Money can buy you a lot of things. It can buy you power, respect, goods and services, and loads of comfort and convenience. What it can’t buy you is a mindset. And in this case, a mindset to do good and help benefit those in this world who are less fortunate than others.
As a contributor to this site, I am fortunate to have access to the world’s best cars and hotels, and I’ve visited 76 countries to see how my fellow human beings carve out their daily existence around the world.
Now some of the places I’ve visited have been off the charts in terms of luxury and beauty. Take Muscat, Oman for example. Oman is a small, West Asian country on the Arabian Peninsula that has breathtaking views from high above the seas, a lunar-like topography that is almost surreal to experience, and luxury hotels and villas that will absolutely blow your mind. The roads there are as smooth glass, the streets are clean enough to eat on, and the country was governed by a King that actually cared about the citizens and guest workers that inhabit this special place.
Governed by a King that actually cares… Why is caring amongst the rich and powerful sometimes an aberration instead of the norm? While I don’t have the answer to that question, I do know that over my years and millions of miles of travels, I’ve met some people who are just as special, and share the same “care” sentiment as Omani King Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who passed away in January of this year.
One of them is Dr. Larry Caplin, CEO of DOCS Health, founder of CF Charities, and a national leader on public health subjects and healthcare logistics.
DOCS Health is a progressive healthcare movement with one mission: To provide access to comprehensive healthcare and innovative solutions for schools, military and government agencies, correctional facilities, and corporations around the world.
Headquartered in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, DOCS Health operates a fleet of over 50 mobile health practices, and employs over 7,500 skilled medical and dental professionals who deliver on-site healthcare with there is limited or no access to care.
You can only imagine the impact that Dr. Caplin’s company has had on the nation under the vise-like grip of COVID-19.
I came to know Dr. Caplin through a great friend that I’ve known for several years, Antone Barnes of the media firm The Brand Architects. Antone called me recently and said “Brian, you’re the car guy. How’d you like to interview a client that not only does good through his company and personal philanthrophy, but he’s also the first to buy the latest ‘World’s Fastest Production Vehicle,’ the 1,750 horsepower, 331.5 miles per hour SSC Tuatara.”
Of course this was a no-brainer for me. To talk about a $1.9 million, U.S.A. developed and built Hypercar is always going to be an easy “yes” for me in terms of a great story to cover. Then add in the fact that the person who bought this car is also a great American.
I recently spoke to Dr. Caplin about his company, the Coronavirus, his philanthropy, and how he will use his supercar Tuatara to raise money for programs that support youth, underserved communities of all colors, and our military families worldwide:
The Pursuitist: Greetings Dr. Caplin. You recently purchased the world’s fastest automobile, the SSC Tuatara. We’re going to get into that in just a minute because in itself that’s a remarkable thing.
But I wanted to talk to you a little bit first about your company DOCS Health and also your CF Charities organization. It says in the DOCS Health mission statement “The mission is to provide access to comprehensive healthcare and innovative solutions with schools, military, and government agencies, correction facilities and corporations around the world.” You employ skilled medical and dental professionals who deliver onsite healthcare. The world and the United States are going through a very difficult time with the Coronavirus. Have you been able to lessen the impact of coronavirus in the communities that you serve through your DOCS Health organization?
Dr. Caplin: Yes we have. Initially we launched into supporting COVID-19 testing. Working with the Department of Health for the city of Philadelphia we were providing their testing. The southeastern part of the state of Virginia covering testing there, the eastern half of North Carolina covering testing there. We have the capacity to deploy personnel, equipment, facilities, technology, anywhere it needs to be deployed in order to get care to populations that don’t have easy access to care.
So, we leveraged our ability to do that right away in order to make an impact on the implementation of testing. In addition to that, I am fortunate enough to have one son who’s a mechanical engineer, one who is a biomedical engineer computer science dual-degree kid, one who’s an electrical engineer in robotics, and then one that is an MBA in public health. So since I paid for their tuition I brought them back into my company. Some are still finishing their education.
And we sat down and created a device that would allow businesses, government agencies, schools, churches, to have everyone before they come to their location prescreen and then be issued a code to their phone. And when they come to the facility the device reads that code, knows that they’ve been cleared, knows that they belong there and then accurately takes their temperature to confirm that they also don’t have a fever and then gives them access to the facility. So it’ll pop the door or gate or a turnstile. It also ties into their security cameras and security system and have intercom capability.
So, with having three engineers and a public health degree children we collectively worked together to build a device called CapScann that we’re now selling all over the country and really the world that is helping people reopen and be able to keep people who have been exposed or who have symptoms from coming into locations so that we can make an impact that way and helping get the economy and the country back open again. We are getting care where people either live, work or play in environments where they traditionally have limited or no access to healthcare.
