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Honoree Headshot

Michael Zaccaro

President & CEO
Pharma Logistics

Location: Lake County
Year Founded: 1996
Industry Group Specific: Pharmaceutical Reverse Distribution

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Over 27 years ago, Michael Zaccaro started his career in the pharmaceutical industry by working for a small inventory company that focused on independent retailers. As part of that offering, expired products were pulled from the shelf and the pharmacists didn’t know what to do with them.

“Mike recognized the need for a company that would clean out the pharmacy’s expired pharmaceuticals, keep them compliant with state and federal regulations and collect every dollar they were owed for their expired pharmaceuticals,” said his colleagues.

As a result, Zaccaro launched Pharma Logistics from the basement of his home in 1996. Pharma Logistics is a leading pharmaceutical reverse distributor that plays a critical role in the healthcare supply chain by enabling hospitals, independent retail pharmacies and government customers to maintain compliance when removing expired inventory, reducing risk to the public and environment, and collecting return credits to lower overall healthcare costs. The company’s mission is to return $10 billion to the healthcare supply chain by 2025.

The early focus of the company was independent retail pharmacies, hospitals and Veteran’s Health Pharmacies in the Midwest. Now, Pharma Logistics serves the needs of more than 10,0000+ pharmacies across the globe and processes 13.9-million-line items annually out of a state-of-the art fully automated processing center in Libertyville.

“Mike’s ability to adapt to the changing market dynamics and anticipate industry trends has been instrumental in Pharma Logistics’ sustained growth over the years, and by staying ahead of the curve, he has successfully guided the company through periods of rapid transformation, consistently positioning it as an industry trailblazer,” said his staff. “His entrepreneurial journey from a basement startup to the nation’s leading provider of pharmaceutical reverse distribution services is an inspiration to us all.”

Zaccaro’s focus as a leader has also extended to empowering his staff. “By fostering a culture of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking within his organization, he has cultivated a team of leaders who are empowered to push boundaries and pioneer new approaches,” said his colleagues. “Mike’s dedication to improvement is evident in his relentless pursuit of cutting-edge technologies, streamlined processes and sustainable practices that enhance efficiency while reducing waste.”

Zaccaro said he strives for never-ending improvement. “I’m never satisfied with the status quo and no matter how well we are doing; I recognize that we can always do better,” he said. “While we always pursue excellence over perfection, we similarly embrace always being better than we were the day before.”

For his success in the industry and as a leader, Zaccaro has been named a titan.

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My ability to block out the noise and not let the opinion of others influence my decision making. Simply put, others opinions of me is none of my business and I pay little attention to it.

At the same time, I seek input from everyone regardless of role or title. The next great idea is just as likely to come from an executive on my team as it is to come from one of our vendors and I value fierce conversations where topics are hotly debated.

I have the ability to process large amounts of information from very disparate resources to arrive at my decisions and I give everyone a voice.

But I do not make decisions by consensus and my company isn't a democracy. I have no desire to be popular or to be liked; my desire is to build a great company, to work with and reward great people and to enjoy the process.

What is Your Superpower?

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