Physical Therapy and Wellness Center, Inc.
and Tehama Family Fitness Center
● By Melissa Mendonca
Working it Out
Story by Melissa Mendonca
Photos by Jen Peterson
THE SECRET to success at Red Bluff’s Physical Therapy and Wellness Center is no secret at all. “The common denominator here, the reason we do so well,” says CEO Ed Stroman, “is stability. Everyone has chosen to be in Red Bluff. It’s easy to keep good people.”
It wasn’t always this way. Stroman remembers a time when the center had a revolving door of therapists from out of the area who for one reason or another would move on. Sometimes the intense summers drove them away, sometimes the town felt too small.
What’s changed for the center is the community’s efforts to grow its own professionals.
Junior partner Lonnie Scott came back to Red Bluff after his first job with the San Diego Chargers. “Lonnie used to work with us here when he was 17 years old,” says Stroman. “He would do the laundry at night, clean up. He was a pretty good student and athlete and he went off to college.” While the time with the Chargers was fun, there was a lure home. “I needed a business manager and someone to take over what I was doing at the high school, which was athletic training. I brought him home,” Stroman adds.
“Lonnie has made that an incredible program,” he continues. “Because of that, just about all of our employees have gone through ROP (Regional Occupational Program at Red Bluff High School) and come back to work for us.”
Adding to the line-up of therapists is Stroman’s own son, Jacob, who graduated Red Bluff High and went on to Feather River College, Chico State University and University of the Pacific, where he received his doctorate to become a physical therapist. “I don’t want to be his boss,” Stroman says with a laugh. “I just want to be his dad. I have people that can take care of that for me. He’s an altruistic guy. Everyone’s important to him. That’s what I love about him.”
Taking care of Jacob and the rest of the team is Dale Mendenhall, the center’s vice president. “He came back,” Stroman says of the Red Bluff native. “He had a lot of opportunities in different parts of the country because he’s very bright. He looked around and decided this is where he wants to be.”
The only “transplant” is their only female therapist, Megan Jackson of Grass Valley, who attended Chico State and University of the Pacific and has a background in special education and neurological impairments.
Stroman’s own journey to Red Bluff started in high school in the Bay Area. “I always remembered Red Bluff because our basketball coach used to bring us to Shasta Lake for a week. We would stop in Red Bluff at the Chicken Shack. I remembered the quaint Main Street.”
When his sister told him that Bob Green was looking for a junior partner in his physical therapy practice, he left a Fresno clinic and took advantage of the opportunity. Green and Stroman steadily built their business together until Green died tragically in a plane crash; Stroman then became CEO and president.
The team at Physical Therapy and Wellness has created a place for comprehensive physical therapy for a range of conditions, from elite athlete wellness to rehabilitation for carpal tunnel and occupational injuries. “We just added 700 feet to our gym in the physical therapy part and it looks like a college training program,” says Stroman. “We got AstroTurf out in the training room. It’s pretty spectacular.”
Complementing the Physical Therapy and Wellness Center is Tehama Family Fitness Center next door, which Stroman opened in September 2001. The fitness center complements the wellness center’s goals of getting people moving for better health and is co-owned by Stroman’s daughter, Aubrie Thomas, and Kyle Tingley. Across the way is St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, where youngest daughter Ashtin is a nurse. “All three of these kids,” Stroman says wistfully and with gratitude in his voice. “I could throw a rock and hit them.”
When Stroman moved to Red Bluff in 1986 with wife Karla, he told her, “All I want is property.” It’s clear the couple has received so much more. •
Physical Therapy and Wellness Center, Inc.
2490 S. Main St., Red Bluff
Tehama Family Fitness Center
2498 S. Main St., Red Bluff