For Randy Ware and the employees at Clearwater’s West Coast Medical Resources, the past two and a half decades have meant not only working to build a successful business, but working to make their community better.
Located in northeast Belleair, where Ware has a home, WestCMR is a secondary distributor of disposable surgical supplies.
Ware launched the company from his Largo home office on May 20, 1997 and began hiring employees in 2009. Since then, the business has grown rapidly. The first warehouse was in Seminole but after outgrowing that facility, WestCMR moved to its current Clearwater location.
In 2014, the company added 11,000 square feet, and in 2020, Ware bought an adjacent building to plan growth. Currently, WestCMR has more than 60 employees and plans to expand to a team of 80 by 2027. Along with that physical growth, Ware plans to continue to supply various non-profits through his philanthropic ventures.
During any year, Ware says WestCMR donates to about 30 different charities. Over the past eight years, the company has donated over $1.5 million to charitable causes. He says about 90 percent of the charities are steady recipients of contributions. Two-thirds are in Florida and the rest are in Basalt, Colorado, where Ware also owns a home.
Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Dream Fund, Morton Plant Mease Healthcare Foundation, the Clearwater Free Clinic, Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay are a few of the charities that receive support. A recent $10,000 donation to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay was made in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.
The charitable missions of those organizations were highlighted at WestCMR’s 25th-anniversary celebration, held May 20th at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium conference center.
There, about 120 guests, including WestCMR staff, guests, and friends and families of vendors mingled and heard Ware discuss the importance of giving back to the community.
"Philanthropy is of the utmost importance to this team," says Ware, 60. "Twenty-five years ago, I only dreamed of being able to make the impact we make today. It’s really sunk in the last 10 or 15 years that my business is an instrument; it’s an instrument to not just make money and take care of my family and have fun, but it’s been a great instrument to help the families of those who work for me and their spouses and kids with scholarship funds. I just wake up every day and have an instrument to help my company and me and my employees do good for others and make money and have fun.”
Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties CEO and President Mike Sutton says his organization looks to partner with companies whose “missions and values line up with Habitat’s.” Sutton, who lives in Largo, says WestCMR fits that description. He says Ware and WestCMR have helped Habitat on local projects and on mission trips to the national organization and, along with three Habitat staff members, to Cambodia.
“I think when we look at partners in the community, we look at companies with missions whose values line up with Habitat’s,” Sutton says. “He’s always looking for ways that he and his employees can engage in the community. When Habitat for Humanity partners with a company or organization, the most important piece is that the mission and values line up. He encourages and engages his employees. Habitat for Humanity has provided a great opportunity for his employees to do that.”
Morton Plant Mease Healthcare Foundation President and CEO Ernestine Morgan says WestCMR shares Morton Plant Mease’s vision and values and is a Corporate Associates member.
“WestCMR plays an important role in our organization’s mission as they represent business and community leaders who invest their time talent and financial resources to promote superior health care in our community,” Morgan says by email.
Clearwater Economic Development and Housing Director Denise Sanderson says the city is proud of Ware’s commitment to non-profit agencies.
“The City of Clearwater is proud of WestCMR’s 25 years of growth and success in our community,” Sanderson says by email. “We are especially proud of Randy’s commitment to philanthropy and his support of our non-profit organizations. We believe that by doing good, good things will happen and Randy Ware and WestCMR are wonderful examples of that.”
In addition to its philanthropic help, WestCMR also earned the 2021 Business Excellence Award from AMPLIFY Clearwater, the chamber of commerce organization that promotes businesses, tourism and industry advancement to strengthen the economy in Clearwater.
Ware says all the accolades and achievements are welcomed. However, he says he thinks only about one percent of businesses and owners really have the big picture of business and community service in focus. When he turned 50, he began giving books away. In each, he would inscribe: “We all leave a footprint…and it matters.”
He has even had the saying incorporated into a mural on his company’s building.
“I’d like to think I’m one of that one percent…I think I’m on the right path and I’ve had good mentors, men and women who are really inspirational to me,” Ware says.
For more information on organizations in this story go to WestCMR, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, Morton Plant Mease Health Care Foundation, City of Clearwater Department of Economic Development and Housing.