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Association couples government affairs and communications into ‘NCPA Advocacy Center’

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  – The National  Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday announced a number of staff appointments a realignment to bolster its already robust federal, state and media relations efforts.

“This is an important moment for independent community pharmacies. Changes in Washington, state capitals and the private sector present new opportunities and challenges for community pharmacists,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. “I believe NCPA can enhance its effectiveness and raise its profile in the health care community by combining its government affairs and communications departments into an NCPA Advocacy Center. So much of advocacy is about communications and vice versa. My vision is that a more unified effort will be synergistic for both areas.”

As a result, Kevin Schweers will lead the Advocacy Center as director of the Advocacy Center and SVP, government and public affairs. The policy, regulatory and federal and state legislative teams will report directly to Schweers. He has served as SVP public affairs since 2011 and joined NCPA in 2009. Schweers previously held several senior public affairs positions at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (including the House Energy & Commerce Committee).

Scott Brunner joined NCPA as SVP communications and state government affairs. He will lead communications, state government affairs as well as fundraising for the Political Action Committee and Legislative/Legal Defense Fund (LDF), reporting to Schweers. Brunner previously served as CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association. He is a veteran association executive who also led successful state organizations in Virginia, Mississippi and other states.

Karry La Violette has been promoted to VP government affairs and advocacy. She will lead NCPA congressional lobbying efforts. She first joined NCPA in 2011. La Violette has also served in advocacy positions for The Boeing Company and the Food Marketing Institute.

 

Stephanie DuBois has been appointed senior director, marketing communications. She joined NCPA in 2013 and will take on an additional focus on NCPA’s website and digital strategies. DuBois previously worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as Communications Director for three different members of Congress.

In addition, to augment its advocacy efforts, NCPA has tapped leading Washington advocate Capitol Counsel. The respected, bipartisan firm specializes in health care and is stocked with many Capitol Hill veterans.

 

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THE TAKEAWAY: Philadelphia Soul — Scott Melville, president and CEO, Consumer Health Products Association

BY DSN STAFF

The road to a career at the intersection of business and politics may have started with a “mean impersonation” of our 37th president, the CHPA chief tells DSN.

Before CHPA you were in charge of government affairs and public policy for HDMA — what is it about the trade association management business that appealed to you, and how did your work at HDMA (now HDA) help prepare you for your present role leading the consumer health industry? If you like business and politics, there’s no better place to work than in a trade association. You get to interact with brilliant business leaders, and you have the ability to help shape the fate of an entire industry. Representing wholesalers at HDMA introduced me to the retail side of the pharmaceutical business. That retail pharmacy perspective is hugely important in my work at CHPA representing OTC and dietary supplement manufacturers.  
 
As a law student at George Mason, you did double-duty as a staffer for former Congressman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif. What attracted you to Washington, and what did you learn from that experience? I did a mean [Richard] Nixon impersonation in elementary school, and politics has been in my blood ever since. After interning on Capitol Hill during my senior year of college, I knew Washington was the place I wanted to be. Working on the Hill while going to law school at night helped pay the bills. You know what they say about law school? It’s like college without the fun. They are right.  

What was your first job growing up? My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. If I wanted the latest bike, or if I wanted gas and insurance for my car, I had to pay for it. I cut my teeth at Burger King and Chick-fil-A, but I soon found the real money was in tips as a waiter and bartender. Those experiences gave me a good work ethic that still motivates me to this day. And I tip well.  
 
Where did you grow up? How do you think your early years influenced you and how you see the world? I grew up in suburban Philadelphia, raised by a single mom who worked as an executive secretary. She would always speak with such gratitude about bosses who treated her with respect, and was hurt when they didn’t. I’ve always tried to treat everyone — at work or elsewhere — the way my mom would want to be treated.  
 
Who was your most important mentor, and what was the most important thing you learned from them? I have been fortunate to have many mentors, but the most influential was probably Frank Baldino, the former CEO of Cephalon. He was a classic entrepreneur who left a secure job as a young man at a big pharma company to follow his dream to start his own drug company. He did, and Cephalon was eventually sold to Teva for $6 billion. He taught me, at a critical point in my professional career, to embrace risk and believe that anything is possible.

What was the best advice you ever received? Congressman Lewis taught me to never talk in elevators. Everyone is listening. It’s good advice outside of elevators, too.

When you’re not working, what’s your favorite thing to do? Nothing beats a round of golf. It’s a five-mile walk through a park, it gets my competitive juices flowing and there’s always the hope that today will be the day I finally get a hole-in-one.    

What is the best book you have read most recently? Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run.” My entire life feels like a collection of Bruce songs, as each one brings back a different memory. The book also humanizes the Boss. He’s fragile just like the rest of us.  

What are you most grateful for in life? My health, my family, my job and my Philadelphia sports teams.


Did you miss last month's Takeaway? DSN spoke with Albertsons SVP pharmacy, health and wellness Mark Panzer about important leadership lessons he's learned along the way. Click here to read the in-depth interview.

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Food Lion names Store Manager of the Year

BY Brian Berk

SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion named Wendy Thompson, store manager at its 2710 Roberts Ave. location in Lumberton, N.C., its 2016 Ralph W. Ketner Store Manager of the Year.

Thompson was honored at an event in Salisbury on Feb. 16. Also Food Lion’s Southern Division winner, she has been a Food Lion associate for 22 years, including 14 as a store manager.

"It is such an honor to receive this award and be able to bring it home to my store and my region," said Thompson. "2016 was an extraordinary year for my team and my peers. They endured and persevered through life-changing moments and came out better than ever. They make me a better person each and every day, and this award is for them."

The Store Manager of the Year award was renamed this year in honor of Ketner, Food Lion’s co-founder, who passed away in May 2016.

"The annual Store Manager of the Year event is one of my favorite days of the year, and I can't think of a better way to honor Mr. Ketner than naming this prestigious award after him," said Meg Ham, president of Food Lion. "Our store managers bring to life our brand, our strategy and everything we do for our customers. Wendy does a tremendous job leading her team of associates and serving the community every day, especially during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Whether it was her customers or her own store associates, Wendy was there for her associates and neighbors during this difficult time. We're so proud Wendy is a member of our Food Lion family, and we thank her for everything she does each and every day."

In honor Thompson, Food Lion donated $1,000 to Robeson House and $1,000 to Borderbelt AIDS Resource Team. Her store partners with both local feeding agencies throughout the year.

In addition to Thompson, Food Lion named four Division Store Manager Excellence award winners. They are: Jeff Estes, store manager at 1088 Brawley School Road, Mooresville, N.C.; Leslie Johnson, store manager at 5279 Roxboro Road in Durham, N.C.; Brandon Phillips, store manager at 1526 N. Bridge St. in Elkin, N.C.; and Matthew Webber, store manager at 78 Worchester Drive in Falling Waters, W. Va.

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