Bellwether League, Inc.10 join hall of fame for healthcare supply chain leadership
New awards for “Future Famers” and top-tier supply chain operations also announced

SCHAUMBURG, IL (October 20, 2014) – Bellwether League Inc. inducted 10 industry executives to its hall of fame for healthcare supply chain leadership, this year inspiring more good-natured ribbing and bouts of laughter than traditional tears of appreciation.

Much of the levity could be attributed to the Bellwether Class of 2014 honorees recalling their intertwined business relationships over the years as customers, competitors and even corporate advisers.

Bellwether League Inc. inducted the newest class on Monday, October 6, during its 7th Annual Honoree Induction Dinner event at the Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel.

The group, representing hospitals, suppliers, group purchasing organizations, consulting firms and educational  and media organizations, are: Henry A. Berling, Robert P. “Bud” Bowen, Brent T. Johnson, Norman A. Krumrey, Keith Kuchta, Randall A. Lipps, Dale A. Montgomery, Richard A. Perrin, Joseph M. Pleasant and Earl G. Reubel.

While John B. Gaida, Board Chairman, Bellwether League Inc., stressed the deserving nature of the honorees being inducted and their contributions to the supply chain, he set the tone for the evening by introducing each honoree with some little-known “fun facts” about them. Those facts ranged from one being a “Judge Judy” fan to another who linked the strength of his long marriage to his extensive travel schedule to another who married his childhood sweetheart just as their parents did.

“It’s interesting how all of these people took different paths but they all arrived at the same place here with Bellwether League,” Gaida noted. He prefaced each honoree’s induction with a memorable quote befitting the personality of that honoree from a variety of public figures in leadership roles, including President Theodore Roosevelt, Gen. Colin Powell, Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi and former GE Chairman Jack Welch.

Recognizing performance

On accepting their induction each of the Bellwether Class of 2014 honorees expressed appreciation and humility for being recognized, thanking their colleagues, co-workers, peers, team members and family for their ongoing support through the roller coasters of their careers.

Henry A. Berling, who fashioned his reputation through distributors Stuart Medical and Owens & Minor, joked that he was one of the few guys left in the industry that started around the debut of Medicare and now ended up with Medicare. He acknowledged that “supply chain” didn’t exist as a healthcare industry term back in the early 1960s but was gratified to see its acceptance, development and growth over time. Berling indicated that engaging with a great team, conducting regular training efforts and enhancing processes with new technology are the necessary ingredients to be successful.

Robert P. “Bud” Bowen, best known for leading national group purchasing organization Amerinet Inc., reflected on how humbling it felt to be the recipient of a career recognition award by an organization he helped found seven years ago to recognize supply chain bellwethers.

Brent T. Johnson, who arrived in the healthcare industry nine years ago after three decades in supply chain outside of healthcare, graciously thanked those who gave him a crash course. “Nine years ago when I came into healthcare I knew supply chain but I didn’t know healthcare,” he said. “That’s where you guys all came in. You accepted me and even tolerated at little bit of my irreverence when I trash-talked healthcare, but I’m telling you I learned how to apply best practices in supply chain in healthcare from you.” Johnson called the healthcare supply chain a “noble industry” filled with great people with whom he’s honored to serve.

Norman A. Krumrey, who held leadership roles in hospital supply chain and GPO operations after a supply chain career outside of healthcare, expressed appreciation for all of those who were cooperative with him and answered his “unusual questions” when he entered the healthcare industry. He also thanked Bellwether League for remembering those who helped make the supply chain profession what it is today.

Keith Kuchta, the long-time Kimberly-Clark Health Care sales executive who emphasized the need for supply chain education to improve the buying and selling process, quipped that he actually wasn’t a supply chain executive after all, a comedic ruse that drew uproarious laughter by the audience. “I am a supplier trying to screw up your supply chain,” he continued to applause. Kuchta then told the crowd that his team – including his wife – deserved the recognition more than him because they included “tremendous talent” that supported him through nearly four decades of service, “passionate about the business and smarter than me.”

Randall A. Lipps, an industrial engineer from the airline industry, recalled how he met with a group of engineers from Stanford University around the dinner table to develop and launch a new healthcare venture that would blossom into Omnicell Inc. Meetings with Stanford Health’s supply chain team reinforced that he needed to learn a lot more about healthcare before proceeding to market and trying to change healthcare. “Too many people are standing outside of healthcare [trying to change it], and more people need to be standing inside of healthcare,” he said. “If we don’t get the costs down and make it simpler and faster, we’re going to leave out too many people who really need it.” Lipps then lauded his “purpose-driven team” at Omnicell for their efforts to improve healthcare.

