We set sail for Cork
In April 2001, a man named Andy Smith travelled from Altanta, Georgia to Cork, Ireland with the mission of setting up a Central Software Distribution office for McKesson. Opening their doors on April 18th, teamed with just 6 employees, they had their work cut out for them. The core business was CD/DVD/ tape/disc duplication and documentation printing for distribution to customers. As a result, McKesson was primarily a production facility. There were 2 companies; McKesson Information Solutions (software production) and McKesson Ireland International Limited (print production). The site had its First InterQual Order (printed materials) in 2002.
Once a solid foundation was put in place, in 2003, McKesson ramped up printing and ran a weekly FedEx freight to the US. In 2003, McKesson Cork also welcomed its first Finance employee, Rory Lankford, who would go on to act as both VP/GM McKesson Ireland & VP Finance McKesson Technology. Rory would play a vital role in the success of the site. For the next two years, the company continued to onboard new employees who would act as key resources, many of whom are still with the company today.
NorthStar comes onboard
In 2005, McKesson welcomed a new addition, a company called NorthStar. This company originated in 2003 as a business development innovation and organically grown as McKesson’s private label generics sourcing program. NorthStar is a leading global supplier of generic pharmaceuticals.
’In keeping with our shared McKesson values, ICARE and ILEAD underpins every facet of what we do in NorthStar; how we collaborate, foster innovation, deliver results and grow. Being resilient and courageous when facing difficult challenges, coupled with our “can do” work ethic, is what makes us the successful healthcare organization we are today’’ – Colm Moynihan, General Manager, Cork, Ireland.
Forming stateside connections
Gradually, the team began to travel to the US to build key relationships and discuss further opportunities for collaboration with other parts of the McKesson family. With that, brought its fair share of memorable experiences. “At the time, Irish mobile phones did not work in the US. So, the site had to get a travelling phone and laptop that was only used for travelling to the states. It’s hilarious when I think back now!” Rose Cahalane, Sr Associate Systems Engineer and one of the 6 employees that started in 2001. She was also the only IT employee at the time!
Up to recently, teams across the Cork site were regular visitors to Alpharetta (Atlanta GA), The Woodlands (Houston TX) One Post (previous HQ) and Scottsdale, Arizona.
“From insisting on ordering cakes for employee birthdays, circuits at lunchtime and free sodas all year long, it was just fantastic” Rose Cahalane, Sr Associate Systems Engineer. There is no doubt that McKesson Cork and NorthStar have shown they are the ‘best place to work’. Still to this day, the culture has not changed. Many other colleagues fondly reflect on “trips to America for a Pinnacle [internal McKesson] competition, getting a half day for 4th of July and all hands-on deck for quarter ends!”.
In 2017, a refit was carried out. The site expanded its technology hub to include areas such as: Cybersecurity, Software Development, Cloud Business Intelligence, End-User and Software Distribution services for our regional and global customers. NorthStar launched their first products in the U.K. in 2017 and plans for further growth across Europe was established.
In 2018 NorthStar opened a new laboratory in Cork which specialises in quality control testing of drug products that are sourced and distributed for the U.S. market. In November 2018, NorthStar became McKesson Speciality Health’s largest supplier and in December 2019, the number one supplier to McKesson’s ‘OneStop’ sales channel. In fiscal year FY20, they commercialised 43 new drug families – their largest annual launch volume to date.
The endless talent available in our Cork site plays a key role in continuing to build Healthcare of the Future. The results of this talent can be seen through the awards won by various teams in the last number of years. Just a handful of these include: “Multinational of the Year Award” at the IT@Cork Leaders Awards 2018, “Best Application of AI in a Large Enterprise” in 2018, Women in IT Awards – Innovation category in 2019 and finally Corporate & Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year at the Irish Accountancy Awards 2020.
2020 – New Leadership
In 2020, Brian Padden assumed the reins of new General Manager of McKesson Cork from Rory Lankford, Brian is also VP of Information Security for Europe and Global leader of the Operational Technology Security team. He and the newly formed Senior Leadership team have worked tirelessly to ensure the strong culture that has always been a key driver of success in Cork continues through our latest evolution.
2020 also brought with it, some uncharted territory. On Friday, March 13th, following government guidelines of the Covid-19 outbreak, it was decided that all non-essential staff were to work from home until further notice. With this brought many obstacles. But in true McKesson style, the Cork site worked together to forge a plan to maintain essential site operations as well as making the transition process for employees as smooth as possible. Incorporating Brian Tyler’s ethos of ‘Flex your day’, teams slowly adapted to their new normal. Events including chair yoga, daily team coffee mornings, Mental Health First Aid team check in’s raffles, night-out ins and more!
20th Anniversary Celebrations
McKesson Cork are currently preparing for a virtual celebration with the hope of restrictions being eased in the summer for colleagues to meet safely for a summer party. A special virtual Communications meeting will also take place in April where we will roll the back the years and reflect on our success to date. As McKesson Cork approaches its 20th anniversary, NorthStar is proud to have been an active partner in the site’s growth and diversification.
The Future for Cork
“Extraordinary Leadership with their innovative qualities leads us to embrace change and the people’s openness to adapt makes it a success” Anna O’Donovan, Senior Manager, IP Management and with the McKesson Cork team since 2003.
Through the years, McKesson Cork has adapted to new and changing environments, enabling us to support the evolution of McKesson globally. We’ve achieved this by being aware of and responsive to the changing needs of the business. We endeavour to do this by delivering relevant solutions to our colleagues, both east and west, giving us a unique sense of global balance.
McKesson Cork has evolved several times over the past two decades in order to best serve the needs of McKesson globally, and will continue to find ways to stay relevant and deliver value.
As part of this journey the site leadership team are currently taking part in a Government backed academic program to “Lead with Strategic Intent”. This program is focused on subsidiaries of international organisations on a journey to examine their mission, stakeholder relationships and how they can best deliver value to the parent organisation. This will culminate in late April with a capstone event at which the team will present an outline plan of a potential future strategy to continue to grow and deliver business value to McKesson.
Today, NorthStar has enduring relationships with many global drug manufacturers across three continents. As we approach the end of fiscal year FY21, NorthStar will reach the historic milestone of $1billion gross sales, a remarkable achievement for the global team.
As we evolve we will continue to engage with our colleagues in United Drug, MGPSL, Clarus One, McKesson ventures, Lloyds Pharmacy, McKesson Europe and others to seek our opportunities to utilise our location to provide additional value to McKesson and our customers, partners and patients. Working together to make better care possible.