By Christine Imbs
Michael Holmes is not one to let the grass grow under his feet.
"I'm really not much different than I was as a kid," he says. "I had non-stop energy and was outgoing. And being good at multi-tasking, I took part in multiple activities. I guess I just enjoy staying busy."
Holmes isn't kidding. He graduated from Washington University in three years with a triple major with honors, while playing
intramural sports and pledging a fraternity. Today he's using that same high-energy in his role as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Express Scripts in St. Louis. But it wasn't a role he chose for himself. In fact, it chose him.
"I actually retired from corporate America to volunteer my time with non-profits," he says. "I was 46 at the time and had over 25 years experience in the human resources field."
But although passionate about his new career path, Holmes says he soon realized that he had retired too soon. He needed more of a challenge. That's when Express Scripts came knocking at his door with an offer he just couldn't refuse.
"I thought I could make more of a contribution if I went back to work, and this
position looked interesting," he explains. "It was not only challenging, but it was a position where I felt realistically I could make
True to his nature, Holmes reentered the corporate world with a vengeance. Today he is not only in charge of Human Resources, but of all Express Scripts corporate staff groups including corporate real estate, procurement, public affairs, communications and safety and security. Additionally, he is responsible for the chief medical office including research & clinical services. Most recently, he's added the company's Pharmaceutical Services businesses— HealthBridge and Rx Outreach—under his guidance.
"You know, I didn't come into this position thinking I was going to do all of these things," he says. "But that's what's great about Express Scripts. If you do something well, they'll give you the opportunity to do something more. And I just love challenges. It's just inherent in who I am."
Despite his reentry into the corporate world, Holmes still manages to find the time to volunteer his services with nonprofit organizations. Currently he is on the board of Missouri Baptist Hospital, the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, the United Way and RCGA. He also sits on advisory boards for Harris Stowe Business School and Webster University, and recently began working for the local Sickle Cell Chapter. He admits it's a lot of work, but believes it's something he must do.
"I truly believe in what the Bible says, "To whom much is given, much is required." And I know I've been blessed in my life," he says. "I'm just trying to do my part to make this a better place for people. Obviously, there's a limit to what you can do when you're going 100 miles per hour. But it's important to me. Still, I have to be selective and that is hard to do. I've learned if you spread yourself too thin, you're not going to help anyone."
Holmes credits his parents for giving him the inspiration and the drive to succeed in life. He also credits former managing partner at Edward Jones, John Bachman, and Express Scripts CEO George Paz as big career influences. But when it comes to his personal life, he says without a doubt it's his wife and kids that keep him on solid footing.
"My wife tells me, 'You can have all the positions you want in corporate America. But when you get home, youÕre not a VP any more. You're a part of this family." And really, that's what I enjoy the most."
BORN: St. Louis; grew up in Berkley
FAMILY: Wife, Gail, and two kids
EDUCATION: Triple major from Washington University; MBA from Webster University; graduate of the Coro Foundation
FAVORITE BOOK: "The Bible. I read it everyday."
FAVORITE MUSICIAN: Gospel singer, Kirk Franklin.
HOBBIES: Golf, fishing
FAVORITE TRAVEL SPOT: "I recently bought a home in Scottsdale, Ariz. on a golf course."
ON ST. LOUIS: "A great place to raise a family. It has a lot to offer."