Retirement with a smile, Dr. Joel Schieck retiring after over four decades

Published 7:00 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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A long time dentist in Austin is calling it a career.

Dr. Joel Schieck, who has been in dentistry for over four decades, is retiring after a career that has spanned Arizona to Minnesota.

“I have enjoyed it,” Schieck said Thursday afternoon, sitting in the waiting room of Schieck Dental, the business he has owned and cultivated since returning to Austin in 1990. “Just helping people, get them out of pain, give them a smile.”

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Schieck, who is currently in his 43rd year of dentistry, began his career in February of 1981 in Phoenix, just a few years after graduating Austin High School in 1973.

“Nobody in my family was a dentist,” Schieck said. “My mother thought it would be a good profession for me. I was always into sports and I always liked athletics. I thought maybe someday I would do something to be involved. I was thinking more like maybe orthopedics.”

However, advice from his sister, who went into nursing helped steer him away from a medical profession and into dentistry.

“‘Joel, you don’t want to be a doctor. They’re never home,’” Schieck remembered with a her saying with a laugh.

With that advice, the urging of his mother and a love for the sciences, Schieck made his commitment.

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Not a lot of experience, didn’t have a lot of hands on. It just sounded like something I could get into in life.”

After nine years in Arizona, Schieck and his wife decided to make the move back to Austin, even though it wasn’t where Schieck thought the family would end back up in.

In fact, it was his wife, Pearl, that posed the question first.

“I wouldn’t say Austin was kind of where I thought we would end up,” Schieck said. “We were visiting and my wife said, ‘What about Austin?’ Sure.”

“I went around and knocked on a few doors,” he continued. “I talked to one dentist and he wasn’t thinking about retiring or looking for an associate, but he thought there was one in town that was.”

That was Dr. Dale Mlinar and his practice was located on Oakland Avenue West. Schieck ended up buying the practice from Mlinar and over the years ended up purchasing three more practices in Austin.

“That’s how it’s grown,” Schieck said. “I think it’s been a great fit for us. Obviously we liked the culture. My oldest son was in third grade when we moved back so they were basically raised here. Austin has been a good community for us and I hope that over those 30 some years I have been good for Austin too.”

One of the many things that has made his time so enjoyable is the fact that not only did Dr. Tucker Schieck, his oldest son, come into the business, but two years ago he purchased Schieck Dental, which moved to its current location in November of 2010.

Schieck said it’s been fun being able to work with his son as part of the business.

Dr. Joel Schieck. Photo provided

“I’m glad one of my sons decided to go in,” Schieck said. “But I always told them, this isn’t the family farm. Don’t feel like you have to come and take over dad’s practice.”

“It’s been fun and a pleasure to work with him,” he added.

Schieck has seen a lot over his nearly 43 years of dentistry, something that has been both challenging and rewarding.

“It’s been challenging first of all to learn new technology, but it’s also been fun because I think any time you have the chance to learn new things, develop new skills, that’s what kind of makes it interesting. As long as whatever we’re doing helps us deliver better dental care and makes it less fearful for the patient, I think that’s how we can better serve the public.”

Now comes a new challenge for Schieck — figuring out how to fill his retirement. He has plans for more family time as well as some traveling and doing more golfing.

But he’s also not shying away from the opportunity to go to work every so often.

“Even though I’m retiring, I still have a license that’s good for two years,” he said. “As far as helping out here, somebody’s sick, somebody’s gone, on vacation – if I’m available, I plan on doing that.”

Courtney Bollingberg. Photo provided

Familiar face on board

As Schieck heads into retirement, another familiar face is joining the practice.

Courtney Bollingberg, a 2016 graduate of Lyle High School and a May 2023 graduate of the University of Minnesota Dental School, will join Schieck Dental on Thursday.

“My whole situation with braces got me into dentistry,” Bollingberg said. “Watching the transformation from the crooked smile to getting it to where I wanted to be — I felt more comfortable smiling after that and made a huge difference in my life after that. That’s what got me into it.”

Bollingberg and her husband Daniel, a Pacelli Catholic Schools graduate, wanted to return to Austin because of family and the fact they both grew up here. 

However, there is also a connection to Schieck Dental itself.

“This is where I grew up as a patient. I know a lot about Schieck and as I grew up I knew Joel,” she said. “I didn’t know Tucker a ton until he started practicing, but I enjoyed coming here. It was nice knowing what the business is about and just getting used to this place.”

“I’m very excited to get started,” she continued. “It’s nice to see people from a different perspective as a dentist and not coming in as a patient.”