By Jerry Van Pevenage, RPh
EVP, Secretary, Strategic Initiatives Advisor, WSPC
As one of the founders of WSPC, Bob Dominguez brought our family of pharmacies together. With Bob’s recent passing, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Bob’s legacy here at WSPC and share the history of our coalition, which he was such a critical player in shaping. This year, we celebrate 10 years of forging stronger relationships, building better teams, and creating vital alliances for the benefit of independent retail pharmacies based upon the standards and values that Bob created as our foundation. Bob lead WSPC as President and CEO for many years by example, in his natural and affable manner, and the impact of his life can be felt everywhere here at WSPC.
This year, we celebrate 10 years of forging stronger relationships, building better teams, and creating vital alliances for the benefit of independent retail pharmacies based upon the standards and values that Bob created as our foundation.Bob spent his entire career working in the pharmaceutical wholesale business in various capacities. Along the way, Bob focused on and built many close relationships with pharmacy owners. He developed a strong understanding of the challenges of independent pharmacies. Bob had a deep respect and appreciation of the importance of independent pharmacy and pharmacy owners.
The idea to create WSPC started when Bob met up with one of his good friends and former clients, Mike Douglas of Mike’s Medical Pharmacy in Newberg, Oregon, a Good Neighbor Pharmacy store. Mike was active as part the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Regional and National Advisory Groups for many years.
Bob and Mike both felt that many independent pharmacy stores working together to negotiate with suppliers should and could receive a better overall deal than an individual store by itself. Bob suggested they form a coalition of Good Neighbor Pharmacy owners, an entity that could leverage negotiations as a group to better advocate for the interests of the individual pharmacy owners.
Together with other pharmacy owners they recruited from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, Bob and Mike founded a new organization, called the Tri States Pharmacy Coalition, the coalition that would one day become WSPC. The purpose of the coalition was to help the member, independent pharmacy store owners improve their businesses.
The coalition established a Board of Directors to develop a plan. Mike was chosen as Chairman of the Board, I was appointed Secretary and Treasurer, and Bob was appointed to act as President and CEO. Since we did not officially have organization funds, Mike presented Bob with $1.00 to legally form the organization.
Bob worked out of his home at the time and had funded the expenses related to the coalition from his own pocket. He was responsible for negotiating with ABC for member stores, and the Board of Directors was tasked with recruiting individual stores from their respective areas to join the organization.
After several pharmacy owners from California and Alaska wanted to join the organization, Tri States expanded. In 2012, Tri States became Western States Pharmacy Coalition (WSPC). Bob, Mike, Jeff Harder, Dave Morio, Bob Wheatley, Vic Allen, John Bruce, Ken Harlan, Gary Basrai, Michael Saad, Vince Cardinale, Gary McCrory, Dirk White, and I were the visionary pharmacy owners dedicated to the success of the cooperative at this time. We added Jay Robinson as the new Accountant and Treasurer to WSPC.In 2016, Bob returned Mike’s $1.00 bill at the annual meeting in Laguna, California. This was Bob’s way of honoring Mike for his efforts in getting the organization started and to recognize Mike’s time as WSPC’s Chairman of the Board.
As we continued to expand, Bob created an operations team that introduced key business principles, implemented a web presence, and articulated our mission statement: “The Premier coalition providing innovative resources and programs to support successful, profitable Independent Pharmacies.” This year, we expanded the operations team to support the cooperative’s mission.
Last year, in 2018, Bob Dominguez retired as President and CEO. John Bruce, PharmD, succeeded Bob as our new President and CEO. We added our tagline, “Member Focused. Value Driven,” to all member communication last year as well.
Currently, WSPC is guided by a Board of Directors that are all independent pharmacy owners, in keeping with Bob and Mike’s vision for the organization, with Kevin Demass acting as Chairman of the Board. As a previous independent pharmacy owner in a small rural community, I am grateful to Bob for his efforts to keep independent pharmacy strong. It is a noble cause, and one we here at WSPC are all grateful that Bob was dedicated to for so much of his life.