Like, what he learned from Mark Twain
Harj Samra’s first job was working at a grocery store in his hometown of Terrace, in Northern B.C., when he was 15. He went from rounding up shopping carts, to bagging groceries, stocking dairy shelves and, eventually, the pharmacy department. “I saw how the pharmacists had a direct contact with patients and how often they would be relied on and trusted when it came to not only drugs, but everything healthcare related,” he says. “I suppose I went to school to get to the other side of the counter.”
After graduating from UBC, Samra returned to Terrace as a pharmacist. Small towns like Terrace have a hard time finding health professionals, he notes. “Although I’ve seen mail order pharmacies, I realized that outside of getting your medications delivered, they don’t offer much for a pharmacy experience.”
In 2018, Samra, Raj Gulia and Abhinav Gupta co-founded Vancouver-based PocketPills, with a goal to manage medication more safely, easily and cost-effectively. Canada’s first tech-based pharmacy that delivers pre-sorted medication to patients across the country, PocketPills uses automation technology to make managing medications easier, sorting medication by date and time before delivering for free directly to patients. The company expanded its services into Ontario this summer and officially launches in Manitoba this month, bringing online access to medication to patients nationwide.
Samra still loves Terrace—and here’s what else.
What's your favourite spot in B.C.?
Lakelse Canyon. Up in Terrace, you take a small trail up to where Lakelse Lake flows out to eventually become a river. It’s the perfect secluded cliff-jumping canyon. It has warm water and a nice sandbar to either sunbathe or run back up for another jump. Total bliss!
My last vacation was to Philadelphia. It was my seventh year of my annual sports trip with my college friends. It’s always been a great weekend of sports and new cities. On this trip we got to see the Flyers, Sixers and Eagles play, with an impromptu layover in New York for the night.
Most memorable movie was probably Contact for me. I’m sure I have lots of movies that I find better now, but at that time it really questioned a lot of things for me and my role in the universe. I also don’t know another movie where opinions of it are so opposite.
Favourite restaurant bar for my wife and me is Pourhouse in Gastown. Even with dinner plans somewhere else, we will still stop by for a cocktail at the bar and a Scotch egg or two.
What’s your morning routine?
I wake up early before the kids get up and make coffee for my wife and me before heading to a gym class. I find it’s a great way to stay energized working throughout the day by having a healthy body. I get back to the kids waking up for school, eat a quick breakfast and head out to work.
I love all competition. I love trying new things, being terrible at it and then doing my best to improve. I joined an ice hockey team last year before I even learned how to skate properly. It’s great to see how putting effort into something new can give you great satisfaction, especially contributing to a team sport.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” —Mark Twain
It’s often not as bad or as good as it seems.
Data entry position. I love being part of a team, and the isolated desk job wasn’t the best fit.
Elephant. They are strong, smart, nurturing to their young and have an excellent memory.