Hardworking and driven, Mark Levi, BSP ’70, has always had a plan.
“I believe in creating my own destiny,” says Levi, an enthusiastic advocate for community Pharmacy, a profession he has practice for the last 40 years.
Soon after graduating, he jump-started his plan by working for Giant Pharmacy. Five years later, once he’d learned the business side of pharmacy; he became a junior partner at two independent pharmacies in Baltimore. In 1977, he bought his first pharmacy. His plan was on track.
Located at Cathedral and Read Streets, the Medical Arts Pharmacy did a lot of business with foreign seamen. A doctor in the same building became the first physician in the area to treat HIV/AIDS patients. Many of those patients came to Levi’s pharmacy. “The drugs we had then were not nearly as effective as they are today,” he says. “Sadly, that was the best we could do.”
In 1982, Levi and his classmate Bernie Weisman, BSP ’70, began buying local pharmacies. At the height of their partnership, they owned eight Baltimore pharmacies. Levi then became vice president of EPIC pharmacies, a cooperative of independent Maryland pharmacies. In 2005, he and another business partner opened a retail pharmacy on Joppa Road. Since selling the pharmacy to his partner in 2010, Levi is pursuing other interests.
Throughout his career, Levi sought connections with the professional community. He joined the Maryland Pharmacists Association, eventually becoming its president in 1990. He also served as president of the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy.
During those years, he even found time to testify in Annapolis for bills related to his industry.
As he advanced, his profession kept evolving. Recalling his early days as a pharmacist, Levi describes how labor intensive the job was. He used to type out, label, and stamp every prescription. His first computer, acquired in 1984, cost $25,000. It wasn’t nearly as powerful as the tiny BlackBerry that Levi keeps in his shirt pocket today.
Despite such technological advances, pharmacy today is far more complex, he says, and students need to learn much more.
Still focusing on his plan, Levi never forgot his alma mater. A longtime supporter of the School of Pharmacy, he recently made a generous donation honoring his parents with a space in the new Pharmacy Hall, the Ronny and Max Levi Seminar Room. “My parents gave me the education, but more importantly, they gave me the ability to work in this profession,” he says.
Levi is a member of the Schools Board of Visitors and its and its David Stewart Associates, a recognition club for leadership donors. Asked why he supports the School of Pharmacy, he says “I want to see the profession flourish and give another 18-year-old who wants to become a pharmacist the chance to be successful.”
Besides volunteering with the Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister League, Levi enjoys deep-sea fishing and travel. He and his wife, Susan, share four children and eight grandchildren.
Meanwhile, the plan worked. Says Levi, “It’s been a very rewarding career. I’ve made a very good life.”