The Interview: Lorenzo Bethea | News Center


Lorenzo Bethea joined the UNLV School of Dental Medicine in 2004 to be part of and help build something new after serving 22 years in the U.S. Air Force. He roots for Ohio State University’s football team (Go Buckeyes!), is a fan of amateur detectives shows, and is a “sales shopper” extraordinaire. 

What inspired you to get into your field?

I went into the military uncommitted to a career field, so I like to say the military inspired my career choice. Looking back, clearly the military knew what was best for my long-term future before I did.

Tell me about an a-ha moment in your career.

Fatherhood was the defining moment in my life and career. It’s the moment I stopped just having fun and truly focused on personal and professional self-improvement, as well as career growth.  

Job duties?

I develop and manage the school’s clinical operations, which includes budgetary and facilities data, analyzing patient utilization, and regulatory compliance. I also maintain appropriate clinical staffing levels, ensuring the availability of appropriate materials and equipment for patient care, and supervising the maintenance of school facilities.  

What was your greatest day on campus? And your toughest?

Being selected as the director of clinical operations at the dental school was my greatest day on campus, and it was punctuated by the staff organizing a surprise celebration party to recognize my accomplishment. I began my second career as a classified employee, so achieving the director’s position was most gratifying. However, an even greater feeling is knowing the people you work with are sincerely happy for your success.

The toughest day occurred during the recent economic downturn and I had to inform several employees that they were being laid off. 

Best tip or advice for someone new to UNLV?

For those new to the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, I let them know they are joining a close-knit group that uniquely cares about its colleagues’ well-being. They are not just starting a new job, they are becoming the newest members of the UNLV family.

What problem in the world would you most like to fix?

I would like to fix homelessness. No matter where you visit, there seems to be a homeless problem, and it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse instead of better.

What advice would you give your younger self?

My advice to my younger self is: stop trying to fit in and become a face in the crowd. Positive recognition is good; do not allow the negativity of others affect how you feel about your success and accomplishments. Embrace your greatness.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I worked part-time as a security host at two of Las Vegas’ most popular night clubs — Baby’s and Body English — for 12 years.

What’s your biggest pet peeve (at work or in life)?

People who quickly tell you something isn’t their job to avoid having to complete a task. 

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I wanted to go to Ohio State University, play football for Woody Hayes, and become a professional football player. Go Buckeyes!

What was the last show you binge-watched?  

I have always been a fan of amateur detective shows and movies. When Hulu announced it was making a fourth season of Veronica Mars and adding the original three seasons to its platform, I just had to binge-watch the first three in preparation for the fourth. The best part is seeing actors and actresses who were virtual unknowns at the time become some of the most recognizable TV and film stars in the world.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

What I call “sales shopping,” which should not be confused with shopping in general. While sales shopping can be time-consuming, nothing beats going through a sales rack and finding your item for 70 percent or more off the original price. 

My ideal summer vacation is…

Going to San Diego and enjoying the entertainment and eating options the city has to offer. Nothing beats being on the beach as the sun is rising, cup of coffee in hand, watching and listening to the waves roll in. It’s the most relaxing and peaceful experience that never gets old.

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