2014 Entrepreneur Leader of the Year Finalists
Entrepreneur of the Year
When Barry S. Bryant, RPh, became a partner of Barney’s Pharmacy in 1984, the future of the pharmacy did not seem promising. At the time, the pharmacy was a single store, chapter 11 bankrupt company.
Over the last 30 years, Bryant has become the sole owner of the business, which has grown to include 6 additional locations throughout the community. The pharmacy is now a multimillion-dollar company and employs more than 100 individuals.
The success of the business can be attributed to Bryant’s vision, which centers on patient care with a hometown feel. Following this mission, the pharmacy often gives cares to patients at no charge.
“This altruism fosters the rapport that Mr. Bryant has with his patients, developing lifelong relations, but also partnerships in the community with other health care providers,” his nomination read.
In addition to growing Barney’s Pharmacy, Bryant also developed and co-owns the Creative Pharmacist. The company, established in 2008, was created to provide any pharmacist with the ability to conduct diabetes education. The company now offers educational programs to 7 countries, helping patients on a global level.
“Mr. Bryant’s vision has been the driving force to why Barney’s Pharmacy is a standard for how community pharmacy should be practiced,” his nomination form read.
Bryant also dedicates his time to mentoring aspiring pharmacists. In addition to having raised 3 daughters who are now pharmacists, he currently precepts approximately 20 students annually from 6 colleges of pharmacy across the country.
Bryant has been published in multiple publications, including The New York Times. He has also received several honors, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Georgia, and the Augusta Pride and Progress award for 23 years of community service.
For Chris Geronsin, pharmacy services should extend to every area, and that includes hospitals, clinics, schools, and the community.
That belief, coupled with his use of new technology, led him to create unique tools that increase visibility with patients and facilitate interactions with the pharmacy. He also uses unique packaging methods and automation to reach patients in tough economic situations, and to ensure that patients stay compliant with important therapies.
His customizable patient portals help pharmacists in health-system and community practice settings connect with patients, monitor prescription status, view refill information, and ensure patient compliance.
Compliance is a key area for Geronsin, who reaches out to economically disadvantaged senior citizens to provide strip-packaged medications. He also works with the city’s health department to educate patients about the spread of infections, offers free blood tests, and provides patient care. His work with the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, health department allows him to reach the homeless population as well. He offers weekly clinics for patients with psychiatric disorders, which allow him to coordinate care with local social workers who can then check patients’ medications.
“Chris’s innovation and entrepreneurship have come with many challenges along the way,” his nomination read. “He has obtained dispensing licenses in other states, to ensure he is licensed where the pharmacy sends prescriptions. And he works closely with the government to ensure compliance with industry requirements and standards.”
In addition to his work with hard-to-reach patient populations, Geronsin’s Beverly Hills Pharmacy provides prescriptions to the trainers, owners, and players of the St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis Cardinals, as well as their minor-league counterparts. He has provided blood tests for the US Olympic hockey team as well.
“Chris’s innovative solutions are great steps to the solutions of some of the complex problems facing pharmacy today,” his nomination read. “He is an unmistakable leader and advocate in the industry.”
Although Walberg Family Pharmacies has expanded from 1 location to 10, owner Bretton C. Walberg, RPh, remains committed to treating his patients as part of the family.
With his wife Stacey, Walberg purchased his first pharmacy from his parents in 1999. Focusing on patient care and continually adding technological innovations, he has since grown the independent pharmacy to multiple locations throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“Bretton understood adding technology was more than replacing people,” his nomination read. “It has freed his staff to allow them to focus on the customer, which is central to his business philosophy.
As his business began to grow, Walberg began adding automation to his pharmacies, improving operations as well as patient care. Walberg’s latest technology venture is Care-Fill, a custom medication packaging program. This system helps organize medications by daily dose and is proving beneficial for the patients, prescribers, and the pharmacy. To complement the program, Walberg has partnered with a local hospital to provide the Care-Fil Transitions service to hospital patients with the goal of reducing hospital readmissions.
Recognizing the financial burden patients often face, Walberg turned to the 340B pharmacy program to provide affordable medications to his patients and to further grow his business. With few examples in the Northeastern United States, Walberg pioneered the 340B venture in this area. He has now become a consultant and administrator for others looking to become involved in the 340B federal program across the country.
Throughout the pharmacy’s growth, Walberg has kept the pharmacy centered on serving the community by sponsoring local events and fundraisers, including Relay for Life.
“Bretton has built Walberg Family Pharmacies into a solid, dynamic independent group of pharmacies, focusing every day on the customer to insure patients receive the right medications at the right time, for the right price,” his nominator wrote.
In addition to owning and operating the family pharmacies, Walberg was selected as a customer advocate for McKesson Pharmacy Systems where he actively supports pharmacy software development.