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Bellwether League, Inc.9 innovators, leaders, visionaries to be inducted this fall in the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership

SCHAUMBURG, IL (August 12, 2021) – Bellwether League Foundation’s Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership elected 9 professionals, hailed as innovators, leaders, trailblazers and visionaries for their industry contributions and performance, as honorees of the Bellwether Class of 2021. They join 120 earlier honorees inducted since inception.

Bellwether League Foundation’s Board of Directors selected the following professionals for the 14th Bellwether Class: John M. Burks, Jacob J. Groenewold, Thomas P. Harvieux, Michael C. Kaufmann, Ben W. Latimer, Gary H. Rakes, Barbara Strain, F. DeWight Titus III and Mark A. Van Sumeren.

Bellwether Class of 2021 honorees will be inducted at the 14th Annual Bellwether League Foundation Induction & Recognition Event (BLFIRE14), scheduled for Monday, October 4.

Bellwether League Foundation’s Board and Advisory Council selected these professionals for their achievements and contributions in the delivery of quality care through efficient and innovative supply chain operations. 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 profession of supply chain management among hospitals, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), manufacturers and distributors, consulting firms, educational institutions and media properties.

Deborah Templeton, R.Ph., Chairman, Bellwether League Foundation, saluted all nine Bellwether honorees as contributors and participants in a much greater and larger cause.

“Bringing the stories of these honorees for all to hear is one of the great honors of Bellwether League Foundation,” Templeton said. “Some known leaders and some potentially forgotten shine together as we recognize their contributions to the healthcare supply chain field. Their dedication and leadership have paved the way for the next generation of supply chain performance. We are grateful for the ability to elevate the accomplishments, passion and legacy of the class of 2021 Bellwethers and peers that have come before them.”

Bellwether Class of 2021

John M. Burks (1954-2017) may have been known as a conceptualizing marketer, specializing in developing complex selling messages and building name brand recognition for healthcare organizations, but he also served as an instrumental evangelist for electronic commerce adoption and implementation, extolling its inherent value. Further, Burks advocated for the creation and use of e-commerce standards as a founding board member of the Coalition for Healthcare eStandards (CHeS). He played leading roles in launching the successful e-commerce program of one of the nation’s largest group purchasing organizations as well as that GPO’s private-label purchasing program.

Jacob J. Groenewold was integral in expanding traditional healthcare materials management operations to such non-traditional areas as capital equipment and laboratory as far back as the 1980s. He co-developed one of the first hospital-based supply chain consulting and outsourcing services in the nation as well as one of the earliest hospital-based consolidated service centers that later was acquired by a leading distributor. Groenewold has hired, developed, trained, mentored and supervised hundreds of healthcare supply chain consultants, professionals and leaders for several decades and created one of the first GPO supply chain benchmarking programs in the industry.

Thomas P. Harvieux epitomizes the progressive strategic and tactical supply chain leader who builds or reconstructs operations holistically from the ground up, something he has accomplished at a hospital within one award-winning health system and then at two prominent multistate integrated delivery networks (IDNs). At all three organizations, Harvieux initiated and led the centralization of supply chain services and effective linkages with clinical information systems. At BJC HealthCare, he established supply chain initiatives that led to more than $150 million in expense reduction spanning a two-year period. He also orchestrated a central distribution program managed by a third-party logistics company and an automated inventory program for clinicians.

Michael C. Kaufmann has served in a variety of leadership positions across operations, sales and finance, in both the pharmaceutical and medical/surgical product divisions, during his three-decade career-to-date at Cardinal Health, but he is most known for redirecting and reenergizing how the company handles product sourcing and distribution. Kaufmann embraces a “transformational” philosophy in that he anticipates signs of change, not only structuring new ways of doing business, but also having spearheaded numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives for more than a decade. He also helps guide those who may not be as comfortable with disruptive pivots, including divisional acquisitions and spinoffs. Historically, Kaufmann has been a staunch advocate for emergency preparedness and crisis response, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and promotes the value of supply chain performance excellence.

Ben W. Latimer represents one of the group purchasing pioneers reshaping GPO operations during the Silver and Modern Ages of healthcare supply chain history. An industrial engineer by pedigree and training, Latimer brought management engineering principles and techniques to supply chain processes and clinical practices for nursing. Latimer founded SunHealth as a management engineering consulting and outsourcing company in 1969 that blossomed into one of the leading regional shared services organizations. Due in part to that success, the shared services organization became one of the heritage GPOs to form the Premier Inc. by the close of the millennium. Latimer consistently emphasized the need for quality improvement and ethical business practices.