The Pursuitist: Is this mostly through mobile facilities?
Dr. Caplin: It’s a combination. We do some of it through a fleet of mobile facilities. We do some of it through portable equipment and then we do some of it through fixed sites. We have about 11,000 practices that are part of a network that we deploy people into as well. We don’t own those practices but they’re part of our network.
The Pursuitist: Great. What is your formal training Dr. Caplin?
Dr. Caplin: I’m a dentist by training.
The Pursuitist: As I perused your website and the CF Charities website its clear that mobile dental care is also one of the avenues that you provide care for around the country.
Dr. Caplin: It is. We do a lot of dental and we frequently then are asked to provide more comprehensive healthcare, medical, et cetera, whether it’s vision care, hearing, audiology exams, physical examinations, immunizations, vaccinations — it runs the gamut of those services. I explain to people that I really build bridges and roads. So, I’ll build a highway that will connect a population of people who don’t have easy access to care with care delivery capability.
The Pursuitist: Okay. So you’ve had a tremendous amount of success personally with your company but you’ve also given a lot back through your CF charities foundation. You have programs called Generation Nextand Healthy Attitude, Promise Scholars, and Kelly’s Angels listed on your CF Charities website. What is CF Charities all about and what kind of impact have these charities had on local communities and on the nation?
Dr. Caplin: So, we put together CF Charities 12 years ago because people not only needed access to care but they needed the opportunity to participate in the solution. And frequently the populations who have the greatest need for care are also the populations that are the least likely to be able to participate in the solution to that problem. So, what CF Charities did was establish training programs in public schools for children to become dental assistants or med techs or pharmacy techs wrapped around mentorship programs and support that those kids needed. And then, provided them with funding through scholarships for secondary education, professional education, beyond that.
What we’ve done is gone to populations of students who otherwise may not have thought they were going to graduate high school that are now going on to become physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, pharmacy techs, and are participating in the solution. We create that path for them and make that opportunity available but they have to carry their own water. They need to do the work in order to make it through. And as we identify areas where they need support and that could be anything from “I can’t afford to get back and forth to college so I’m going to have to drop out,” to “I don’t have a computer and I’m not going to be able to continue with my education.” That makes no sense. So, we’re taking very bright, capable, hardworking children and young people, and just being a champion for them to help them get to where they are. The impact has been monumental across the country.
The Pursuitist: And how many students and young people have you impacted over those 12 years?
Dr. Caplin: Oh my goodness. I mean it’s thousands of children that we’ve impacted. I couldn’t give you an accurate number because there’s so many and it comes in many, many forms. So some are directly pipe-lining through programs like this, others we’re doing much larger event based programs where we’re getting them supplies that they need in a broad way for an entire school district of 200,000 students or getting care to populations where there’s 80,000 students in the district, that kind of thing. So it’s broad-based. Effectively, we are champions for kids.
The Pursuitist: Amazing work. Your statement on your website says, “Just do the right thing.” What does that mean to you Dr. Caplin?
Dr. Caplin: So I trademarked that 25 years ago and have carried it with me ever since. It’s really about integrity. If I could surround myself with high integrity people then people make decisions for the right reasons, not for the wrong reasons. And you ultimately do the right thing. If you stay centered on that then everything becomes a lot easier. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had mentors that are much senior to me and they guided me down this path and in doing so they made it apparent to me that I have that same responsibility for the next generation. Now, the two greatest of those mentors have since passed and it’s my turn to carry the torch but it’s also my responsibility to find the next generation that’s going to carry the torch after I’m gone.
The Pursuitist: And I would assume that you hope that your four children are part of that next generation to carry the torch?
Dr. Caplin: They’ve been raised that way but it needs to be much broader than that. If we can touch thousands of people and have them walk away with the ability to look at themselves and see how they can help and how they can make a difference then that’s how you really scale. I can’t have enough kids to do that.
The Pursuitist: This is really a great story Dr. Caplin. Let’s transition now to cars. Talk about the impact that cars have had on your life and your passion for automobiles and then we can talk about the Tuatara.
Dr. Caplin: So for me, America has a love affair with cars. That’s just part of the culture. I grew up in a family where my father literally washed his car every day when he came home. We didn’t have a lot growing up but my father always took care of his car. And I would frequently wash the car with him and it was how I spent time with him and how I would learn lessons just from talking while we were doing this every single day.
And then, the very first job I had was sweeping floors in a shop and emptying the trash and scraping the grease off the floor. And that turned into doing brake jobs or making exhaust systems or rebuilding alternators and on and on and on. And that started when I was 12. So, being involved with cars and recognizing it’s a common affinity that people can communicate when they’re interacting with them was something that became apparent to me. The very first super car I ever bought was the SSC Ultimate Aero. So the very first one that I purchased was literally the fastest car in the world at the time.
