 1999, Lookabaugh-Deur has expanded the company from just herself to 30 employees and her revenue to more than $2 million last year. She has invested more than $2 million in her facility.
She also volunteers with the Girl Scouts, Mona Shores High School varsity hockey team, youth sports teams, the Alzheimer’s Association and United Way and is in the process of starting her own nonprofit organization called Generation Hope. The organization is aiming to help with home modifications for older adults so they can stay in their homes longer. Lookabaugh-Deur, 44, is also a mother of four.
“She is extremely devoted to helping people,” said Chris Kelly, chairman of the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce who has nominated Lookabaugh-Deur twice in the past. “For her it’s not about the money.”
Kelly said Lookabaugh-Deur saw that Muskegon was lacking something in the medical care field.
“She was determined to fill it and fix it and she did,” he said.
Lookabaugh-Deur said Generation Care is unique in that it addresses problems in health care but also is a successful business.
“In this case we took some special programs and some holes in the health-care opportunities for Muskegon residents and made them into reasonably priced, affordable health care and managed to grow a business,” she said. “Those two things normally don’t go together.”
The personal care and attention that the patients receive set the company apart, Lookabaugh-Deur said.
“What makes us different is we put the compassion back in health care,” she said. “I wanted to provide health care in a personal way that you can’t always afford to do in a hospital system.”
Generation Care provides traditional physical and occupational therapy and special programs such as advanced wound care, a fall-prevention program, hand clinic, balance and vestibular disorder programs and a urinary incontinence management program. It also offers an older-adult driving screening program.
“We try to find niches that were currently not being met in the community,” Lookabaugh-Deur said, “rather than just trying to duplicate services.”
Lookabaugh-Deur, who earned her doctorate of science in geriatric physical therapy from Rocky Mountain University in Provo, Utah, while starting her business, said she was surprised to receive the award.
“I was a little flabbergasted,” she said.
Bob Scolnik, the 1990 Entrepreneur Award recipient, presented Lookabaugh-Deur with her award. Scolnik said the committee had a difficult time deciding this year’s award recipient. Paul Kuyt of Re-Source Industries Inc. and Randy Crow of RC Productions Inc. and Source One Signs also were finalists for the award and acknowledged at the luncheon.
“We did really have a very tough time selecting a winner for 2005,” Scolnik said.
Scolnik said it was not uncommon for nominees to be nominated several times before receiving the award.
“Entrepreneurs don’t give up,” he said.
The award is an important example of the support the chamber gives to the community, Scolnik said.
“This really goes to the core of what a chamber of commerce is all about.”