Meet Our Staff
1stChoice Physical Therapy was founded in 2003 by three physical therapists who had over 50 years combined experience and wanted to practice physical therapy “the right way.” They knew the only way they could provide one-on-one personalized care was to start a new practice. Now, over 5,000 patients later, 1st Choice Physical Therapy is the clear choice for your rehabilitation needs – with all care delivered by our master physical therapists.
We invite you to learn more about our team below!
Matt Likins, MPT, OCS Orthopedics/ Sports/ Spine Board Certified in Orthopedics
I always knew I wanted a career in the medical field, but an ankle injury while playing high school football (go Stevenson Titans!) introduced me to physical therapy – the enthusiasm, professionalism and expertise of the P.T.s quickly ended my search for a career!
I’ve carried this appreciation with me throughout my education and career. Since receiving my Master’s in physical therapy from Oakland University, I’ve maintained an active approach to physical therapy through more than 25 courses in manual and manipulative physical therapy and sports therapy rehabilitation. I also earned my board certification in orthopedic physical therapy, first in 1999, and then passed a rigorous re-certification exam in 2009.
For me, physical therapy is about empowerment – I enjoy helping to correct the mechanical problems, and then providing patients the tools and knowledge to take care of themselves. Helping a patient to regain their independence and giving them relief from their pain is the best part of my job. And, forming 1st Choice Physical Therapy as a partner has given me the opportunity to spend enough time with each patient to deliver the type of hands-on care that they deserve.
In addition to staying active in my career, my family helps keep me moving outside of work. With our three young children (two boys and a girl), my wife and I enjoy spending time together as a family volunteering at their school, going camping with friends in northern Michigan, or cheering them on in their respective sports, including baseball, basketball and soccer.
Peter R. Kovacek, PT, DPT, MSA Geriatric Rehab
Over my 33+ years as a geriatric and cardiopulmonary physical therapist, I’ve had the honor of helping thousands of patients set rehabilitation goals and worked with them to achieve their goals. I am able to apply years of continued education and experience to reach milestones that were considered against all odds, which is the most inspiring aspect of physical therapy for me. After all, it was my own “against the odds” recovery from a serious lower-back injury in high school that motivated my career choice!
Since earning my degree in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1977, I have never stopped learning – or sharing my knowledge with others. I received my masters of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, and am currently a doctoral student at Rocky Mountain University in Salt lake City, Utah. I have also been an adjunct or part-time faculty member at Wayne State University and Oakland University since 1979, and authored a successful textbook.
Outside of physical therapy, I enjoy spending time with my wife and three grown children – golfing during the summer months and skiing in the winter, as well as cheering on my favorite sports team – MSU basketball!
Dave Walters, PT, ATC, Orthopedics/Sports/Spine/Manual Therapy/TMJ
Like many physical therapists, my first introduction to the career came after I sustained an injury playing high school sports. My football and wrestling coach at Bishop Foley took me to a sports medicine specialist at Wayne State University to aide in my rehabilitation, and I was inspired by the idea of combining two of my passions – giving back to the community and sports – into a career.
I received my degree in Sports Medicine from Central Michigan University, with National Certification in Athletic Training. From there, I went back to the place that initially sparked my interest in the field – Wayne State University – to earn my degree in physical therapy.
My favorite part of physical therapy is helping people get back to what they love to do, whether it is running marathons or simply performing every day activities, pain-free. My sports medicine and physical therapy background combined have given me the opportunity to work with a wide range of patients, from professional and collegiate athletes, to geriatric rehabilitation, in a variety of settings. My approach to therapy is to treat the body as a whole – not just the individual injury – to determine the underlying cause.
Although my high school athletic days have come to a close, I enjoy volunteering with youth athletics through the Catholic Youth Organization. My wife (who is also a physical therapist!) and I, spend as much time as possible with our three children, and enjoy trips to northern Michigan to spend time in the great outdoors.
Bob Baker, PT, Orthopedics/ Sports/ Spine/ Manual Therapy/TMJ
While many physical therapists are first exposed to the field because of personal injury, my interest was peaked after I saw my older brother face extensive rehabilitation from injuries sustained while serving in the Vietnam War.
When I observed how physical therapy improved his quality of life, I explored the opportunity further at a local hospital and appreciated the ability of the physical therapists to help people get their lives and mobility back after injury. The rest, as they say, is history.
I graduated from Wayne State in 1975, but have never stopped learning. Although I’ve focused my work and studies on outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, it is through constant interaction, continuing education and a listening ear that I continue to improve my skills.
I consider it one of my greatest professional accomplishments when I help a patient achieve relief after they’ve gone through years of therapy elsewhere. For me, physical therapy is like detective work – my patients will often give me the clues, and as a therapist, it is my job to piece them together to solve the case.
In addition to treating patients, I enjoy sharing what I’ve learning over my 37 years of experience with other clinicians.
When I’m not practicing physical therapy, I can probably be found on the golf course perfecting my game, completing a home improvement project or spending time with my wife and two grown daughters.
Kevin Giroux, PT, DPT
As an active teenager, I sustained multiple injuries, and no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to them heal on my own. After starting physical therapy, my PT pushed me and challenged me in ways that I would have never thought possible, and truly became a partner in my rehabilitation. While working with me one on one, he guided me through a wide-range of exercises to help me resume prior function and peak ability. Seeing the results of my hard work throughout my treatment, and feeling a sense of achievement at the end, helped me realize that I wanted others to have a similar experience on their road to recovery.
I graduated with a BS in Health Science from Oakland University (OU) in 2005 and continued on to obtain my Doctor of Physical Therapy from OU in 2008. As a student, I was one of the first employees of 1st Choice, and it is an honor to come back as a full-fledged Physical Therapist!
I have had the great fortune to treat a variety of patient populations throughout my career and each patient brings unique goals to their program. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about every patient and what they hope to achieve through physical therapy. For me, working with my patients side by side throughout their rehabilitation and seeing them accomplish things they did not think were possible is the most rewarding aspect of my career.
Outside of PT, my three wonderful sons keep me and my wife Amy pretty busy! We stay active through swimming and going to local parks, and can frequently be found enjoying time with friends and extended family.
Julie Davis, PT
While still in high school, I had the opportunity to take a course at a local hospital, which provided exposure to professions in the medical field. Our day spent with the physical therapists was by far my favorite and the most inspiring to me. A few years later, when it came time to choose a career, the decision was easy!
Since receiving my degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in 1987, I’ve been able to work with a wide range of ages, disabilities and injuries – from teenagers to geriatrics and from sports injuries to neurological conditions and orthopedics. Having the opportunity to build relationships with my patients and work with them every step of the way as they reach different milestones is an honor to me. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow with my patients and in the end, seeing them succeed and achieve their goals is the best part of my day.
I’ve also appreciated that my career has allowed me to combine my two passions: physical therapy and raising a family. Early on, I was able to work part-time, which allowed me to spend time with my husband, our two daughters and our son.
Outside of the clinic, my husband and I are now adjusting to a new role: empty nesters! I am also active in my church community, including event planning and leading women’s and children’s ministries.