Opening one’s own business is a delicate process. The potential business owner needs to have within him or her a certain faith and confidence that their establishment will see success, and they have to want to put in the work that it takes to make that happen. For Dr. Eric May DPT ’13, who recently opened up May PT and Performance in Botkins, OH, the long hours and work are worth it, as he owes his success just as much to his work ethic as he does to his hometown area, as well as the University that helped him toward his profession.
May graduated from Anna High School, a small school in Anna, Ohio, with an interest in baseball and academics. In a familiar story, he wanted to major in physical therapy as a result of his own injuries and time spent with PTs as a high school athlete. He knew that his grades were good enough to get admitted through early assurance entry at University of Findlay, a path that allows incoming freshmen with a strong high school GPA and ACT or SAT score to be eligible to reserve their seat in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, and that he could benefit from the 3+3 model at UF where students complete three years of undergraduate coursework, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science for Health Professionals, before entering into the program for three years of graduate school.
May walked on to the baseball team at UF, at first as a pitcher, and later as a utility outfielder. Being a student-athlete was, as expected, equal parts rewarding and challenging, but May said he saw success by applying a not-so-surprising concept: attending class. He confessed to missing only one unexcused class in his entire six-year academic tenure as an Oiler, and highly recommends this method to current and future students. “There’s a reason you’re at school,” he said. “It’s to show up for class at the beginning, and stay until it ends. I treated it like work: you show up, because that’s what you’re supposed to do.” As a result, May said, he was better prepared than many other students when exam time came around, still having to study, but not as frantically as those who missed classes. “People would be cramming and nervous, but I felt a lot more calm knowing that I actually went to every class and paid attention, learning the stuff when I was supposed to. And there were a lot of great professors, too, so that helped a lot with my understanding of things.”
When the importance and demand of classwork took over, May, clearly pointed toward his goal of being a professional physical therapist, left the baseball team and focused on academics. There were certain things he didn’t want to – and couldn’t – miss, and May, the man who prided himself on “being there” for his studies, knew that, if he was going to realize his academic dream, it would need to be full steam ahead in that way. There were exciting hands-on opportunities coming at this point in the program for May, those that could make or break knowledge. “You know, you can’t retake anatomy. You can’t really ‘do over’ spending time in the cadaver lab and getting that hands-on experience,” he said.
Upon graduation, May took a winding road to get to where he is now. He worked as a PT in New Jersey, then in Bellefontaine, OH; owned a physical therapy business in Troy and Vandalia, both in Ohio; and was part-owner of a physical therapy practice in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Ultimately, however, May knew two things: he wanted to own his own business, and he wanted to do it as close to his hometown area as possible. May’s father has owned his own machine shop business for many years, and, by listening to him talk about it and “having it in his DNA,” May was destined for the same. He is extremely close with his family; his wife, Taylor is also from the area, and he, himself, is a self-described “hometown guy.” Since opening his clinic in October of 2020, May has continuously put in the long days and hours to make his business work. Along with seeing patients, he handles most of the administrative work and the social media management. He wouldn’t have it any other way, though, as he is very familiar, from his time as an Oiler, of the sacrifice and growth it takes to get to the end goal. The hard work and related tunnel vision he relied on at UF serves him just as well professionally as it did when he was a student, but it’s been a labor of love all along. “I really don’t do much outside of [the clinic], but I truly love what I do, so I’m okay with it. My wife is super-understanding, also, so that helps.”
May, who, with his wife, has an almost one year-old daughter named Evelyn, said that the best part of the job is building relationships with his clients, some of whom, seeing as how he’s back to the place of his roots, have a connection to his family and friends. This small-town relationship building mentality is something that, while already innate for May when he arrived on campus, was built upon even more by his time at UF. “UF definitely prepared me well for life as a physical therapist, but the friends I made, professors I built a relationship with, and the time living in Findlay also helped lay the foundation for where I am, as a whole, today,” May said. “I established my professional base at Findlay, but I just enjoyed [and benefitted from] the entire experience.”