In August 1962, Pfizer Labs hired a bright, talented young man named James (Jim) Jarrett to join the ranks of its sales representative trainees in Charleston, West Virginia.
Jim recalls that his first detail - involving calling on and selling to physicians - promoted Pfizer's pneumonia drug, Terramycin. The drug was also used for Wool Sorters disease (today referred to as Anthrax) in Peru, a condition caused when one would knick his hands while shearing sheep.
When asked why he joined Pfizer, Jim replied, "I graduated with a degree in physical therapy, but the prospect of spending my life within a 4-wall room was not appealing. I love the outdoors and I love talking to people."
Apparently, his job at Pfizer was a perfect match, as Jim spent the majority of his time out and about talking to doctors before retiring in 1999 after 37 years of service. Jim was "in the field" serving as a Certified Senior Healthcare Consultant when he retired, with full responsibility for his entire territory. He had also earned a designation as a certified medical representative.
"Being with people and doing what I love best - talking and traveling - was what I loved most about my career," notes Jim. "Building life-long relationships and friendships was another other. One of my hunting buddies still today is a family practice physician with one of the largest practices in a 13-county area whom I had called on for years as a sales representative," he added.
Jim stressed that building solid relationships is his claim to fame. "Building relationships is so important because it's not just about making friends who write prescriptions. Rather, it's about building relationships that earn you the right to get time with physicians to talk with them, educate them about what you have to offer and then sell them on your products," he explained.
Among Jim's most special memories at Pfizer happened very early in his career with the company, when he was selling the first oral polio vaccine. The objective: get everyone immunized against polio.
Jim worked to set up city and county programs with local doctors where over three consecutive Sundays they put the vaccine on a sugar cube to improve dosing. "I was instrumental in helping get a lot of local pediatricians to participate and I felt that that effort really made a difference in our communities," he said.
Another proud moment actually came more than once for Jim. He was awarded twice with the company's highest honor for sales representatives - induction into the Hall of Fame
. This "once in a lifetime" award is given to the #1 salesperson in the region. "It's the highest honor you can get, and I got it twice," Jim said proudly.
But recognition for Jim's efforts didn't stop at work. The West Virginia Family Practice group, which is the largest family medical practice in the state, honored Jim
by naming a special scholarship fund in his honor
Now that he's retired, Jim stays busy participating in Pfizer's Sales Ambassador program
, which keeps him up to date on what's happening at the company and with physicians. He also mentors newer sales reps and gets to travel. "It's my eighth year doing this with Pfizer - I guess I bleed Pfizer Blue. I have it all," adds Jim.
Jim also serves on the Harrison County Board of Health and has helped to make much progress with the group on major health issues like smoking and overall wellness, Homeland Security issues, etc.
When he's not busy doing that, Jim collects Pfizer memorabilia
and has an old-fashioned pharmacy set up in his building. He's also a big game hunter
and just recently returned from Africa with an Eastern Cape (South Africa) Greater Kudu (a breed of antelope) that the Safari Club International scored #2 in the world
Jim enjoys using the Pfizerplus.com website to keep him abreast of what's going on at Pfizer, who has retired, who died, where the events and reunions are, and enjoys some of the special features, like the recently-added Charlie Rose Science Series.
He also wanted to acknowledge his wife of 46 years, Nancy. "She has been the one that kept me going," said Jim. According to Jim, Nancy picked him up when he was down and settled him down when he needed it. "She is the major key to my success," he added. Jim and Nancy have two daughters, Nancy and Janet, and two sons-in-law, Gary and Jeff.
So what's next for Jim? "I'm looking forward to some upcoming travel to San Francisco for a medical meeting, to the Caribbean for a cruise in April and then to Africa in June for another hunting trip," said Jim.
Looks like not even wild kudus can stop him!