Bellwether League, Inc.15 called to healthcare supply chain ‘hall of fame’
Bellwether Class of 2010 reflect diverse executive-level performance, professionalism

SSCHAUMBURG, IL (July 8, 2010) – Bellwether League Inc., the healthcare supply chain “hall of fame,” elected its largest class of noteworthy honorees, 15 influential professionals that span more than eight decades of dedicated service among healthcare providers, suppliers and service organizations.

Bellwether League Inc.’s 11-member Board of Directors selected 15 retired and active industry veterans to induct into this year’s group of industry innovators, leaders and pioneers. The Bellwether Class of 2010 Honorees include: Ted Almon, Carter F. Blake, Br. Ned Gerber, George R. Gossett, Frank Kilzer, Michael Louviere, Robert Majors, Franklin J. Marshall, Daniel E. Mayworm, Foster G. McGaw, Mark McKenna, G. Gilmer Minor III, Curt M. Selquist, Donald G. Soth and Louis Vietti.

Bellwether League Inc.’s Board chose these individuals for their intellectual and operational contributions to healthcare. They represent creative thinkers who take the initiative, expand the boundaries of what’s possible, and perform in a way that improves and promotes the principles and profession of supply chain management among hospitals, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), manufacturers and distributors, consulting firms, educational institutions and media properties.

Three are former presidents of the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) – in fact, one is the professional group’s inaugural president; one is a former chairman of the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) and current chairman of National Distribution and Contracting Inc. (NDC); and three led a trio of the largest product suppliers in healthcare.
Bellwether League Inc. will honor the Bellwether Class of 2010 at its Third Annual Honoree Induction Dinner, scheduled for Oct. 5, 2010, at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel. The event occurs during AHRMM’s National Healthcare Resource & Materials Management Week.

Companies or individuals wishing to fete any or all of the Honorees can visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at www.bellwetherleague.org to register to attend and/or sponsor the award dinner or post congratulatory messages in the collectible award dinner program.

“Bellwether League Inc. is most pleased and proud to introduce to the industry the 2010 Class of Honorees, which exemplifies the principles upon which Bellwether League was founded, and helps it further advance toward fulfillment of its mission,” said Chairman Jamie C. Kowalski.

“This class has a mix of individuals that made bellwether contributions to advance the art and science of healthcare supply chain management in a variety of ways, and through a variety of roles and supply chain business partner organizations,” Kowalski continued. “The common thread of this mix of pioneers is their ability, courage and willingness to look to the future and commit to innovations that would shape the supply chain going forward.

“The 2010 Honorees will provide those currently in the industry and those to come with role models that can and should be emulated, as well as motivation to pursue their own innovative contributions to supply chain management, he noted. “This is particularly critical, given the struggling domestic and world economies, the unrelenting rise in healthcare costs along with growing demand for services, and the fundamental need for healthcare providers to operate at a maximum level of cost-effectiveness. Industry data and numerous real-world successes clearly demonstrate that supply chain management innovation and performance optimization are powerful sources for what hospitals need to reach the required level of efficiency.”

Ted Almon

As president and CEO of the Claflin Co., one of the industry’s leading regional independent healthcare product distributors, Ted Almon embraced and implemented advanced logistics programs, such as stockless, for hospitals and directed his company to become the industry’s first ISO 9002 Certified distribution firm. As chairman of HIDA and NDC, Almon also remains a passionate, public and tireless advocate for supply chain management principles, distribution performance and fundamental healthcare reform in the areas of cost, quality and access.

Carter F. Blake

Equipped with Army training and a military medical career in sterile processing, Carter Blake entered into the purchasing arena by detailing pharmaceuticals to doctors, clinics and hospitals and then transferred into an entry-level junior buyer position for a regional faith-based group purchasing organization. After mastering supply chain fundamentals with the group, he ventured more than 1,000 miles away to develop a group purchasing program from the ground up for another regional faith-based organization that spanned five states. Before retiring in late 1997, Blake finished his nearly four-decade career as an executive for Vector Healthsystems, a founding shareholder of Amerinet Inc.

Br. Ned Gerber

Br. Ned Gerber, CPA, was a diehard evangelist and developer of industry benchmarks, having spearheaded the national Performance Indicators program for AHRMM, one of the earliest national sources of metrics for healthcare supply chain management. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he was a prolific author and speaker on healthcare materials management topics.  After leading supply chain activities at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Gerber transitioned into a consulting career where his devotion to clients was legendary, including making 11 p.m. Friday visits to hospitals to see how the 3rd shift in distribution was doing. Gerber continually pushed the envelope for new ideas. He proceeded to devote himself to ministry work, serving as a Benedictine Brother, while consulting on broader healthcare topics in Sydney, Australia.

