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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye!
by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye. For some reason, that song has found its way into my head this fall. At the start of 2020, the Swedish rock band Europe’s 1986 release The Final Countdown was rocking through my head. It didn’t take long though - mid-March I believe - and the 1987 R.E.M. piece It’s the End of the World as We Know It resounded daily, if not hourly! If you haven’t figured out from my many columns, I love song titles, their lyrics, and movie quotes and I use them whenever I can.
And in case you missed the news, this is my last Directly Speaking, as my retirement fast approaches at year’s end. Probably, the most appropriate song title for my last column should be one made famous by Bob Hope (a comedian, TV, and movie star form the 1930’s through the 1970’s for our millennial and Gen X members) in 1938, "Thanks For The Memories". By the way, no, I wasn’t alive back then! But it became Hope’s signature song and he sang it regularly on his TV show, countless concerts, and most importantly, USO trips visiting US armed forces, all over the world. Like that song, I would like to thank ICHP, its members and its staff for more memories than I can count!
Because of my tenure as the first Executive Director and eventually, Executive Vice President, I’ve done some things and met many people I would probably have missed without this job! Actually, without my tenure first as a member of ICHP, I would have missed even more!
My first ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting was a result of the 1986 version of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out. Yes, we had it back then, we just didn’t call it that!). And that FOMO was fueled even early with my attendance at my first ICHP Annual Meeting, where I sat at a back table in the Awards Luncheon, thinking to myself, “Someday, I want to say I know the people at the head table!” Now, I have a role in deciding who sits there!
I have vivid memories of the multiple trips to Washington, DC in 1992 through 1995 when ICHP, the Michigan Pharmacists Association, ASHP, and APhA hammered out the details of a project we now know as PTCB! Twenty-five years later and more than 700,000 technicians are certified. PTCB is a shining example of what pharmacy can accomplish when it comes together to work on a common goal!
Through PTCB, I’ve met, gotten to know, and become friends with Joseph A. Oddis (ASHP), John Gans (APhA), Lucinda Maine (APhA, now AACP), Larry Wagenknecht (MPA), Carmen Catizone (NABP), Tom Menighan (APhA), and more. I left off Henri Manasse (ASHP and before that UIC) because while we worked together with PTCB, we were already friends from a long time ago in pharmacy school. And I can’t forget William “Bill” Zellmer, who spent dozens if not hundreds of hours helping us hammer out the details of PTCB on behalf of Dr. Oddis and ASHP, but we too, were already acquaintances by then! But those PTCB hours galvanized our friendship.
I know almost as many ASHP Past Presidents as I do ICHP Presidents and I dine with several of the former ASHP royalty each year at the Midyear and Summer Meetings as part of a very informal social group of the pharmacy family from around the entire country. I know the Executive Director of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy personally and have never held a pharmacist license in that State!
I’ve traveled to Midyears in the current big four (Las Vegas, Orlando, Anaheim, and New Orleans) multiple times and add visits to Atlanta, Dallas and Miami too! Not to mention the ASHP Summer Meetings in Washington DC, San Diego, Minneapolis, Reno, Seattle, Chicago (Rosemont, actually), Denver, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Nashville, Boston, Orlando, Tampa, and Los Angeles. Thank you ICHP and ASHP for adding States to my list of “Been there!”.
More importantly, I’ve met so many Illinois pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, and pharmacy educators over the past 28-plus years, many of whom are now friends or very close friends! You have to be a close friend to put up with the way I play golf! For those of you who attend ICHP Annual and Spring Meetings, you know I spend most of the meeting talking with old friends and making more new ones. It’s often hard to force myself into the educational sessions, not because they aren’t good, they’re great (as Tony the Tiger would say) but because the education isn’t as important as the networking for me.
Most importantly, this job that I am handing over to our new EVP, Chris Crank, gave me the opportunity to go to Springfield and to Washington, to carry our messages over and over again to the General Assembly and the Congress. I can even say that I’ve met a President because of ICHP, but there is an asterisk, Illinois and U.S. Senator Barack Obama hadn’t gotten that far yet when I met him in Springfield and in Washington! And, I can even smile when remembering Senator Durbin saying, “Oh yes, you’re Mary Moody’s friend!” But I’ve had all these experiences on behalf of you!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the all-knowing (sometimes too much) and dedicated ICHP staff! I’ve worked with a cadre of outstandingly dedicated and faithful individuals. From Connie Miller, ICHP’s first full-time employee, followed by Heidi Sunday, who Connie hired while I was at a Midyear Meeting in Miami, and who is still with us today, over 26 years later, to a couple dozen in between then and the crackerjack team we’ve assembled today! ICHP members should be thankful for their current staff of Trish Wegner, Maggie Allen, Heidi Sunday, JoAnn Haley, Melissa Dyrdahl, and recent additions Kim Anderson and Chris Crank. I know I am very thankful for all of them! I should mention a special thank you too, to Jan Mark, our very recently retired bookkeeper and meeting greeter and to Barb Yahn, former Communications Director and current office cleaning lady! I know I will be back to see them from time to time but not as early in the morning or as often as now!
I have written this column a couple of weeks ahead of this year’s Annual Meeting, this year’s VIRTUAL Annual Meeting, and a movie that keeps coming to mind is the 1980 classic Airplane!. It was intended as a spoof of a series of movie dramas, Airport, Airport 1975, Airport ’77, and The Concorde…Airport 1979, but it became a cult classic spoof of its own following similar to Dumb and Dumber. In Airplane!, one of the supporting characters, an air traffic controller, Steve McCrosky, is played by Lloyd Bridges (father of Jeff and Beau Bridges, hopefully the younger crowds have heard of the sons, if not dad) and as the drama and tension mount throughout the movie, McCrosky confides in his co-workers that he picked a bad week to first “quit smoking”, later to “quit drinking”, next to “quit taking amphetamines” and finally to “quit sniffing glue”. In 2020, I feel like I picked a bad year to retire! With this year’s virtual Annual Meeting and no Spring Meeting, there’s no chance to say goodbye in person. So I guess that’s why the song with the same name as the title of this column keeps echoing in my head.
It’s been a pleasure serving as the ICHP and “Your” Executive Director and Executive Vice President. I can only say what so many others before have said, “You truly receive more than you give!” Thank you all and I look forward to seeing many of you when I come to an ICHP meeting as an attendee! And I might see if the staff will get me a “Retired Staff” ribbon for my name tag. I know they’ll be happy to give me the one that says, “Has Been”! ☺■
Pictured Top Row (left to right):
- Harland Lee installing Scott Meyers as President (1988)
- Scott's 10-year Anniversary as Executive Director - Scott Meyers
- Breaking Ground on the ICHP Building (2005) -
Nancy Shapiro, Chris Quillian, Trish Wegner, Ed Donnelly, Diana Johnson (Parks Chamber of Commerce), Loves Park City Treasurer, Mike Rajski, Mike McEvoy, Michael Kalodemis (Chase), Scott Meyers
- PTCB Board of Governors (2009)
Scott Meyers, Larry Wagenknecht, Melissa Murer Corrigan, John Gans, Henri Manasse, Carmen Catizone
- ICHP Fall Gathering (1992)
Scott Meyers and his father, Stanley Meyers
- Leg Day (2015)
Governor Bruce Rauner, Chris Quillian, Trish Wegner, Kathryn Schultz, Scott Meyers
- Leg Day (2007)
Senator Dick Durbin, Scott Meyers, Cheri Gallagher, Miriam Mobley Smith, Trish Wegner, Senator Barack Obama