Orthopedic surgeon keeps homes environmentally sound

A New York physician's environmental testing company finds hidden mold and detects lead-based paint.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Aug. 2, 2010

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Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: Rudolph F. Taddonio, MD

Specialty: Orthopedic surgery, focusing on disorders of the spine.

Location: His practice, Scoliosis and Spinal Surgery, has offices in White Plains, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn.

Company: RTK Environmental Group (link). The company inspects homes in the northeastern United States for various environmental contaminants and carries out energy and sustainability audits. Dr. Taddonio is part-owner.

Annual revenue: According to Dr. Taddonio, the company had more than $1 million in sales in 2009 and is on track to make $1.6 million in sales this year.

Why he started the business: Dr. Taddonio launched RTK in 1995, primarily to carry out testing for lead in paint. It took about a decade to start generating revenue, and the company gradually has expanded to provide testing for mold and asbestos, as well as assessments of how energy efficient or "green" a residence is.

"I thought it was a good business. I had good people working for me and working with me. I just stuck with it," Dr. Taddonio said.

He spends much of his time with his practice but meets several times a week with RTK staff to work on that business.

"This works another side of my brain that's a little more creative," Dr. Taddonio said.

Why he keeps practicing: "Medicine is my love. I love interacting with patients. I do very complex scoliosis surgeries. It's very, very rewarding. I don't think I will ever give it up."

Words of wisdom: RTK has a full-time CEO, and Dr. Taddonio said, "If you're not going to run the business full time, you have got to get someone who has a stake in the game to do it full time. We both have to be working well together as a team to solve problems."

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