A conversation with Dr. Atkinson:
Why Did You Choose Dentistry?
I grew up as the oldest son in a family of nine girls and two boys. My youngest sister, Lindsey, was born with Downs Syndrome. It was my responsibility to take her to the dentist when she was four. The doctor immediately strapped her head and hands to a board terrifying her, without even trying to connect with her as person. As she screamed, he worked on her without regard. I was repulsed by what I saw. My sweet sister was so traumatized that she wet her pants and never wanted to return. I hoped nobody would ever have an experience like that again. I knew I couldn’t affect everyone, but I could be an option for some. I also chose dentistry because I love working with my hands. I knew I needed a profession where not only my mind was engaged but my hands as well.
What is the Best Part of Your Job?
I love building relationships through dentistry as I watch families grow. I love seeing people grow, develop, and contribute in the world. People are the best part of my job. The technical part of dentistry is also a thrill to be part of as advancements have exponentially increased. It is amazing what we can accomplish now versus what were were able to do twenty years ago.
What do you do outside of the office?
I love being with my wife, Kate, doing anything from exercising, traveling, looking at real estate to even riding to the dump together. My six children are six of my favorite people. Watching them create and compete is soul satisfying. I follow many of rounds of golf and sit on many bleachers. I am energized by working alongside my kids helping clean up our yard or someone else’s, fixing one of their cars that needs repair or completing a do-it-yourself project around home.
What was the best day of your life and why?
The day I married Kate. It is wonderful to be married to your best friend for almost 27 years and create a family together. I love every time we are able to escape for a few days to another part of the country and explore something new together.
What is most important to you?
My faith, my family, my friends, and helping anybody with anything. I am in awe at the many amazing people that live and serve in these Skagit County communities. I am on the board for the Sedro Woolley Food Bank and am in awe of the good they bring to thousands of families in the area. School districts, businesses, medical and dental professionals and attorneys in the valley are all incredible. I am so grateful to live here amongst so many great people.
If you had a free day what would you want to do?
It’s more about who I like to be with as I enjoy many things, but I would choose being with my family doing anything rather than doing a specific activity. But I do enjoy warm weather, finding a good deal, and golfing with my kids even though most of them are better at it than me.