by Kylie Blanchard

Tana Trotter graduated from the University of Mary in May with a doctorate degree in physical therapy. But even before graduation, she had her career path set as CEO and physical therapist at Proximal 50 Life Center, currently under construction on Divide Avenue in central Bismarck.

TanaTrotter.Proximal50An idea more than 10 years in the making, Trotter says she decided to move forward with building her dream wellness center during the winter of 2013. “I was at a point of frustration with both health care and fitness. It is my belief health care is headed in a direction where it is driven by monetary gains instead of patient or member physical gain,” she says. “I didn’t want to lessen my impact on people simply to fit a budget given to me by medical or insurance institutions.”

The Proximal 50 Life Center is a wellness facility with the goal of not only helping people become healthier, but also educating them on how to make changes long-term, says Trotter. “I intended to create something that keeps my passion alive and growing, as well as hopefully continue to do that for other people.”

The facility will be home to a variety of health professionals working as a team to meet each client’s needs. “The facility will have a full physical therapy clinic with room for other health professionals. There will be a fitness area for our clients to exercise and work with our staff to personalize their routine, and this will also include an area geared towards women to provide a more comfortable environment,” she says. “The facility will also offer group classes and day care for both full-time and drop-off children. Finally, there is an area for educational programs and courses we will be offering the community.”

Incorporating many elements of wellness is important to the overall health of an individual, she says. “I truly feel physical therapy and fitness work together hand-in-hand. My passion as a physical therapist is to prevent injury and invasive procedures that may not be necessary. The best way to do this is by finding your physical weak points and using exercise to develop strength and balance.

“Another avenue of prevention is to help clients lose weight and be more active to lessen the stress on their joints instead of replacing them,” she continues. “I knew I couldn’t do one without the other and I feel Proximal 50 greatly facilitates these types of programs.”

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Trotter grew up on a ranch near Grassy Butte and went to school in Killdeer, where she was active in sports. “I fell in love with fitness and health,” she says. “I also spent a lot of time between sports seasons working for my dad who started his own construction company when he was 18. This is where I fell in love with being an entrepreneur.”

She says she watched firsthand the extreme ups and downs of owning a business and working hard to form a successful career. “Working for my dad only made my entrepreneurial passion grow as I thrived off the stress, pressure and pride that is involved in something like this.”

She moved to Bismarck after graduating high school to pursue her physical therapy degree. “Over the last six years I have also been working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in the Bismarck-Mandan community.”

Developing her own business has been a learning process, she says, from securing a location to working with an architect and engineers. “It was really a step-by-step process in which I learned as new things came to me. From there, Proximal 50 continued to develop.”

Initially, Trotter says she was hesitant to share her endeavor with others. “I kept pretty quiet fearing people would not fully understand what I wanted to create. As it slowly started to become public, I was amazed at the support I got from the people closest to me as well as the community.”

Although there were some negative moments, she says those only strengthened her motivation. “I think most will agree anytime you tackle something of this magnitude, there will be obstacles you need to overcome. I am learning to become flexible and creative in this journey.”

Trotter says her greatest support has come from her family and friends. “This has not been, nor will it be a smooth ride, but they have believed in me and let me vent, shed a few tears and brainstorm with them through it all.

“I was also encouraged from day one by Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary. From the moment he heard my ideas, he has encouraged me to reach my ultimate life-long goal,” she continues. “This support validates my decision to be part of the Bismarck community.”

Trotter says when undertaking a major project, it is important to surround yourself with supportive people. “The team I selected to do this project took a long time to find, I honestly couldn’t have done it without the experience and guidance they gave me.”

She also shared her advice for other young entrepreneurs. “Never lose your passion behind why you started. Don’t let the pressure of starting a business make you settle or change your plan, and be in it for the long haul. Knowing the risk involved is terrifying, yet thinking about the possible reward is enough to keep the project going.”

Project Completion

Proximal50Trotter says it has been amazing watching the Proximal 50 Life Center building and business come to form this year. “What many don’t understand is the process that takes place to get a building and business going in a city. It’s been a goal of mine for ten years and has been officially in the works for nearly three years. To look at drawings for over a year and then see it start to become reality is one of the most rewarding and motivating feelings I can imagine.”

The Proximal 50 Life Center is slated for completion this fall and additional information on clientships, training and daycare prices, along with programs and hours will be posted at and Facebook/Proximal 50 Life Center. Additional questions can also be sent to