Pharmacy Students Impress at NCPA Business Plan Competition


By Kevin Schweers

There are many “must” events at the NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition and the Good Neighbor Pharmacy National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition ranks right up there. In an exciting, live competition the finalists – three teams of pharmacy students – pitch a panel of judges on their team’s plan to start or purchase an independent community pharmacy.

The 2011 competition drew entries from 35 schools and colleges of pharmacy and included first-time submissions from seven schools and colleges of pharmacy. The finalists hailed from Idaho State University College of Pharmacy, University at Buffalo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

Could these pharmacy student finalists be any more impressive? The professionalism, poise, charm and confidence demonstrated by these young men and women in their oral presentations was off-the-charts, as in past years.

It’s hard to imagine that any of the 500 or so pharmacy students and pharmacists watching the competition envied the tough decision facing the judges, who also deserve enormous credit. Kudos to Ed Berg, MBA, CPA, CPCU of Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company, NCPA Past President Holly Henry, RPh, and NCPA Foundation President Sharlea Leatherwood, PD (also a Past President), Mike Quick of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Chad Reed of Live Oak Bank and Dan Strause, CPA of Community Pharmacy Financial LLC for serving on that panel and to the many others who evaluated the 35 written plans.

The Idaho State University College of Pharmacy team – Alan Pannier, Nick Beebe, Tyler Hemsley, and Wesston Faux – wore sharp, orange ties, coordinated black vests and kicked off the competition. They proposed establishing the second independent pharmacy in Blackfoot, Idaho and calling it The Remedy. The linchpin of their strategy was to take full advantage of the Blackfoot Medical Center connected to the 800 square foot space.  Collaborative practice agreements with the physicians of BMC is what they envisioned to both sustain the pharmacy and position themselves strategically for the expected growth of concepts like accountable care organizations (ACOs) and medical homes.

The University of Buffalo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences team – Clare Carroll, Christopher Daly and Christopher Diehl – sported gray suits with men in matching “business blue” ties. Their plan to purchase Forster’s Pharmacy in Blasdell, New York launched with a well-done voiceover video and slide presentation for the judges. Four pillars supported their proposal – offering nurse practitioner services to what’s perceived to be an underserved area for primary care; medication therapy management (MTM) with private counseling rooms; immunization with a focus on travelers; and laboratory services.

The University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy team – Cale Leeper, Brittain Manchester, Caleb Reaber and Tara Hutchinson – were down to business in coordinated black suits. If the Sooners in the audience weren’t fired up enough already, their lopsided football win over the rival Longhorns probably had them buzzing all the more. They want to buy a 60-year-old pharmacy in Alva, Oklahoma in order to run Greenlight Pharmacy.  They envisioned offering value-added clinical services; synchronizing prescriptions for patients to facilitate one monthly visit to the pharmacy (similar to NCPA’s Simplify My Meds program); MTM; and healthy snack options to complement the traditional soda fountain as well as to highlight its nutrition focus. They didn’t overlook location either, noting seven physician practices are within four blocks of the pharmacy and no other compounding pharmacy for 70 miles around. Down the road they envisioned RFID-based Greenlight loyalty smart cards implanted with a tiny chip to facilitate greater customer convenience, such as allowing prescriptions to be ready before the car reaches the drive-through window.

With three finalists this impressive, it’s also worth recognizing the rest of the top ten. In alphabetical order, they include Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Pharmacy, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the University of the Pacific, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, University of the Incarnate Word Feik School of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, and Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy.

The results are announced during the First General Session, Sunday, October 9th. Congrats to all the finalists!

1 Response to “Pharmacy Students Impress at NCPA Business Plan Competition”


  1. 1 Robert 'Farmer' R Bryan October 21, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Congrats to Idaho State!


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