Dale A. Montgomery, a veteran hospital supply chain executive who began his career as an orderly, emphasized the resilience and perseverance he needed to succeed in supply chain management, even in a 90-bed facility serving a town of 15,000 people. He credited his family’s support and that of his hospital colleagues “who believed in me and I in them,” all of whom he considered leaders who stood beside him along the way, made the supply chain work in their facility and made him successful. “I truly believe that no man is an island and if you’re going to be a champion and a winner you have to have a village behind you to make that happen,” he said.

Richard A. Perrin, who established his hospital supply chain leadership roots before specializing in supply chain information technology applications and supply chain data standards adoption and implementation, reflected on Bellwether League’s ongoing mission of recognizing “those moving the healthcare supply chain forward and to enhance the quality of patient care and financial management.” He further noted his “central focus has been to work with professionals and professional organizations to foster the development of knowledge, standards and best practices for the healthcare industry and the supply chain,” he said. “When you put all of these pieces together, data standards really link the providers to the suppliers to the manufacturers, and enable the whole system to work.” Perrin, who also helped found Bellwether League, noted how the hall of fame at core connects all of the parts of the supply chain together.

Joseph M. Pleasant told the audience that his background in industrial engineering and information systems at Premier Inc. helped him work with supply chain in establishing the need for data standards, something that he’s “been passionate about for the last 15 years.” Pleasant emphasized further that “I’m very much of the belief that in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare we have to have standards that allow us to have transparency across the supply chain.” While the industry has made some progress he added that more progress needs to be made.   

Representing the late Earl G. Reubel, who set an example in supplier diversity through his Kerma Medical distribution company, son Joseph Reubel acknowledged the “knowledge, skills and tenacity” of those in the audience – including his father and his father’s nine Bellwether classmates – that have helped shape the healthcare supply chain over the years. “If we could take all of these minds in this room, we should be able to develop solutions for cost savings to improve healthcare,” he said. “[Supply chain] is a brand that should be more widely promoted than it is today.” Daughter Andrea Reubel-Walker called their father a “huge inspiration,” recounting how he taught them to grow and mature into adulthood and become successful businesspersons. “Without the teachings of my father, although cut too short and too soon, I would not be here today with my family to receive this award in our dad’s name and honor,” she said. “I know that if he were here to accept this award he would be extremely humbled and pleased to know that his efforts throughout his lifetime had an impact on others.”

New honor programs debuting in 2015

Bellwether League Inc. also announced two new honor programs it will debut in 2015. Treasurer and Marketing Committee Chair Mary Starr revealed the first as a recognition program for those supply chain professionals who are making a difference during the early part of their healthcare industry careers, called “Future Famers.” Nominations will be accepted through the end of October.

Gaida revealed the second as a recognition program for supply chain operations in hospitals and other healthcare organizations, called the “Dean S. Ammer Award for Supply Chain Excellence,” named after the first honoree to be inducted. The Ammer award is designed to recognize and rate current operational performance within the healthcare supply chain continuum as it develops. Nominations will be accepted for evaluation and grading starting in January 2015.

About Bellwether League Inc.

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 by advancing the profession through work experience and performance and active participation in professional organizations and their communities.

To date, Bellwether League Inc., has identified and honored 72 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services.

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 five Founding and Platinum Sponsors – Kimberly-Clark Health Care, McKesson, MedAssets, Owens & Minor and Premier Purchasing Partners – and a host of additional sponsors, highlighted on Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site.

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 atwww.bellwetherleague.org.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS
OFFICERS

Chairman
John B. Gaida
Senior Vice President
Supply Chain Management
Texas Health Resources

Secretary
Patrick E. Carroll Jr.
President
Patrick E. Carroll & Associates

Treasurer
Mary A. Starr
Assistant Vice President, AdvantageTrust
HealthTrust Purchasing Group

Executive Director
Rick Dana Barlow
President
Wingfoot Media Inc.


MEMBERS

James R. Francis
Chair, Supply Chain Management
Mayo Clinic

Jamie C. Kowalski
CEO
Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC

Michael Louviere
System Vice President, Supply Chain
Ochsner Health System

Vance B. Moore
Senior Vice President, Operations
Mercy

Jean M. Sargent
Director, Advisory Solutions
MedAssets

John W. Strong
Principal
John Strong LLC

Mark A. Van Sumeren
Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Owens & Minor Inc.


CO-FOUNDERS

Jamie C. Kowalski
Rick Dana Barlow


Founding Sponsors:

Kimberly-Clark Health Care
MedAssets
Owens & Minor
Premier Purchasing Partners

Platinum Sponsor:

McKesson


Bellwether League Inc. (BLI) is a non-stock, not-for-profit Illinois corporation, tax exempt under IRS Code Section 501(c)(6). BLI donations and sponsorships are not deductible as a charitable contribution for income tax purposes, but may be deductible as a business expense.