Bellwether League, Inc.10 pioneers enter healthcare supply chain leaders hall of fame
Bellwether Class of 2012 emphasize, reinforce trailblazing leadership

SCHAUMBURG, IL (October 19, 2012) – Bellwether League Inc., the healthcare supply chain leaders hall of fame, inducted 10 pioneering professionals who moved the needle and stretched the boundaries of what’s possible to achieve in this increasingly important segment of a reform-minded industry.

Hailing from healthcare provider, supplier and service organizations, the 10 were inducted on Tuesday, October 2, during Bellwether League Inc.’s 5th Annual Honoree Induction Dinner event at the Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel.

They are John H. Clarke, Paul V. Farrell, Max H. Goodloe Sr., Roberta Graham, R.N., George O. Hansen, James L. Hersma, Thomas W. Hughes, Carl L. Manley, Raymond J. Seigfried and Robert A. Simpson. Visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site (www.bellwetherleague.org) to read their profiles, and view photos and access video from the event.

Bellwether League Inc. Co-Founder and Executive Director Rick Dana Barlow opened the ceremony by using five words – a reflection of the organization’s five years – to emphasize how pervasively the supply chain impacts healthcare. “Because supply chain touches everyone,” Barlow said matter-of-factly. “Simple, but powerful. Thought-provoking and profound.” He highlighted some examples, from the equipment and supplies used to the food and pharmaceuticals consumed to the bandwidth and power provided to clean the air everyone breathes.

“Supply chain really does touch everyone,” he continued, “from the clinician to the administrator to the patient to the patient’s family to the contractors and business associates to the community at large. We’re reaching a turning point in thinking. Supply chain is the new black. It’s fashionable. Each of [these Honorees] has contributed to that momentum.”

During his introductory remarks, Bellwether League Inc. Co-Founder and Chairman Jamie C. Kowalski reflected on the organization’s mission to recognize innovative leadership in all sectors of the supply chain – from hospitals and integrated delivery networks to group purchasing organizations, suppliers, educators, media outlets and consultants. “We’re all somehow integrated partners in the supply chain,” he noted.

Kowalski then defined the term “bellwether” that the Founding Board strove to emulate from the start: “A bellwether is a person who assumes the leadership or forefront of a profession or industry and who shows the existence of a direction or trend.

“We thought we were setting the bar pretty high, and it was a bold statement,” he continued. But he added that the Board and the 43 members of the Bellwether Classes of 2008-2011, as well as the 10 members of the Bellwether Class of 2012, live up to those standards.

“We are a hall of fame for supply chain leaders – those of exemplary contributions and accomplishments,” he said. “All of these individuals, in some way or another, have moved the needle, made a positive impact, and by doing so have furthered the contribution made by supply chain management to the quality and affordability of healthcare in the United States. We really believe there is that direct connection.”

Kowalski emphasized that those bellwethers inducted should be examples to others.

“We hope that their work and their recognition will serve [for] newcomers into this industry, and into this profession as it is practiced in this industry, as a role model and a motivation for excelling, for contributing more than they get back for what they’re doing in supply chain.”

Recognizing performance

Teamwork emerged as the common theme among all of the Honoree acceptance speeches with each one acknowledging, recognizing and thanking those colleagues, competitors, family members and spouses for their support not only in progressing through a career but also in giving back to the industry.

As the first Honoree to spend his career serving in the military and as a civilian working with the military, COL John H. Clarke (RET – U.S. Army) credited the work accomplished in the private sector that served as models for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Administration to emulate and implement on their own. What motivated him was the desire that “our sons and daughters serving overseas would get the supplies they needed,” he said.

Clarke also urged the industry to adopt global supply chain data standards to promote efficiency and streamline operations.

Mary Farrell, who with her brother Peter, accepted the award on behalf of their father Paul V. Farrell, C.P.M., who died in 1997. She expressed gratitude that her father’s work helped those in the healthcare supply chain industry be more productive. Farrell, regarded as one of the foremost purchasing experts, dedicated nearly 50 years of editorial, consulting and teaching experience in purchasing activities.

Roberta Graham, R.N., who retired as executive vice president of UHC after nearly two decades of service there, marveled at the direction her career took. She traced her early days as a nurse more than four decades ago to her migration to supply chain where she developed extensive benchmarking, operational improvement and value analysis programs and linked clinical and operational data with human resources.

