“I don’t have a four-year college degree. I’m not particularly skilled. And my techniques haven’t always been the most sophisticated. If I operated a business by myself, I would surely fail. I need to be on a team.”
Greg Nelson has built his life upon the core values of teamwork, family and faith. He relied on these values to overcome significant obstacles as the eldest of two sons raised by a single mother amid challenging socioeconomic conditions. He infused these values – along with a robust Midwestern work ethic, indefatigable spirit and unrelenting optimism – into an acclaimed business career.Although he does not have a medical background (he holds an AA in Music), Greg was instrumental in boldly leading three orthopedic companies to high levels of national and international success. As President of DonJoy, Inc. (now DJO Global), founded in 1977, he helped catapult an upstart venture into a company that was sold in 1987 for $23 million. As Chairman of the Board of BREG, Inc., which he co-founded in 1989, he helped build a new enterprise into a dynamic company that was sold in 2003 for $150 million.
In 2007, Greg established United Orthopedic Group (UOG) with partner, Essex Woodlands Healthcare Ventures. As Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, he and his team directed a strategic series of acquisitions and organic growth that enabled UOG to carve out a coast-to-coast national footprint. In 2014, his involvement in the orthopedic business came full circle when he was instrumental in effecting the merger of UOG and BREG.
A well-known philanthropist in Carlsbad, California, where he and his wife, Barbi, have long made their home, Greg was honored by the City of Carlsbad as “Citizen of the Year” in 1991. He received the inaugural “Philanthropist of the Year” award from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce in 2006, the same year he donated $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad to kick-start a capital campaign to build the Bressi Ranch Clubhouse, which opened in 2013. Both branches have named the gymnasium in his honor.
Of all the accolades Greg has received, he is most proud of being inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame in 2008. He is one of a very select group that includes Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Vance and Michael Jordan, among others.
Like many of these notable alumni, Greg credits the Boys & Girls Club with providing a framework for his lifelong accomplishments; beginning with his schoolboy days as a member and continuing as an employee, Executive Director, Lifetime Honorary Board Member and sustaining contributor. It was at the Club and on the basketball court where he learned and honed the teamwork skills that would propel his incredible business success.
A collaborative, team-building leader and bold, strategic thinker, Greg also is a devoted family man; the father of four children and grandfather of five. He enjoys serving and mentoring others.