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Released October 15, 2004


HATTIESBURG - Max Draughn's quest for opportunity and his down-to-earth work ethic after graduation from The University of Southern Mississippi have resulted in the success that many entrepreneurs dream about. As the founder and chief executive officer of Cypress Pharmaceutical in Madison, Draughn has guided his company to a position of prominence and respect within the industry.

The 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year honoree from the College of Business and Economic Development, Draughn will talk about his entrepreneurial experience and what it takes to achieve success during a lecture at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27. The lecture will be held in Joseph Greene Hall, Room 116 on the Hattiesburg campus.

Draughn, a 1984 graduate of Southern Miss, will also be honored by the business school with a reception and dinner on the same day at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center.

Cypress Pharmaceutical is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, markets and distributes generic prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products to the leading national wholesalers, chain drugstores, distributors, and other retail merchandisers. Since its inception, Cypress has earned its reputation as one of the most respected pharmaceutical companies in the United States.

Well-regarded by peers, the company has been a six-time recipient of one of the pharmaceutical industry's highest honors, the Supplier Quality Award from Cardinal Health. Cypress Pharmaceutical also was named the second fastest-growing privately held company in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal in 2003.

In 1998, Draughn expanded the company by founding Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals, a branded division of Cypress. A patient-focused company, Hawthorn has sales representatives throughout the United States. Together, the two companies will generate $90 million to $100 million in revenue this year and have 125 employees nationwide.

Draughn is a Petal native and finished college in three years with a degree in political science. He got his first taste of the pharmaceutical industry while working as a sales representative for Forest Laboratories from 1987-1990, and for Wallace Laboratories in 1991. Draughn spent a year as director of sales for Generic Distributors in 1992, before founding Cypress Pharmaceutical, a company that now produces more than 150 generic pharmaceutical products.

The Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award was launched in 2001 to recognize individuals who have received national attention and who have made significant contributions to the field of business. Previous recipients of the award are Bruce Rossmeyer (2003), president of Rossmeyer Family Enterprises; Bill Hudson Jr. (2002), CEO and president of Hudson Salvage Inc.; and David Oreck (2001), chairman of the board and founder of Oreck Corp.


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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM