Michael Servi, OD ’15, came into ICO with more than one ambition. He wanted to be a great optometrist, but also had a different business brewing… literally! Badger State Brewing Company, owned by Servi and two colleagues, required time and attention. Servi returned to Green Bay, Wisconsin, multiple times a month throughout his entire course of study at ICO.
Today, Dr. Servi works at Tower Clock Eye Center in his hometown. Founded in 1982, this practice now has three locations employing optometrists as well as ophthalmologists. Coincidentally, one of Servi’s colleagues is an ICO grad – Amanda Schuster, OD ’10.
Servi manages to see 25-30 patients a day, while simultaneously sharing ownership of Badger State Brewing Company. Brewing a batch of beer takes 10 hours. So, to contribute to both jobs, Dr. Servi almost has to be in two places at once! How does this multi-talented OD balance eye care and brewing in the home of the Green Bay Packers? Let’s take a Close Up look.
“First thing I do is I check my schedule- kind of review what patients are coming and what different things I can help them with. Then, I just hit the ground running. I won’t stop seeing patients ‘til noon, usually.”
“The ‘hometown kid’ always draws a lot of patients. From the moment they walk in, they are treated with a small-town doctor atmosphere at a very efficient rate. This patient was a general eye exam with dilation.”
“That’s our secondary waiting room- our dilating waiting room. That is an antique keratometer.”
“Dr. Matt Thompson, our corneal specialist, really took me under his wing when I started. It was my 1-year anniversary week, so we were talking about contract renewal and yearly review. Good review!”
“Birthdays, man! A lot of our staff likes to cook, garden… so there’s always usually something in the break room.”
“We use the Epic refraction system. It cuts the refraction time down to one minute. You start with an auto refraction, then it’s honed in with the Epic system. I’m still a believer in the traditional refraction, so I double-check it with that, too. It allows me to get multiple data points to get the best prescription.”
“Every day, I like to say goodbye to the staff. I stop at the front desk, then the phone service, then the tech station to say, ‘Thanks for your help.’”
“Wisconsin is known as the Badger State. It comes from the old miners in Northern Wisconsin. They were called ‘Badger Boys,’ because in the winter, when the bad weather was coming down, they’d actually dig into a hole like a badger.”
“We are a block away from Lambeau Field. We get some players in sometimes and the coach in once in a while. Our landlord has a large parking lot that people tailgate in.”
“We’re brewing a Belgian Witbier. They were finishing up the brew and I was getting prepared for a canning run. I check the seams on the can to make sure it’s sealed properly.”
“Our yeast is from Chicago! All of our ingredients we try to locally source, but some you can’t- some hops don’t grow well in Wisconsin.”
“You always have to measure the sugar content after you brew a beer, and measuring the pH as well- that’s important for fermentation.”
“I don’t have time to brew anymore, but I still like to do all of the microbiology and water chemistry. Water is the most important part of beer. We add different salts to the beer to mimic certain areas of the world… If you’re gonna make a stout, you want to mimic Ireland’s water. If you want to make a Pilsner, you want to mimic Germany’s water. “
“We make beer for stores and bars, but the taproom is a nice way for people to take a tour or hang out and try all our different beers. Certain beers are only available through the taproom. They’re like our testing facility. We try to brew a new beer every week, then we get feedback on it to see if we should make it into a large batch or not.”
“I usually run into someone in the taproom that I know so I talk to one of them for a while. I then go home and go to the Y to work out, then go home to eat.”
If you’re ever...
If you’re ever in Green Bay for a Packers game, be sure to stop by Badger State Brewing Company to try Dr. Servi’s personal recipe, Walloon Witbier. You’ll certainly be impressed- both with the beverage and the way Dr. Servi so adeptly balances jobs. “Keep your customers and your patients happy, and success will come,” he says. Cheers!