Alumnus ahead of the times

BCBSNE president and CEO Steven S. Martin and Washburn president Jerry Farley.

BCBSNE president and CEO Steven S. Martin and President Jerry Farley.

That Steve Martin is in the process of ground-breaking work as president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

This is, after all, a man who worked toward a nursing degree at a time — the 1970s — when the field consisted almost entirely of women. He’s comfortable chartering unfamiliar territory.

Martin, the guest speaker at Thursday’s Wake Up with Washburn breakfast lecture series, put his degree, a bachelor of science in nursing, to use immediately after college, climbing the ranks in the health care industry.

Martin had the foresight to found Prime Therapeutics, a “comprehensive pharmacy benefits solutions company owned by eight independent Blue Cross Blue Shield plans that integrate pharmacy claim processing, drug manufacturer contracting, drug utilization analysis, clinical programs and consulting services into Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and other regionally oriented health plans, HMOs, and specialty pharmacy benefit organizations,” according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska’s website.

Prime Therapeutics is the largest privately owned pharmacy benefit management administrator in the country.

As the CEO of BCBSNE, Martin is one of the leaders of a company studying and preparing innovative models during a time of health care reform.

Martin discussed his work during Thursday’s presentation, which he titled “New Health Care Business Models and Opportunities Arising from Health Care Reform.”

You can read more about Martin’s visit on the Alumni Association’s website.


Junior Day: Make an impact


As I watched dozens of high school juniors file into Memorial Union this morning, it reminded me of my first visit to Washburn as a prospective student (that’s me above, with hair, as editor of The Review). That was centuries ago (1996), but the memory is as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

I remember it well because I wasn’t here long that day. As a transfer student from Allen County Community College, my father and I were on campus to survey the setting. We left about two hours in when we heard — incorrectly — that many of my credits weren’t going to transfer.

The drive back to Burlingame was not a comfortable one. I wondered where I was going to go next. I’d already left Kansas State after a year. Too big, not enough interaction with my professors. So a “big” school was not an option.

I remember calling Emporia State … no journalism degree. Strike two (strike three for ESU). But my angst didn’t last long. Just minutes after we’d arrived home, I got a phone call from the director of admissions at Washburn.

He assured me that the credits would transfer and asked that I come up the next day for a one-on-one meeting. So I drove back to Topeka the following day and spent a few hours touring campus, including a visit with the dean of the mass media department.

Those interactions, that personal attention, the caring … that sealed the deal for me. I chose Washburn that day and have been grateful for that decision since. I owe those folks a debt of gratitude for going out of their way to get me here.

Washburn is a special place. We offer experiences most schools simply can’t. Don’t be afraid to share your stories with the prospective students here, as well as the ones who will be here in the future.

Everybody here has an important role. When folks visiting Washburn see that, they often fall in love with this place.