his professional football career but signaled the beginning of his career in physical therapy.
After having reconstructive surgery on his knee, Lee underwent an intensive physical rehabilitation program to help him regain the use of his leg. That experience motivated him to choose physical therapy as a profession.
Lee, 46, opened the doors to the first Physical Therapy and Sports Assessment Center in 1991 and now owns five offices in Maryland and Washington, D.C. He co-owns another in Maryland. Startup costs for his most recent location were around $25,000.
A licensed physical therapist, Lee’s primary responsibility is to manage the practice directors, who oversee a staff of about 90. He markets his services to local doctors, hospitals, and professional athletic associations. Physical Therapy and Sports Assessment Center made $4.8 million last year, and Lee hopes to open more offices in the near future.
Business Innovator of the Year NOMINEES
This award recognizes companies that have set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry.
Mid-Atlantic Surgical Assoc. P.L.L.C., TYPE OF BUSINESS: Robotic surgery, FOUNDERS: Dr. John Crews and Dr. Derron Simon, LOCATION: Richmond, VA
This medical practice is truly space-age. Robotic surgery is a new phenomenon in the world of medicine, and Drs. John Crews and Derron Simon are two if its pioneers. They are the founders of Mid-Atlantic Surgical Associates and the first African American robotic surgery team.
In robotic or telerobotic surgery, the surgeon operates mechanical arms from a remote computer console while viewing a virtual, 3-D operating field. It was originally created by the Department of Defense to aid in the medical treatment of soldiers in wartime situations. The da Vinci surgical system is the robotic device Crews and Simon use to perform surgeries.
Technology that enables surgeons to feel tactile sensation while operating a telerobotic system has already been created and is awaiting approval by the Food & Drug Administration. Robotic surgery has been used to treat ailments common to African Americans, such as prostate cancer, coronary artery disease, and acid reflux. Among its touted advantages are less pain and trauma during the procedure, less blood loss, less post-operation pain and discomfort, and faster recovery.
Crews, 35, and Simon, 36, were trained in robotics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Maimonides Medical Center in New York, and Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore. They started their practice in 2002 with $60,000 and saw $820,000 in revenues last year.
Cultura, TYPE OF BUSINESS: Skin Care, FOUNDERS: Dr. Eliot F. Battle and Dr. Monte O. Harris, LOCATION: Washington, DC
Drs. Eliot F. Battle and Monte O. Harris opened the doors to Cultura, a cosmetic medical spa that specializes in the skin care needs of darker skin, in 2002. They decided to go into business to remedy what they saw as a lack of service in the cosmetic medical community for people of color. But their business strategy was unique: They decided not to advertise. The doctors had researched their potential clientele so thoroughly that they were confident their clients, the media, and the