A "reasonable drive" is defined by members of the far-flung Midwest Chapter as any place that can be reached by car within five hours — each way! Because the Midwest Chapter encompasses the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, and covers more than 280,000 square miles, it is also not unusual for members to charter planes in order to attend the over-night chapter meetings. Therefore, the Chapter meetings include plant tours, extended education programs, and social events and take place in alternate locations each time.
The Midwest Chapter came to be because of the need of ISPE members, deep in the heartland and far from the heavy concentration of the pharmaceutical-based industry on the East and West coasts, to network with members of their profession. Founding members, Gerry Richardson of Clark, Richardson and Biskup Inc. and Dave Koncak of Marion Laboratories Inc., returned from an ISPE Annual Meeting, filled with enthusiasm and determination to form a local chapter of ISPE in Kansas City. They formed a steering committee in March 1987 with Bob Tully, Harry Brown, Jay Ziegler and Frank Harmon.
The steering committee first drafted an interest survey and contacted all ISPE members within a four state region: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa -- all within a "reasonable drive". Pete Wieczkowski, Gary Reichelt, Randall Turner and Arlo Millen joined the steering committee in 1988. Armed with a very positive response to the survey from Society members, the committee proceeded to plan the first Midwest Chapter meeting for January 18, 1989. The chapters first activity consisted of a tour of Marion Laboratories, Inc., a social hour and dinner, followed by a drying oven presentation by Tim McBride, president of Lyndon Brothers, Inc. Hoping for an attendance of at least 20 people, the committee's expectations were surpassed when 63 people attended. After the success of the first meeting, the committee felt they had a viable organization and proceeded scheduling the next two chapter meetings. Both meetings averaged 55 attendees.
The Midwest Chapter became the third chartered chapter of ISPE and on May 2, 1990, in St. Louis, Missouri, elected its first officers and board: President Gerry Richardson, Vice President Randy Turner, Secretary Dave Koncak, Treasurer Arlo Millen and Directors Pete Wieczkowsk, Jerry Bauers, Gary Reichelt, Danny Baldwin, Leroy Nadler and Mike Kolmer. A year later on May 22, 1991 the chapter held its first Expanded Education Program, consisting of a half day of seminars and table top vendor exhibits in Kansas City, Missouri.
Randall Turner, Director of Engineering and Manufacturing Services, Sanofi Animal Health, Inc., became the 1991-92 President of the Midwest Chapter, succeeded by Dave Koncak in 1992-93. Koncak was co-chairman of the ISPE Chapter Committee and a nominee for the ISPE Board of Directors. He was honored as the Midwest Chapter's 1992-93 "Engineer of the Year" in May when he turned over the gavel to new President Arlo Millen. Koncak attributes the success of the chapter to the "people -- to their dedication, positive attitudes, flexibility, patience and willingness to serve and to travel -- and to the exceptional support, both physical and financial, that Midwest Chapter members receive from their companies in support of ISPE activities".
For the May 93 meeting at the University of Iowa in Iowa City 60 attendees braved rain-soaked fields to tour the University's School of Pharmacy, hear a presentation on Film Coating and elect a new slate of officers. Neither the unpredictable weather, the distance to, nor the duration of these two day events can stifle the determination and tenacity of the approximately 100 members who attend each time. Then they all make that "reasonable drive" home!