George R. Gossett

The late George R. Gossett believed in the fundamental importance of healthcare materials management, envisioning its long-term prominence, and promoting educational and professional development of the discipline. While serving at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, Gossett was instrumental in transforming AHRMM into a full-fledged personal membership organization that emphasized professional education, and was elected its first president in 1962. AHRMM named its highest honor, an award that recognizes industry-advancing leadership and professionalism, after him.

Frank Kilzer

Frank Kilzer is recognized as being the first to implement an internally developed bar-code scanning and electronic commerce technology in a healthcare materials management operation in 1985, located in North Dakota. For the past four decades he has focused on educating all sectors of the healthcare industry about the benefits of using these technologies to streamline the supply chain. Kilzer continues to assist hospitals, distributors, manufacturers and the transportation sector with reengineering their material handling processes and remains an active driver for developing industry standards for bar coding healthcare products.  

Michael Louviere

Michael Louviere actively linked supply chain with pharmacy operations more than two decades before it became a more mainstream model in management efficiency circles. Louviere parlayed his pharmacy background and training into progressively higher supply chain management executive positions for a number of hospitals and health systems. During the turbulent healthcare reform-focused 1990s, Louviere assumed a leading supply chain and strategic product development executive role at investor-owned Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which also developed a consolidated service center model under his watch. Louviere also pioneered supply chain operations for a market-leading group of cancer-treatment facilities.

Robert Majors

The late Robert Majors was an early and avid supporter of electronic commerce with expertise in healthcare systems automation, but he was renowned for his stalwart dedication to group purchasing and its inherent value to hospital supply chain management, and best known for his tireless efforts to promote supply chain as a strategic component of hospital operations that belonged in the C-suite . With a keen understanding of the buyer-seller relationship culled from nearly three decades in hospital materials management and 10 years in sales, Majors strove for seamless partnerships with every department in the hospital setting to generate high-quality patient outcomes.

Franklin J. Marshall

Credit Frank Marshall for bringing centralized purchasing and distribution center programs to a small faith-based healthcare system in North Dakota in the late 1960s to mid-1970s, and later for establishing and implementing successful group purchasing programs in Delaware, Washington, DC, and Denver. During his term as executive director of Denver-based COPAC Inc., Marshall nearly tripled the regional GPO’s membership base and more than tripled its contracting commitment. He was best known in GPO circles as a tireless and eloquent advocate for committed-volume contracting practices, and for the advancement of GPO excellence. He also served as AHRMM president from 1974 to 1975.

Daniel E. Mayworm

As an active participant in healthcare supply chain management development, Dan Mayworm successfully published several influential magazines dedicated to the industry and served as a frequent speaker at various trade association meetings after a market-leading career in medical product packaging. A prolific author, educator, speaker and advocate of materials management, sterile processing, surgical services and infection control issues, principles and standards, Mayworm consistently sought to foster clinical and process innovation and quality, as much as report and write about it. His publications and seminars encouraged and influenced many in the industry to explore the scope and depth of the healthcare supply chain as something more than just purchasing.

Foster G. McGaw

If there were a list of most frequently mentioned leaders and titans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Foster McGaw certainly would be on it, if not perched near or at the top. His name remains a marketed brand and his quotations and business philosophies are used by many companies as benchmarks. McGaw founded American Hospital Supply, one of the leading and most influential medical/surgical product manufacturers/distributors in the nation that promoted ethical supply chain management principles and advocated high-quality customer service. McGaw and his company, which now is part of Cardinal Health Inc., shaped the hospital supply industry and helped to create and develop the standards under which it continues to operate. He also was a renowned philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to hospitals and educational institutions.

Mark McKenna

As the second and longest-serving president to date of one of the nation’s largest GPOs in terms of annual purchasing volume, Mark McKenna brought growth, with order and stability to Novation during a turbulent period in GPO history. McKenna guided Novation during his tenure, overseeing membership and program expansion and diversification, as well as advocating and defending group purchasing on Capitol Hill and within the healthcare industry.

