Dura rep finds "instant" success

Pharmaceutical Representative

When Dura Pharmaceuticals regional marketing manager Mark Sullivan talks about rookie sales rep Todd Gay, words like "incredible," "phenomenal" and "huge success story" come up frequently.

When Dura Pharmaceuticals regional marketing manager Mark Sullivan talks about rookie sales rep Todd Gay, words like "incredible," "phenomenal" and "huge success story" come up frequently. Although Gay has been promoting Dura's respiratory drugs for less than 10 months, he has tripled the market share for his products - and he's still gaining.

Gay, a former junior high school teacher and basketball coach, was diagnosed with cancer at age 15 and, after intensive treatment, lost his leg to amputation. Today, he sees the challenge of cancer and amputation as a blessing in disguise. His speaking skills and his ability to make others feel comfortable are personality traits that he cultivated after the operation, and they have been instrumental in his early success as a rep.

In his free time Gay golfs, plays with his two-year-old daughter and talks with former students. He also visits young people who face cancer-related amputations. "I walk in there and tell them, 'I know exactly what you're going through,'" he said. "And they say, 'No, you don't! How would you know what I'm going through?' Then I just throw my leg up on the bed and say, 'This is why.' And they're so relieved; they break into an instant smile because they had no idea!"

"That's the best thing," Gay said. "They see a person who has lived through it. I have a great job, a great wife, a great family. That's what these kids have to see. You can't get bogged down in what's happening right now: You have to keep looking ahead every single day."