Team player, worker bee prefers to ‘lead by example’

Dr. Susan Rector  Mississippi Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery PC Surgeon, president and co-owner

Dr. Sue Rector

Dr. Susan Rector shies away from the word “leader” in describing herself, and rather prefers to be known as a worker bee and team player. 

“I like to lead by example. I just think it’s important to have a positive attitude and be willing to work,” she says.  

In fact, the co-owner of Mississippi Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery PC said “I love to work” and that is both in her profession as an oral surgeon and in her Quad Cities community. “Anything you assign me, I’m going to do it with a 110% effort. I’m a good rule follower, and I think that’s an important thing in your life – as well as volunteering,” she told the QCBJ. 

But others are quick to see her indelible mark she’s made in role as a leader. Dr. Rector, who served as the 2023 John Deere Classic volunteer board chairman, was nominated by Tournament Director Andrew Lehman and 2022 JDC Chairman Pat Eikenberry. 

“I have witnessed her consistently demonstrate leadership, integrity, compassion, a friendly smile and positivity,” Mr. Eikenberry wrote.   

Mr. Lehman added “She does an incredible job of balancing her very busy career as an oral surgeon, a mom, a wife and a community leader. … there is no doubt that anyone who knows Sue is inspired to be the best version of themselves.” 

Dr. Rector joined the JDC organization 10 years ago after being a board member of First Tee of the Quad Cities, a youth development organization centered around golf. 

But she never envisioned rising to take the volunteer lead of the Quad Cities PGA Tour event. “I really thought that is such a big commitment, I’m not sure I’m ready to take it. But it was the most rewarding experience I think I’ve had.”

She added “I just think back on it and how remarkable it was. The stars really aligned. We had perfect weather. The concerts (Concerts on the Course) went over with a bang. We raised a record amount for local regional charities, and that’s the biggest thing. That’s what I’m most proud of, that record amount we raised. I’m confident this year will be equally great.”  

In addition to the JDC, she is extremely active in professional organizations, including as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, and in leadership roles with state and national dental associations. 

In her community, she served as a board member on the Rock Island County Vicariate School Board and its second president. She later served on the boards of Seton and Alleman Catholic schools.  

She and her husband Bill, a Moline attorney, have two college-age daughters who she calls “the stars of my life.” Lucy, 21, is a junior at the University of Iowa, and Kate, 19, is a freshman at University of Notre Dame.   

Born in Moline to Ron and Colleen Hovey, she recalled how her father’s job with John Deere moved the family a lot across the Midwest including to Dubuque, Iowa, where she lived the longest growing up and graduated high school. 

She graduated in 1991 from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in zoology, which she said “is a common major” for ISU students bound for medical school. “Have I ever used it? No.” 

Ironically, about three-quarters through dental school, she realized “I really didn’t like it.” But a rotation through oral surgery opened her eyes to a new field. She decided “This is for me.”  

After graduating from the University of Iowa Dental School in 1996 and completing her surgery residency at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center of New York, she returned to Moline. It was here that she went on a blind date with Bill Rector and “The rest is history,” she said smiling.

For the past 25 years, she has worked at the Mississippi Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Davenport, which she owns with partner Tom Hueser, DDS. 

She cherishes the business skills she learned from the surgery center’s founder Dave Anderson as well as the support of her residency’s program director, the late Dr. Vito Cardo. 

“I just feel I’ve been so lucky and blessed for so much of my career that I feel it’s important to give back,” Dr. Rector said.

This profile was originally published in the QCBJ’s 2024 Women of Influence publication. The QCBJ is excited to introduce this new awards program to the Quad Cities. Our inaugural class of Women of Influence are an inspiring group of trailblazers, role models and leaders in their workplaces and in their communities. They have overcome adversity, taken chances and committed themselves to making the Quad Cities community a better place for all of us to live, work and play.  

The QCBJ will present the 2024 Women of Influence awards on Thursday, May 23, from 5:30-8 p.m., at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf. Tickets are still available to the event, which includes networking, dinner and remarks from the winners, by visiting


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