Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dr. Albert Arteaga finalist in Spirit of Entrepreneur Awards

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) – Dr. Albert Arteaga, founder and CEO of LaSalle Medical Associates, is a finalist in the sixth annual Spirit of the Entrepreneur awards sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino.

He will be honored during a black-tie awards ceremony at the Riverside Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 12. This event begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, with a dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

Dr. Arteaga is one of three finalists in the Corporate Entrepreneur Category, which recognizes the top entrepreneurs in medium to large-size companies. The award also honors local business people who have overcome challenges and given back to their community.

“I am honored to be named a finalist,” he said. “I’ve always thought that putting the needs of my patients first is a good way to do business. This award recognizes LaSalle Medical Associates as among the best in the Inland Empire, so that tells me my fellow business people also recognize it as a good business practice too.”

When Dr. Arteaga first opened LaSalle Medical Associates in 1984, he set out to not just aid those in need, but to change patients’ perception of “going to the doctor.” He explained, “I want everyone to feel that going to the doctor is no more intimidating than going to the grocery store.”

Dr. Arteaga started out as a pediatrician. Now, as the CEO of four medical clinics, his practice serves more than 100,000 people each year, from babies to seniors. He also owns an Independent Physicians’ Association serving 115 doctors.

Many of his patients are on Medi-Cal, and with a growing number of elderly patients, many on Medicare. Some have no health insurance at all. But with a strong belief that everyone deserves quality health care, Dr. Arteaga has parlayed this commitment into a business that last year made more than $40 million.

Dr. Arteaga has practiced a different approach to health care since the beginning. He models his practice after the way his father, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, ran the churches of which he was in charge.

“It seemed to me my father had a good way of running his business, which was churches,” Dr. Arteaga said. “He welcomed anyone who even approached the door of the church. And if the people weren’t good Christians, he still accepted them, knowing that in time, most of them would change their ways.So I said, my clinics are going to be run like churches. We don’t exclude patients. We welcome all who come in.”

That was 24 years ago. On the first day, Dr. Arteaga and his wife Maria, then employed as his nurse and still his chief assistant, saw two patients. Last year, Dr. Arteaga’s five medical clinics had 108,061 visits, and grossed a little more than $40 million.
Michael Stull, director for the Inland Center for Entrepreneurship, started this recognition program soon after coming to CSUSB in 2002.

Stull said this program not only promotes awareness of the Center for Entrepreneurship, but also provides role models to CSUSB students and local individuals interested in starting their own business.

“The Center for Entrepreneurship provides our students with solid instruction in how to be successful, which new businesses have a great need for in these economic times,” Stull said. And the businesses we are recognizing have been doing great things for awhile, which should serve as a motivation to anyone just starting out.”

Sponsors this year include The Business Press, Inland Empire Magazine, 951 Magazine, the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency, the Riverside County Economic Development Agency, the City of Riverside, Best, Best & Krieger, Citi, Quick Caption, Varner & Brandt, Citizens Business Bank and Tech Coast Angels, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and the Small Business Development Center.

For more information, go to or call Stull at (909) 537-3708.

LaSalle medical clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 1505 17th St. and 565 North Mount Vernon in San Bernardino and 16455 Main St. in Hesperia.

For an appointment or more information call LaSalle Medical Associates at (909) 890-0407.

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