Gary H. Rakes, CFAAMA, CMRP, CSCS, spent the first two decades of his healthcare supply chain career leading operations at a variety of military healthcare facilities in the U.S. and Europe for the Navy and Army, including the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship. After retiring from active service as a Navy Medical Service Corps Officer, Rakes translated his broad and essential military logistics skills to a variety of private-sector hospitals and healthcare organizations during the next 20 years, improving operations, redesigning workflows and reducing supply expenses on enterprise levels for four distinct not-for-profit health systems and one investor-owned hospital chain region where he established one of the company’s regional consolidated distribution centers at the dawn of the growing trend.

Barbara Strain, CVAHP, has become synonymous with the concept of healthcare value analysis, but from the very beginning she has emphasized and orchestrated something much deeper and grander: Supply chain collaborating and communicating hand-in-hand with clinical operations to reinforce physician, surgeon, nursing and laboratory practices with financial and operational improvements. Her clinical, financial and operational focus and influence, by and large, makes her the grande dame of value management, a comprehensive business and clinical concept she created decades ago and whose principles and practices she applied to and honed at her own healthcare organization before sharing with other facilities as a seasoned consultant.

F. DeWight Titus III grew and transformed his grandfather’s and father’s community retail pharmacy into multiple locations that eventually expanded into a national and then multinational distribution company, specializing in serving nonacute healthcare organizations. Titus’ business acumen, customer service dedication, philanthropic generosity and technology implementation not only fortified a growing and valuable segment within healthcare distribution but also molded, shaped and trained current and future generations of pharmacists and pharmacy leaders. Early on, Titus recognized the value of what his family’s business offered the community, starting as a teenaged clerk where he enjoyed interacting with patients, a philosophy he instilled within those supporting the pharmaceutical and medical/surgical product distribution company that bore his name until its acquisition by McKesson in the late 1990s.

Mark A. Van Sumeren may be most renowned during the last two years for his data-rich, innovative and inventive “COVID-19 Report.” That daily newsletter reaches a host of influential healthcare clinical, financial and operational leaders who rely on its accuracy and integrity to foster essential business decision-making. But his illustrious and long-standing career in healthcare distribution consulting and strategic planning propels Van Sumeren to the top of the list of most-sought-after strategic minds. To date he has helped guide a variety of award-winning provider and supplier organizations, both large and small, to make prudent and ultimately successful moves that benefit patient care as well as their businesses.


About Bellwether League Foundation

Bellwether League Foundation comprises two operating divisions that educate, endow and evaluate professionals in healthcare supply chain performance excellence: The Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership and Bellwether Philanthropy.

The Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership evaluates and validates professionals submitted for consideration in its three award programs: Bellwether Honorees, Future Famers and Ammer Honorees. The Hall of Fame also offers educational content via the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Forum and its “Leaders & Luminaries” multimedia of live, online and printed content.

The Board 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 recognized publicly as Bellwether Class Honorees. Those honored demonstrate their qualifications by advancing the profession through work experience and performance and active participation in professional organizations and their communities. Honorees include professionals from hospitals and other healthcare providers, manufacturers and distributors of healthcare products and services, group purchasing organizations, consulting firms, educational institutions and media outlets.

Future Famers represent supply chain professionals early in their healthcare careers who do not yet qualify for Bellwether consideration but have contributed meaningfully to the healthcare supply chain profession.

Honorees who receive the “Dean S. Ammer Award for Healthcare Supply Chain Performance Excellence” represent noteworthy executives and professionals in the middle of their careers who, through their innovative leadership and influential project management experience, best exemplify the practice and spirit of healthcare supply chain performance excellence.

To date, The Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership has honored 129 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services. Bellwether League also has recognized 33 Future Famers, and two Ammer Honorees.

Bellwether Philanthropy offers grants, scholarships and capstone educational projects to college-bound high school students who plan to study supply chain curricula, current collegiate students who major in supply chain-related careers and professionals who pursue continuing education through associations and universities.

Launched in late July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Foundation began as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation that identifies and honors professionals who have demonstrated significant leadership in, influence on and contributions to the healthcare supply chain. It upgraded to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in January 2021.

Bellwether League Foundation currently is funded by six Founding and Platinum Sponsors – GHX, HealthTrust, Owens & Minor, Premier, Vizient and Wingfoot Media – and a host of additional sponsors.

For more information on how to become a sustaining or corporate sponsor or to nominate Bellwether Honoree, Ammer Honoree and Future Famer candidates visit BellwetherLeague.org.