Bellwether League, Inc.6 Future Famers saluted by Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership for inaugural class

SCHAUMBURG, IL (February 27, 2015) – Bellwether League Inc., the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership, recognized six professionals for their contributions to supply chain operational excellence so early in their respective careers.

Joining the inaugural Future Famers Class of 2015 are six individuals who have made great strides in the healthcare supply chain during the first decade of their employment:

 “We developed the Future Famers recognition program so that those professionals new to a career in healthcare supply chain could be highlighted for innovations they are implementing as well as those achieving success with large scale, complex projects within their organizations,” said Mary Starr, Bellwether League Inc. Treasurer and Marketing Committee Chair. “We believe that this recognition will not only inspire other young professionals in the field, but also provide a way to communicate new processes being used in provider organizations.”

Bellwether League Inc. announced the new “Future Famers” recognition program at its 7th Annual Bellwether Induction Dinner event last October.

“Through their achievements, these six professionals have shown great potential for their future careers in supply chain,” said John Gaida, Chairman, Bellwether League Inc. Board of Directors.

“The Future Famers recognition award is Bellwether League’s way of acknowledging individuals early in their career who have made significant strides to improve their organizations, themselves or even their profession,” Gaida continued. “Our job at BLI is to shine a light on supply chain achievement – the Bellwether who has done so much over his or her career to advance the profession, and now the Future Famer who has huge potential to someday become a Bellwether. We on the Board of BLI feel this complementary recognition fits nicely with our mission. We are proud of this new Future Famers Class of 2015 and encourage many more applicants to come forward in the years ahead.” 

Future Famers Class of 2015

At Ochsner for four years, William Barrette played a key leadership role in several strategic supply chain initiatives, including a physician-led value program that has realized more than $13 million in savings since its inception in 2012, an initiative that will change how orthopedic joint replacement surgery is performed and the launch of a radiopharmaceutical production and distribution facility. Barrette worked with physicians and led the formation of the Ochsner Center for Molecular Imaging LLC last July to meet patient demand for positron emission tomography (PET), cardiac PET and other diagnostic imaging isotopes in Ochsner’s market area that stretches from southern Louisiana through southern Mississippi and southern Alabama on the Gulf Coast. The initiative is expected to reduce Ochsner’s drug expense by $500,000 per year and to generate more than $2.5 million in revenue annually.

During his five years at Loma Linda, Justin Freed spearheaded an initiative to standardize orthopedic vendors for hips and knees and replace orthopedic sales representatives in the operating room with surgical technologists trained in-house to support physicians during surgical procedures. Through Lean principles, Loma Linda was able to save more than $1 million with a 60 percent-62 percent reduction in hips and knees and a return on investment for instruments in only a few months. The initiative generated an additional benefit, too. The hospital was able to make cost-saving changes to the design and construction of a new sterile processing department to accommodate the new procedures.

At Mercy Health’s St. Rita’s Jason Hays implemented a project that coordinated nursing, information technology and a vendor’s efforts to use IT to document and link supply consumption to the electronic medical record. The project involved point-of-use supply technology in the OR that integrated information directly into the OR record, regardless of a patient’s language. In fact, Hays used his technical skills to initiate programming changes for the new process that converted initial nursing resistance because of perceived workflow issues into overwhelming support once the benefits were realized. Those benefits included reduced OR record documentation time by seven minutes per case, reduced OR supply costs by nearly 12 percent and reduced nursing trips away from patients by 89 percent.

During his two years at Texas Health Resources, Nathaniel Mickish made it his mission to improve the practices and professional lives of the physicians who worked there in a physician office service that was struggling. Within 13 weeks, Mickish converted all 250 physician offices to a common distributor and installed a new computer system for them geared specifically to the non-acute market. He also recruited and trained a team of dedicated staff members to oversee and support the system. Through these efforts, Texas Health Resources has generated more than $2 million in savings and more than $1 million in revenue. Mickish’s team now offers this specialty program to other types of healthcare services in the surrounding area.

Three years into his strategic sourcing leadership role in Chicago, Eric Tritch has challenged healthcare suppliers to continuously improve service to his organization in a new way. Tritch’s strategic sourcing team manages their suppliers with an internally developed “Scorecard Business Review” process recognized by several organizations as a best practice to drive improvements in quality, cost, delivery, technology and service. The review process encompasses clinical, non-clinical and pharmacy products with customer expectations of zero defects and 100 percent fill rates as well as expectations of shared cost savings ideas between customer and vendor. Their goal was to track factors impacting the supply chain department’s ability to provide high-quality customer service in an effort to contribute to the delivery of high-quality patient care.

After one year on the job, Donna VanVlerah already has made waves on Parkview’s top and bottom lines. She and her team revamped its orthopedic contracting strategy to the tune of reaping more than $6.25 million in savings over a three-year period. They optimized their patient chargeable program to capture $11.4 million in charges, orchestrated the receipt of more than $1.5 million from a variety of contractual rebates, conducted a Six Sigma Black Belt project to re-engineer the courier and transportation system, eliminating more than 207 hours of service and a three-year contract savings exceeding $860,000 and converted more than 900 line items that eliminated $408,000 in wasteful spending. Parkview’s new automated purchase order program transmits more than 40 percent of all orders electronically. Further, “total expense per adjusted discharge” has remained flat for the last five years even as orthopedic supply expense per adjusted discharge dropped by six percent.

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 – Halyard Health, 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 Bellwether Class honoree candidates or Future Famer candidates, visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at


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

Patrick E. Carroll Jr.
Patrick E. Carroll & Associates

Mary A. Starr
Regional Vice President
University HealthSystem Consortium

Executive Director
Rick Dana Barlow
Wingfoot Media Inc.


James R. Francis
Chair, Supply Chain Management
Mayo Clinic

Jamie C. Kowalski
Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC

Michael Louviere
System Vice President, Supply Chain
Ochsner Health System

Vance B. Moore
Senior Vice President, Operations

Jean M. Sargent
Director, Advisory Solutions

John W. Strong
John Strong LLC

Mark A. Van Sumeren
Strategic Advisor, Medical Devices & Integrated Delivery Networks
Health Industry Advisor LLC


Jamie C. Kowalski
Rick Dana Barlow

Founding Sponsors:

Halyard Health
Med Assets
Owens & Minor
Premier Purchasing Partners

Platinum Sponsor


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.