Third Generation of Bringing Smiles to Idaho Falls
Dr. Rodney H. Hillam began teaching son Jordan to bend wires in the family’s Idaho Falls orthodontic office when Jordan was 10 years old. But Jordan knew he wanted to work in the family business long before he started middle school.
“At my kindergarten graduation, I said I wanted to be an orthodontist just like my dad,” says Dr. Jordan Hillam, who joined Hillam Orthodontics (hillamorthodontics.com) last year. “I saw the influence my dad and grandpa (Dr. Harold G. Hillam) had in the community. People always came and thanked them for their smiles. My grandpa passed away four years ago, but before he died, he knew I would follow in his footsteps.”
‘I Would Have Liked to Be a Dentist’
Harold’s father grew up in Ashton, Idaho, and didn’t have the educational and professional opportunities his son later enjoyed. As the story is told, Harold’s father mentioned once that if he could choose any profession, it would be a dentist.
“My grandfather grew up thinking about that,” Jordan says. “He eventually attended Northwestern University and became a dentist. He started Hillam Orthodontics in Idaho Falls in 1966.” This year, Hillam Orthodontics celebrates 50 years in an industry that has existed for only a century.
“I don’t know of any third-generation orthodontists in the world besides myself and my brother,” Jordan says. “Orthodontics has changed a lot since my grandfather practiced, but the principles that he valued — excellence, honesty and treating patients like family — continue today. My two brothers and I have all pursued careers in dentistry, all because of a comment my great-grandfather made.”
Finding a Way to Purchase a Home
After 10 years of intensive study, Jordan returned to Idaho Falls with his young family to begin a career and serve the community. But with student loan debt and little income for the last decade, Jordan had difficulty securing a home loan.
Debbie Nelson, a loan officer at Zions Bank in Ammon, worked with Jordan and his family to fulfill their dream of owning a home.
“We have an early professionals program for doctors, attorneys, CPAs and other professionals who are just starting out,” Nelson says. “Jordan happened to call me. I said, ‘Come in and bring me your documentation.’ Through the program, we were able to get him a home loan. He was very excited because they didn’t have to rent anymore.”
“It’s nothing fancy — just a little townhome,” Jordan says. “But it’s ours. It’s nice to know there’s a program available for students coming out of school who want to get into something reasonable. When everyone else said no, Zions found a way to say yes.”
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
As Jordan begins his career and carries on his family’s legacy, he hopes he can continue to serve the community.
“My dad and grandpa never said I had to do orthodontics; their examples made me want to be like them,” Jordan says. “I’m grateful for the people who came before me. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. But because we’re standing on their shoulders, hopefully we can reach a little higher than they could.”