“If you told me 40 years ago when I started that I would be standing up here accepting a supply chain leadership award I wouldn’t have believed you,” Graham said. Through her experience at UHC and Novation she learned supply chain’s broader agenda and overall contributions to healthcare. “I realized how and where it all comes together,” she added.

George O. Hansen, who celebrated a birthday on the night of his induction, set the tone by noting that you can’t escape change in healthcare. As the lead systems design consultant for American Sterilizer Co. (AMSCO) that introduced and incorporated the principles of throughput and workflow analysis, Hansen knows something about the issue. “If I talk to you about change I’d be preaching to the choir,” he said. “I see a few gray hairs and white hairs [in the audience] and hair that used to be gray,” he joked, eliciting a roar of laughter from the crowd.

“Success to me is being happy in your job, competent and creative in your job,” he continued. “I was fortunate enough to have a staff I worked with and reported to that gave me the confidence to do some of the innovative things we did.” He also credited his wife of 59 years and three adult children who accompanied him to celebrate his induction on his octogenarian birthday.

In his remarks, James L. Hersma quoted Foster G. McGaw (Bellwether Class of 2010) when he said he merely wanted to leave more than he took once his career concluded. Hersma, who served as the first president of Novation and worked at a number of other companies, including MedAssets and McGaw’s American Hospital Supply Corp., urged supply chain executive to follow McGaw’s advice. “We need to leave more than we take,” he said.

Thomas W. Hughes specifically thanked a host of executives, some of whom were in the room, and several corporations for helping him accomplish what he did as a hospital supply chain director in Boston and for helping him build his prominent consulting business from scratch. And then just when it looked like he would exit healthcare about eight years ago, Hughes was recruited to work with Strategic Marketplace Initiative where he continues today. “I didn’t make it here by myself,” he said, sharing credit with those “who made me look good,” he added. He concluded by saying he couldn’t have worked in this business without his wife Joey, “who is the CIO, COO, CFO and sometimes CEO” of the family.

Carl L. Manley was one of those who recruited Hughes to lead SMI, the organization he helped to forge to develop supply chain programs to improve efficiency. Manley told the audience that he subscribed to an “old-time philosophy” from the beginning. “When I started in healthcare you couldn’t kill anybody or lie, cheat or steal…unless you were a big company,” he quipped. With the Network of Networks and its offspring SMI Manley saw both as an “opportunity to give something back to the industry,” he noted.

“None of us get ahead without a team,” Raymond J. Seigfried said, continuing the ribbon of respect woven throughout the evening. After thanking a number of colleagues, Seigfried said he considers his induction of reflection of “what is yet to be done and not for what I’ve done.”

Seigfried offered an explanation of his personal and professional mission to bring clinical, financial and operational efficiency, transparency and ethics in supply chain and healthcare, a philosophy of “shared value” that sprung out of work by Dean S. Ammer (Bellwether Class of 2008).

“Clinicians must see us as partners and not obstacles in healthcare reform,” Seigfried said. “We will have to make changes or be changed by others.”

Robert A. Simpson reflected on his varied career, from provider to government agency to group purchasing to supplier to association leadership to clinical charity activities, pointing out key individuals along the way who supported him, including his wife of 44 years Linda who continuously bolstered his confidence as he weathered occupational and physical challenges. “Anything I wanted to do she said I could do it,” Simpson said. “I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Simpson characterized healthcare supply chain management as more than the sum of its parts.

“This is a relationship business,” Simpson said. “I have more friends in this room than others in other industries. We all help each other. When we learn something we share it. And we’re not finished yet. The work is just beginning.”

Looking to 2013

Bellwether League Inc.’s 5th Annual Honoree Induction Dinner event also marked the retirement of two Founding Board members, and the return of another Founding Board member in a different role.

Secretary John B. Gaida, senior vice president of supply chain management, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX, and Richard A. Perrin, president and CEO, AdvanTech Inc., Annapolis, MD, finished their founding terms after more than five years of dedicated service.

Founding Treasurer Patrick E. Carroll Jr., president, Patrick E. Carroll & Associates, rejoined the Board, succeeding Gaida as Secretary.

Bellwether Classes

Bellwether League Inc.’s Board of Directors selects deceased, 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.

To date, Bellwether League Inc., has identified and honored 53 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services.

About Bellwether League Inc.

Launched in late July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Inc., is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation that 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 six Founding and Platinum Sponsors – Hospira, Kimberly-Clark Health Care, McKesson, MedAssets, Owens & Minor and Premier Purchasing Partners – and a host of additional sponsors.

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

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