MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, has recognized three young alumni with the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence Award—an award which recognizes a graduate of the past 10 years who owns and operates a private optometry practice. This year’s recipients are: Autumn Adams, OD, for the Practice Acquisition Award; Derek Hennig, OD, for the Partnership Award; and Andrew Bradbury, OD, for the New Practice Award. Jerry Hayes, OD, a 1973 SCO graduate, established the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence upon the mission to teach independent optometrists the fundamentals of managing the business side of a private practice, including strategic planning, budgeting, overhead control and profitability. It provides SCO students and alumni the resources and networking connections to build successful and sustainable practices.

Dr. Hayes said, “Operating an optometry practice requires more than clinical skills to serve patients. These three alumni exemplify leadership and business savviness in addition to providing quality vision care to their patients.”

Dr. Adams, SCO class of 2015, began practicing at Global Eye Care in Cabot, Arkansas, soon after earning her Doctor of Optometry. She purchased the practice from her mentor, James (Bart) Brady, OD, in 2021, with the goal of continuing his legacy and growing the practice he founded. The Practice Acquisition Award, which Dr. Adams was awarded, recognizes an optometrist who has completed the buy-sell process of acquiring a previously existing private practice.

Dr. Hennig, who was valedictorian of the SCO class of 2017, joined Lifetime Eye Care in his hometown of Charleston, Illinois, soon after graduation. The Partnership Award, which he was presented with, recognizes an optometrist who purchased or earned an equity interest in an existing private practice and actively participates as a partner in its operations or management.

From the class of 2014, Dr. Bradbury founded A Proper View after moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina following graduation. The New Practice Acquisition Award, which he was awarded with, recognizes an optometrist who holds a majority or equal ownership interest in a newly formed private practice.

The award ceremony was presented as part of the annual Bon VoyEyes program, which prepares third-year SCO students preparing for externships in their final year of optometry school. Each recipient shared their experiences and provided professional advice in a panel discussion with the students. CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, VSP Vision and Transitions sponsored the award program.

Autumn Adams, OD, purchased Global Eye Care of Cabot in Cabot, Arkansas, from her mentor and its former owner, James (Bart) Brady, OD, in 2021. Image via Global Eye Care of Cabot website

Derek Hennig, OD, is a partner at Lifetime Eye Care in Charleston, Illinois. Image via Lifetime Eyecare on Facebook

Andrew Bradbury, OD, is the founder of A Proper View in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Image via aproperview on Instagram