our story

A humble beginning…

Owner Rick Seimears with his son and current owner Nate, in the early years of WDL.

In 1975 Rick Seimears returned home from his term in the Navy ready to begin a new chapter. He was unsure what career path to take so he asked the Lord to give him a sign. During his time in the service he was exposed to the process of making teeth, and after praying, felt led to pursue that field. He soon found a job at a local dental lab as a pickup and delivery driver. His new boss told him that if he stuck with it he could purchase the business from him. After a year of growth and skill building, the lab was his and Whatcom Dental Lab was born.

Early on in his career Rick had the opportunity to work for Dr. R.V. Tucker, the world renowned dentist based in Ferndale. He was fortunate enough to learn from, and work alongside Dr. Tucker for over 23 years until his passing.

the path forward…

Rick had a handful of local dentists mentor and encourage him throughout the years in addition to Dr. Tucker. One of his earliest accounts encouraged him to branch out into porcelain work, propelling the lab forward. While frequenting that same Doctor’s office he met a lovely dental assistant named Ann. They fell in love and have been happily married for 37 years. 

Whatcom Dental Lab grew throughout the decades.The location of the lab moved many times throughout the years to accommodate their changing needs. Now skilled in both gold and porcelain work, Rick was able to craft many different types of restorations. In 1990 they began adding employees to the team. Some of their earliest employees are still valued staff members.

A growth mindset…

The new lab building! This has been WDL’s home since 2017.

One of the advantages of growing up in a lab family is that you learn the trade young. Although all of Rick’s 5 children worked in or did odd jobs around the lab throughout the years, his son Nate began doing prep work in the lab at the age of 11. Nate had a strong drive to learn the trade, and by age 18 he was working full time as one of their skilled dental technicians.

Nate was soon a sought after technician in the area for cosmetic and complex cases. He had a bigger vision for Whatcom Dental Lab, and helped them adapt to the new technologies as well as create a plan to grow the lab’s clientele and staffing.

In 2017 Nate completed a commercial building to house the ever expanding business. With more room to grow, Whatcom Dental Lab was able to open a denture department and become a full service lab.

the journey ahead…

The current Whatcom Dental Lab owners; Nathan Seimears, Rick Seimears & Tom Hamilton

During the pandemic Rick got a taste of retirement and began to move forward with an exit plan. Nate became co-owners of Whatcom Dental Lab with another of the lab’s prominent technicians Tom Hamilton. Together they manage the lab’s day-to-day activities and growth. Rick continues to work in the lab as they transition into full ownership.

Whatcom Dental Lab is proud to now have more than 15 amazing employees on staff. They are passionate about creating a culture of collaboration, support and mentorship, not only in the lab, but with all Doctors and dental professionals they work with. They look forward to serving the community for many more decades to come.

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