How SCORE helped. 

At SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon, we often say that we will walk with our clients for the life of their business. There is no finer example of that maxim than SCORE client Mike Smoker, the Clinic Director at Drayer Physical Therapy Institute.

When Mike Smoker reached out to SCORE for the guidance of a SCORE mentor, he had a steady job as a physical therapist in an extensive healthcare system. But Mike was ready to shake things up a bit and was wise enough to know that a host of details were not in his skillset.

"I got burnt out from a position in a large health system and decided I wanted more autonomy under my name and business.  However, I quickly realized I had much to learn about starting and opening my own business.  At a family member's suggestion, I contacted SCORE to obtain a mentor for startup assistance."
     - Mike Smoker, Clinic Director, Drayer Physical Therapy

Mike Smoker and Fred Engle using equipment at Drayer Physical Therapy

Every Step of Your Journey

SCORE mentor Fred Engle was paired with Mike Smoker in 2018. Fred Engle reached out for the assistance of a SCORE co-mentor who had background and experience in the medical field. They began working with Mike as he gradually transitioned to private physical therapy practice part-time.

"Mike's mentor, Fred Engle, asked me to join him on his sessions with Mike as my expertise is in the Medical Device industry and thought I could relate to Mike and his business endeavors, and Fred was right."
     - Jean Stephens, SCORE, volunteer mentor

Fred standing on treadmill with Mike stands on the ground smiling


They worked together on startup marketing and laid the foundations for a business that Mike planned to grow over time. That passage of time brought an opportunity that would cause a significant pivot to Mike's business plan.

A Unique Therapist-Partnership Model

Through a series of opportunities in 2019, Mike found a fantastic partner with Drayer Physical Therapy Institute. Founded in 2002 with a single center in Bel Air, Maryland, Drayer Physical Therapy quickly grew to deliver physical therapy services through an expanding network of more than 125 clinics in eleven states. They look for "natural leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit." Mike found the therapist-partnership model, which allowed him to be a minority equity holder in his clinic, very attractive. His SCORE mentors concurred, and their focus shifted to support Mike in this new endeavor.

"From that date forward, the emphasis of my mentoring sessions moved to build my capacity in networking, marketing, and relationship building in the community.  All this is to further the Drayer Physical Therapy Institute mission to inspire the lives we touch, serve our communities, and lead with purpose-driven passion."
          - Mike Smoker, Clinic Director, Drayer Physical Therapy

Fred Engle, Mike Smoker, and Jean Stephens standing in front of Drayer Physical Therapy building

Keeping an Eye on the Future

Mike, Fred & Jean continue to meet regularly to review the growth in the metrics of his client segments, revenue results achievements, and set future targets.

"It's been an absolute pleasure working with Mike and his attitude of always wanting to learn and stretch himself. A level of trust has developed between us, and Mike knows Fred, and I always have his best interests at heart. Fred and I mostly encourage, ask questions, and then watch him fly."
     - Jean Stephens, SCORE, volunteer mentor


Mike Smoker, Fred Engle, and Jean Stephens standing in front of Drayer Physical Therapy