The Pursuitist: What year was that?
Dr. Caplin: I purchased the Aero in 2012. So that car had been the fastest car, but Bugatti had taken the record back but it was the model that was one of the fastest cars. So, I started with SSC and growing up as someone who didn’t have a lot — I mean look, I had clean clothes, I had a family that cared, I had food on the table and it was impressed upon me that education was an important path to feed my future success. So, that’s what I had. I didn’t have money and resources. So I never thought that I would own a car like that. So when I purchased that car I drove it. I know a lot of people buy these cars and they put them away but I drove it.
And at the time I was trying to find a way to raise money for the charity and I was exhausted with golf outings and what I refer to as “rubber chicken” dinners. I had a lot of people wanting to see this car because it was so rare. There were only three in the United States and it was car 15 of 15 ever to be built. So, people wanted to see the car which then led me to the idea “let’s utilize access to the car as a way for people to donate money to the charity,” which launched the CF Charity Supercar Weekend which is what it is now. And that’s how that actually came to be was as a result of me getting that SSC Ultimate Aero and that launched me into the car community in a real way.
The Pursuitist: Okay so you’ve added a new SSC car to the mix and it just happens to be the first of 100 I believe that they’re going to build and it’s the current fastest car in the world at 331 miles per hour. Talk about how you came to buy the Tuatara and how you’ll use it just like the Ultimate Aero to help raise money for charity.
Dr. Caplin: So, because there were so few SSC Ultimate Aero owners and I was literally the only one in the world who actually drove the car on public roads — I had a pretty close relationship with the manufacturer, SSC, and Jared Shelby the owner. So, when they were developing the Tuatara we were in conversation and they asked me for input on some different aspects of it but also asked me if I would be interested in being the owner of the first car because of my relationship with them and being really one of the only people known for owning an SSC. And I liked the idea that a small underdog company who built something that was such high quality was going to take on the giants, like Bugatti, which is owned by Volkswagen.
So a combination of people got together and of course with me buying the first car I injected resources into the company for them to be able to continue to advance forward at the times where they needed it. I don’t own any of SSC, but I just advanced resources based on purchasing the car in the future to help them along. So that combination helped get it down the path with Jared Shelby and his team and Nelson Racing Engines doing all of the heavy lifting as it relates to the engineering and noted designer Jason Castriota and his team carrying all of it as relates to the design and aerodynamics on the vehicle in order to get it there. So, I had a very small part in this process as it relates to all of that. But that’s how I ended up being the guy who owns car number one and the car that actually set the record.
The Pursuitist: Dr. Caplin, how will you use the car for raising additional funds for charity?
Dr. Caplin: So, we’re launching a campaign to raise a thousand dollars for every mile an hour of our average speed down and back (316 mph). So, we’re launching a campaign to raise $316,000 through the Tuatara. Obviously there are a lot of people who would like to see the car that actually set the record, so we’ll have events where the car will be showcased. One will be at the CF Charities event June 5-6 in 2021. There will be other events that we’ll do as well. But it’s really about using the cars for a cause. And I’ve done that with all the cars that I have because between the first SSC and now this SSC there’s a whole bunch of cars in between that came along that are part of my collection and that I utilize to raise money for charity.
The Pursuitist: So what’s it like driving a car like the Tuatara?
Dr. Caplin: It depends on your perspective. So it depends on how you’re asking me that question.
The Pursuitist: Well, when I drove the Bugatti Veyron that was the ultimate experience for me. I can only imagine what driving a car capable of 331 miles per hour feels like. You’re the baddest car guy on the planet right now!
Dr. Caplin: I don’t know about that. The reason I’m pausing is because driving that car is incredibly powerful but not for the reason you think. It’s not because of the car’s capability, or the car’s speed, or the car’s design and records, that’s not why. It’s because what that car is capable of doing broadly. The fact that the Tuatara will help raise money to support people who need the help is so much more powerful than what that car can do in a record book that that’s why that car is powerful to me.
The Pursuitist: That is the most profound statement I’ve ever heard from anyone in all the interviews I’ve done over my entire career. I appreciate your time for this interview.
It was a genuine pleasure talking to Dr. Caplin, and learning more about his super efforts to give make a real difference in the lives of others.
For more on his company, please visit docs.health. For more on his charitable efforts, please visit www.cfcharities.org.
Pursuitist automotive and lifestyle contributor Brian Armstead has been involved in print, radio, web and television for over 47 years. Brian has traveled to 79 countries. He is a North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Juror.