Alumni Profile: Jim Marttila

A Renaissance Career: Jim Marttila Encourages Pharmacy Students to Pursue Diverse Opportunities

Jim Martilla

Jim Marttila was introduced to the pharmacy profession in his early years—and his ties to the College of Pharmacy were formed early. He remembers watching his father graduate from the college in 1955 at Memorial Stadium. Later, he spent his summers working at Marttila Drug—his father’s pharmacy in Tower, Minnesota.

In 1966, Marttila began his undergraduate studies at the University. Part of his admission to the College of Pharmacy was an interview with Dean Larry Weaver, who served as Dean from 1966 to 1984.

“A pharmacy degree is a great investment of one’s time"

Marttila fondly recalls students going to classes during the day and heading off to work in settings ranging from hospitals, nursing homes to the county welfare department in the afternoons and evenings. After graduating in 1971 with his Bachelor of Science Degree, he was accepted into the college’s first PharmD program.

After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1973, he joined Pharmaceutical Consultant Services—a group practice for pharmacists. His business partners in the venture included Lowell Anderson, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems, Albert Wertheimer, professor at Novo Southwestern University, and the late William F. Apple who served as president of the American Pharmaceutical Association until his death in 1983. “Over the years, we had many interesting business projects ranging from managed care consulting to writing managed care formularies to pharmaceutical consulting for nursing homes,” said Marttila.

After adding an MBA degree to his credentials in 1984, Marttila joined Mayo Clinic in 1987. Today, he serves as Mayo’s senior director for the Pharmaceutical Contract and Formulary Management Unit in the department of Mayo’s Supply Chain Management .

Marttila has seen the profession evolve in his decades of experience and he believes that students launching their careers today will experience a much more diversified career than seemed possible when he began his career.

“Pharmacy is truly a renaissance career”

“Pharmacy students today have a wealth of options at all levels,” said Marttila. “A pharmacy degree is a great investment of one’s time in that it’s an education that offers many opportunities right out of school, and it’s also a good starting point for advanced education in other professions such as law, technical writing, research, clinical informatics and more.”

He encourages pharmacy graduates to consider a post-PharmD degree, especially if they are interested in pursuing an administrative role. “Pharmacy is truly a renaissance career,” said Marttila. “There are more options and possibilities than ever before.”