Liberty’s Trowbridge assumes command at RDI

Sunday, June 20, 2004

June 21, 2004

FOLEY, Ala. - Keith Trowbridge, former president of Liberty Medical Supply, recently saddled a new challenge with the announcement Friday that he has taken the reins at Respiratory Distributors, Inc. as president and CEO.
Trowbridge, who resigned from Liberty in February, takes over at RDI during a time when steep cuts threaten the inhalation drug business.
"[That challenge] is what makes it fun," said Trowbridge in an interview Friday with HME News. "
During his five-year tenure at Liberty, Trowbridge helped build Liberty Home Pharmacy and grew the company's revenues from $100 million to about $450 million. Trowbridge said he hopes parallels between the two companies will translate into similar growth.
"Liberty had a good brand, and I think RDI has a strong brand recognition," he said. "I think we have a really dynamic management team here, which I was impressed with when I met them, and those are a lot of the similarities I walked into at Liberty."
The move comes as a surprise to some in the business who say the new position is an about-face for Trowbridge and RDI. While RDI distributes respiratory meds mostly to pharmacies, Liberty markets direct to the consumer.
"[RDI’s customers] typically wouldn’t look to Keith as an ally unless he can do what Bill Kennedy [Rotech’s founder] is doing at Nephron," said one industry source. “’Bill says, ‘Look, I‘ve been in it, and I know I competed with you, but I’ll show you how to be as strong as I once was.’"
Respiratory Distributors, in a press release on the appointment, said it is confident in the "tremendous amount of experience and operational skills" that Trowbridge brings to the table," said Scott King, managing director of Sun Capital Partners.
Sun Capital, a private investment firm, acquired RDI this winter.