Faces Of Fargo Business: Dr. Nicholas Adams, CEO And Founder Of Center For Plastic Surgery

Written by: Brady Drake

Dr. Nicholas Adams was born and raised in Grand Forks, ND where he grew up working on the family farm and developed a strong work ethic working alongside his father. He also found inspiration from his mother who worked as a nurse anesthetist, ultimately driving Adams to discover his passion for medicine and surgery at a young age. Adams completed undergraduate and medical school degrees at The University of North Dakota and went on to complete a six-year residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan followed by a one-year hand and microsurgery fellowship at the University of Arizona in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2020, Adams moved back to Fargo with his wife and their daughters to launch the Center for Plastic Surgery.

“After seven years away, it feels good to be back home in the Midwest,” said Adams. “I am committed to providing the highest level of care, quality and innovation in Plastic Surgery, and I am honored to serve the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo community and surrounding region.”

Take us through a typical day in your life.

One of the things that attracted me to becoming a Plastic Surgeon is that there really is no typical day. Each patient is unique and deserving of their own approach, and my practice incorporates a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures.

The bookends of my days are the most routine, but also the most special part of each day. Most mornings, outside of surgery days, I drop my daughters off at school, and evenings include school-pick-up, family dinners and often games.

After family dinner and evening routines, I spend a few hours prepping for the following day, keeping up to date on the latest in plastic surgery, following up with patients, or working on the general business side of CFPS.

The time during my days is split between patient consults, in- office procedures, and operating. For days in the operating room, I get to the surgery center or hospital around 6:30 a.m. and can run up to 12 hours where I may operate on two to ten patients, depending on the procedures. For days not spent in the operating room, I am in the office seeing patients for consults or post-op follow-ups. I also schedule time each week to see patients for non-surgical procedures such as botox and fillers.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Fake it until you make it” – while this can occasionally be of value when relating to a profession or happiness, there is no room for “faking it”.

What keeps you up at night?

Paperwork and email. I tend to be a night owl. Some of the most productive hours of my day are after the household is asleep.

What would you give a TED Talk on?

Intentionality with work and life outside of work. The perfect work-life balance may not exist. However, there are ways to make both coexist happily. I knowingly took on a profession where I am on-call most days and am honored to do so for my patients. That said, there is nothing more important than creating space and time for your family and even for your own hobbies and personal goals. It goes back to intentionality with your time, energy and focus.

How does the reality of your job differ from people’s perception of it?

People’s perceptions of a plastic surgeon can at times be formed based on what they have seen on television or through social media. There have been reality television shows made about plastic surgeons and plastic surgery in general that are largely dramatized or focus on a made- for-TV personality and do not accurately depict the profession as a whole.

One misperception about Plastic Surgery is that it solely focuses on cosmetic surgery, such as breast augmentation. In reality, that is only one part of plastic surgery. Plastic Surgeons not only perform cosmetic surgery of the face and body, but they also operate on the hand as it is one of the most intricate and injured parts of the body. Plastic Surgeons also cover trauma call and regularly take care of patients with injuries to their face from an accident, burn, dog bite, and broken bones to the face or hands. In addition, Plastic Surgeons provide reconstructive surgery for patients after the removal of cancer throughout the body. We are not restricted to a region of the body. We truly operate on the entire body.

What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?

Think of us! Whether you, a friend or a family member might be in need of our services – consider a consultation and we’d love the opportunity to get to work with you.

If you could thank one person who’s contributed to your success, who would it be and why?

There have been so many. I don’t think I could list just one. The love and unwavering support from my parents undoubtedly allowed me to get where I am today. I also would not have successfully made it through seven years of training (after medical school) without my wife, Alissa. She has and continues to support me whole-heartedly allowing me to not only succeed but to excel. I absolutely couldn’t do this without her.

What’s your “why”?

My family and my patients. I strive each day to be a person and do work that makes my family proud. On the same front – I work diligently to ensure each of my patients receives my fullest attention and achieves the exceptional results that they desire. For many, their surgeries can be a life-changing experience, and I am incredibly proud and humbled to work with them to achieve their results.

What’s one characteristic you believe every great leader should possess?

Humility. This can encompass so many traits, but mainly I believe this to mean having a sense of gratitude each day for where you are, actively seeking to add value to other’s lives, and always being open to growth, learning and listening.

What’s one way you foster creativity within your organization?

As I build my practice from the ground up, I have been very intentional in creating an experience that provides more than what one might expect in a Plastic Surgery practice. I encourage my team to think outside the box in order to provide a curated, exceptional experience for our patients. I have enjoyed being able to join them in brainstorming both the patient experience as well as creating the culture at CFPS.

Who’s a leader you’re studying or paying attention to right now?

Ray Dalio. He has a unique approach to leadership, team dynamics, and life principles.

What’s a local/state resource your organization has utilized recently?

The North Dakota Small Business Development Center was extremely helpful in the development of Center for Plastic Surgery. Their team offered numerous valuable resources and provided several services that were instrumental in setting up and executing our business plan. I am very grateful to Paul Smith and his team at the NDSBC

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.