G. Gilmer Minor III

Gil Minor III has been intimately involved with the healthcare supply chain industry since the 1960s, well before he took his family-owned company, Owens & Minor Inc., public, and within the last decade, set out on the path through acquisitions and organic growth to become the nation’s largest distributor of medical/surgical supplies. Under Minor’s leadership, the company pioneered the Activity-Based Costing method for pricing distribution services, just-in-time/stockless distribution and a series of software products for enhancing supply chain management efficiency. He continued the company founders’ principles of providing services to customers and dealing with colleagues ethically, solidifying the company’s reputation in the industry. Minor also spearheaded the founding of O&M University, originally to provide supply chain training and career advancing education to O&M staffers, but, in recent years, has expanded access to the hospital community that may not have other resources for formally training its supply chain staff.

Curt M. Selquist

As company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson Medical and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems, Curt Selquist wasn’t interested in watching Internet-based electronic commerce develop from the sidelines, nor was he content or satisfied with available options at the turn of the millennium. So he marshaled support within Johnson & Johnson’s top corporate hierarchy, as well as rallied and recruited his chief executive counterparts at such leading firms as Abbott Laboratories, Baxter International, GE Healthcare and Medtronic, to found, fund and launch an independent, open and vendor-neutral online trading exchange. Today, GHX remains the nation’s largest online e-commerce hub and one of the largest in the world.

Donald G. Soth

In healthcare circles, the late Don Soth successfully managed the delicate balance between the art and science of supply chain efficiency, and could be described as both a pragmatist and a visionary with his sterile processing and logistics concepts and implementations. As the face in front of AMSCO’s Systems Division, which now is part of STERIS Corp., Soth worked with the late Gordon Friesen (Bellwether Class of 2009 Inductee) to develop a variety of material handling and processing models and technologies, such as automated loading and unloading washer-sterilizer units, pneumatic tube systems, cart lifts and guided vehicle systems. AMSCO’s industry-leading education programs served as the forum for these models and concepts and for Soth’s skills in presenting them.

Louis Vietti

Lou Vietti was one of the more prominent advocates for implementing state-of-the-art industrial applications to hospital support services and linking supply chain operations to information technology. Vietti demonstrated a mastery of JIT/stockless distribution in a university hospital setting and developed a first-class, off-site warehouse for the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics. He showed how the use of computers and exchange carts in inventory and logistics management could improve accuracy and productivity, as well as process flexibility for clinicians.

Prior to the current class of 15, Bellwether League Inc., a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation, has identified and honored 21 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories. They are: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services.
The Education & Media category includes college/university professors and researchers, publishers, editors and writers. The Supply Chain Management category includes professionals working at hospitals and other non-acute care facilities, hospital systems and integrated delivery organizations. The Group Purchasing category includes professionals from among the national, regional, state, metropolitan and local group purchasing programs. The Supplier category includes professionals employed by manufacturers and distributors of products and services purchased by healthcare providers. The Consulting Services category includes those professionals advising, instructing and motivating healthcare supply chain management professionals as the primary focus of their practice over the years.
The inaugural Bellwether Class of 2008 included Dean S. Ammer, Ph.D., Lee C. Boergadine, Gene D. Burton, Charles E. Housley, Thomas W. Kelly, William J. McFaul, Tom Pirelli, Donald J. Siegle and Alex J. Vallas.
The Bellwether Class of 2009 included George Ainsworth, Charles Auslander, Guy J. Clark, Gordon A. Friesen, Lillian R. Matiska, Brien Laing, William M. McKnight Jr., Sara I. Mobley, Paul B. Powell, Samuel G. Raudenbush, Warren D. Rhodes and James E. Stover. Read their profiles on Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at www.bellwetherleague.org.

About Bellwether League Inc.

Launched in late July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Inc., a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation, identifies and honors men and women who have demonstrated significant leadership in, influence on and contributions to the supply chain from healthcare providers, healthcare product manufacturers and distributors, group purchasing organizations, consulting firms, educational institutions and media outlets.

Bellwether League Inc. is funded by five Founding Sponsors – Hospira, Kimberly-Clark Health Care, MedAssets, Owens & Minor and Premier Purchasing Partners – and a host of additional sponsors.

Bellwether League Inc. selects retired and currently active professionals with a minimum of 25 years of exemplary service and leadership performance in supply chain operations that meet its criteria to be publicly recognized. Honorees demonstrate their qualifications through advancing the profession, work experience, work performance and active participation in professional organizations.

The Board of Directors of Bellwether League Inc. comprises a veteran group of industry advocates that includes:

For more information, to become a corporate or individual sponsor or to nominate honoree candidates visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at www.bellwetherleague.org. Photos are available by request.