Reflections on Innovation and Legacy as Hu‑Friedy Enters a New Chapter

| 08-12-2019
Hu-Friedy Dick Saslow Birthday Blog Post

Celebrating the Birthday of Chairman Emeritus Dick Saslow

When Dick Saslow acquired Hu-Friedy in 1958, the then 50-year-old company had only six employees – two artisans, two in corporate, and two in shipping. From those humble origins, Dick’s leadership and strategic vision served as a foundation for Hu-Friedy’s growth into a global leader in dental instrument manufacturing and infection prevention solutions.

Over 60 years later and Hu-Friedy continues to innovate with new product lines and service solutions, but Dick did not do it alone. Along the way, he built strong relationships with industry stakeholders and developed a committed and value-oriented staff. But no relationship defines the legacy of Hu-Friedy more so than that of father and son because Dick passed on his dedication to product leadership and commitment to core values to Ron Saslow and the next generation of Hu-Friedy leadership, who helped usher in a new era of education, technical innovation, and service enhancements.

Under Ron Saslow, CEO since 2004 and Chairman since 2011, Hu-Friedy has continued its growth as a full-service provider of products and services, culminating in an industry leading position in dental instrumentation and instrument management solutions. Throughout it all, Hu-Friedy has remained committed to a core set of values and a strategic approach that Dick established and passed on to Ron.

Today, in honor of Dick’s birthday, we are celebrating the Saslow family and looking back at their legacy of innovation and how it shaped Hu-Friedy into the company it is today.

Striving for Perfection

Dick Saslow

When Dick acquired Hu-Friedy he knew little about the dental industry, but what he did know was that customers flock to great products that could improve their clinical performance. The emphasis on high-quality manufacturing continues to define Hu-Friedy’s approach to its products. Thanks to Dick’s dedication to perfection, Hu-Friedy is proud to deliver the sharpest, longest-lasting scalers in the industry along with over 10,000 other products that serve as an extension of clinicians’ hands.

It was this same commitment that led to the development of the Instrument Management System (IMS®) in the early 1980s as a safer, more efficient method to store and reprocess instruments. The Saslow family understood that advancing dental performance meant more than improving the quality of instrumentation, and IMS represented a renewed promise to customers that Hu-Friedy is a partner in helping them perform at their best.

A Culture of Teamwork

Beyond a deep-set belief in quality, perfection, and innovation in manufacturing, Dick knew that he needed a great team to enact his vision for the company. A collaborator first and foremost, Dick sought out the best talent to tap into their abilities and expertise. Whether it was in manufacturing or marketing and sales, Dick understood that the best way for Hu-Friedy to succeed was through cultivating a strong culture of teamwork by empowering employees with expertise to lead the way.

Dick introduced a core value system that is deeply embedded in the company spirit. This culture of teamwork is foundational to the success of the company, and to this day, many employees stay at Hu-Friedy for up to 30 and 40 years.

Strategic Partnerships

From the start, Dick understood that success in the dental industry hinged on strong partnerships and relationships with outside stakeholders. Dick was an early proponent of the distribution channel and worked diligently to create strong partnerships with distributors that continue to this day. He also quickly recognized the importance of emphasizing the full professional lifecycle of a clinician and built strong relationships with schools to create a bridge between student and practitioner. Today, Hu-Friedy products can be found in dental schools around the world, exposing students early to top-quality instrumentation.

As Hu-Friedy enters the next stage of its evolution, strategic partnerships are more important than ever to fulfilling our mission to advance dental performance smile after smile.

A Lot’s Changed Since 1958

While the industry – and Hu-Friedy along with it – continues to evolve, the Saslow family’s legacy of innovation and commitment to core values remains central to our approach. Whether it’s in the manufacturing process, corporate culture, or strategic partnership development, Dick continues to cast a long shadow within the organization both through his own legacy and through the wisdom and expertise he passed to the next generation. So, while a lot has changed since 1958, our approach remains consistent thanks to Dick and Ron.

From all of us at Hu-Friedy, Happy Birthday Dick!

Blog Comments

Happy Birthday Mr. Saslow! I hope you enjoy your special day!

All the Best,
Juanita Pacheco


Eileen Mc

I went to the Hu-Friday website as I needed your address for a form and saw it was your birthday celebration. Happy Birthday, Dick. You taught me a lot when I worked at Hu-Friday so many years ago. Thank you for helping me truly begin my professional life.

So sorry I missed the actual birthday date, but still wishing you many more Happy Birthdays to come!!