Shayne Peterson could write a book on entrepreneurship in the rehab therapy space—and judging by his enthusiasm for trying new things, you just might see his name on the shelves at Barnes & Noble at some point in the future.
“Most PTs go into the field to provide care,” he said. “However, if they’re going to be relevant, they need to be a little more business-minded. They need to get out of the medical-model box and operate as stand-alone businesses.”
Shayne’s path to rehab therapy business success started when, as a student at Yavapai College, he became interested in the field of sports medicine. “Growing up, I played basketball, baseball, football—I was always really active,” he said. When his girlfriend, Shelley—who later became his wife—injured her knee and started seeing a physical therapist, Shayne got his first glimpse into the world of PT. “I would see athletes coming into the clinic, and I thought, ‘This might be something I’m interested in,’” he recalled. “I thought it would allow me to be involved with the sporting arena but also be in health care.”
So, he made his first bold career move: asking Shelley’s therapist if he could help out around the clinic. That led to a full-time job as a PT tech. Eventually, though, Shayne migrated into the field of athletic training, as that specialty allowed him to work specifically with athletes. After receiving a scholarship to the University of Utah, Shayne enrolled in the school’s athletic training program. As a student athletic trainer, he had the opportunity to work with athletes from a variety of sports teams, including basketball, tennis, and football.
Once he graduated, Shayne—a native of Prescott, Arizona—headed back to the Grand Canyon State to work for a sports medicine center in Mesa. As part of that role, he served as the head athletic trainer for a couple of Phoenix-area high schools. And while he enjoyed helping young athletes, the hours were not conducive to raising a family. “At that point, I had two kids, and it was tough to manage my time at home and away from home,” he said.
Ever the family man, Shayne ultimately gave up the high school sports gig so he could work more traditional hours at a local physical therapy clinic. During that time, he noticed there was a large gym across the street—an observation that led to a major light-bulb moment. His entrepreneurial instincts took over, and he approached the manager of the gym to pitch his idea: starting a post-rehab training program to transition physical therapy patients into a gym setting. The manager said yes, and Continuum Wellness Clinic was born.
But starting a successful business wasn’t enough to extinguish Shayne’s entrepreneurial fire; if anything, it fanned the flames. “After about a year and a half or two years, I decided to put an ad in the paper to hire a PT,” he said. “Then, I approached the owner [of the gym] and said, ‘I want to turn 500 square feet of this gym into a PT clinic’—and the owner said, ‘Sure.’”
After running that practice for a few years, Shayne did yet another family-related career pivot. “My brother had just graduated from PT school at NAU, and I wanted to go into business with him. So, I sold my partnership in Continuum and started up a clinic in Prescott with my brother,” he explained.
During the 14 years he practiced at that clinic, he also started a home health agency with his wife. With two successful family businesses off the ground, he could really focus his attention on his three daughters: Caitlin, Kendall, and Mackenzie, who are now 23, 21, and 19 years old, respectively. “Those were some crazy times, running a business with three teenagers in the house,” he said with a laugh. “It was nutso. But it was really fun, too. They’re all athletic, and it was fun watching all of their sporting events.”
With his daughters grown, though, Shayne decided to sell off his ownership stakes and venture outside of the private practice world. “The timing just felt right,” he said. “There were a lot of contributing factors.” Plus, after meeting Doug Severson—a member of WebPT’s product development team—at an industry conference, Shayne was intrigued by the prospect of getting his hands in the technology side of the PT industry. “I’ve always been interested in technology and how software delivers valuable tools to providers to help make their jobs easier,” he said. “I thought maybe I could share my experiences with a business that develops those kinds of tools.”
He expressed interest in joining the WebPT team, and before long, our Member Care department brought him on board as an Enterprise Account Manager. In that role, he helps make sure WebPT’s enterprise customers are getting the most value out of our products. Often, that means making onsite visits to discuss enterprise practices’ unique needs. “I enjoy traveling and seeing different locations and how different Members do business—to analyze their workflows and be able to offer resolutions to issues through the app,” he said. “It’s almost like consulting, and I enjoy that part a lot. To be able to share my experience and knowledge—that’s kind of gratifying.”
Outside of work, Shayne spends as much time as he can outdoors—wakeboarding, snowboarding, running, and biking. In fact, he recently completed the Whiskey Off-Road Challenge, a 30-mile endurance biking event in Prescott, where he took home sixth-place honors in the single-speed race.
And while Shayne might not be finished reinventing himself professionally—he’s still got that book to write, after all—he’s definitely excited by the prospect of helping shape a tool that has the potential to elevate the entire rehab therapy industry. “It’s great to get out in front of these forward-thinking companies to tell them what’s coming down the pike and ask them where their weaknesses lie, so we can find out what the app can do to strengthen those weak points,” he said.
Fave Five with Shayne
- Favorite food: Fish tacos
- Favorite movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious
- Favorite sports team: Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Cardinals
- Favorite band: Depeche Mode
- Favorite place: Moorea Island (just north of Tahiti)