Launched in July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Inc. identifies and honors men and women who have demonstrated significant leadership in, influence on and contributions to the healthcare supply chain. Honorees inducted into Bellwether League’s Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership hail from provider organizations, product manufacturers and distributors, group purchasing organizations, consulting firms, educational institutions and media outlets.
In 2015, Bellwether League launched a second recognition program to honor professionals for their contributions to supply chain operational excellence during the first decade of their careers, called “Future Famers.”
In 2016, Bellwether League launched a third recognition program to honor and recognize the supply chain operations of healthcare provider organizations, ranging from individual hospitals to larger integrated delivery networks. The “Dean S. Ammer Award for Supply Chain Excellence” is named for the first inductee into Bellwether League’s Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership in 2008.
In 2020, Bellwether League transformed the Ammer Award to recognize individuals. The “Dean S. Ammer Award for Healthcare Supply Chain Performance Excellence” now recognizes and honors executives and professionals in the middle of their careers. This recognition award serves as the bridge between the Future Famers at or near the beginning of their careers and the Bellwethers who are honored for their entire career span.
Supply chain management professionals are integral to the successful delivery of high-quality healthcare services and optimal patient care. They achieve this by supplying all of the necessary products and services for doctors and nurses to provide care for patients as well as successfully managing professional relationships with clinicians and suppliers. The supply chain impact on a healthcare organization’s financial performance can be significant, consuming up to 50 percent of a facility’s budget, next to labor. Hence, supply chain professionals, who touch every aspect of healthcare operations, continually must balance clinical, financial and operational needs.
“Supply chain professionals can be proud of their role and contribution to the healthcare industry,” said Jamie C. Kowalski, Co-founder and Founding Chairman (2007-2013), Bellwether League Inc. “What they do every day enables and supports the care provided, while it helps maintain the providers’ positive bottom line. Through supply chain performance optimization and innovations, care can be provided at the required level, while operating expenses are reduced and hopefully, minimized. Every dollar saved through the supply chain goes right to the bottom line and the bank account. This provides the operating cash that supports expansion of services and future innovations in care and/or accommodates and helps fund care for those who need it. Not bad for a profession that typically is under the radar.”
Kowalski is a former hospital supply chain manager who became a prominent industry consultant with more than 30 years of experience.
The dictionary defines a bellwether as “a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry, and that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.” Bellwether League Inc. strives to locate and profile those leaders who help make healthcare delivery possible.
“Supply chain professionals represent a critical back-office function that has front line, top line and bottom line implications for the healthcare facility, the clinician and the patient,” said Rick Dana Barlow, Co-founder and Executive Director, Bellwether League Inc. “Supply chain professionals work in a complex environment, serving multiple customers – the hospital and clinician directly, the patient and payer indirectly. They supply the tools necessary for clinicians to provide care for patients and in a cost-effective way that keeps the facility offering the care in continual operation.
“Without their clinical, fiscal and technological knowledge and skills, hospitals and clinicians alike would find it that much more challenging to provide quality healthcare to an increasingly demanding patient population,” Barlow continued. “For that reason alone, supply chain management professionals deserve to be recognized and honored. That’s why we created Bellwether League.”
Barlow is the president of Wingfoot Media Inc., an editorial consulting and content management firm. Barlow has more than 25 years of experience reporting on and writing about the healthcare supply chain industry for a variety of prominent industry media outlets and professional organizations.
“Individuals who have spent much, if not all, of their careers working hard to improve the profession while at the same time they light the way for others defines this group,” said John B. Gaida, Bellwether League Inc. Founding Board Member, Secretary (2010-2012) and Chairman (2013-2016). “Their dedication every day, month, and year to advancing supply chain technologies, reducing costs, and generally taking risks makes them a special breed in this multifaceted profession. Those who have led the way for others should be acknowledged and celebrated. Bellwether League is one way for all of us to recognize those individuals and their many accomplishments. We take pride in not only what we accomplish, but in who we have touched along the way.” Gaida is a veteran hospital and health system supply chain executive who retired at the end of 2016.
Bellwether League Inc. strives to shine a light on the efforts of influencers, innovators, pioneers and risk takers that helped mold and shape the healthcare supply chain profession. Their successes and failures not only promote their leadership qualities but also serve as education, inspiration and motivation for future generations.
“Because of the relative youth of the healthcare supply chain profession, the legacy of the early leaders, both in advocacy and performance, needs to be recognized,” said Patrick E. Carroll Jr., Founding Board Member, Treasurer (2007-2011) and Secretary (2013-2018). “This is not only for the recognition these leaders so richly deserve, but also for the inspiration they have provided, are providing, and will continue provide to the future leaders of the supply chain. Bellwether League will recognize these leaders of the healthcare supply chain for their accomplishments and provide guidance, inspiration and support for tomorrow’s healthcare supply chain leaders to confront the enormous challenges they face.”
Carroll is a former hospital supply chain manager-turned-healthcare industry consultant with more than three decades of experience.
“I am honored to be a part of this organization and hope that it will encourage future generations of supply chain leaders to produce even greater achievements in improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery,” said Robert P. “Bud” Bowen, Founding Board Member and Secretary (2007-2010). Bowen spent the bulk of his career in the group purchasing industry, leading and retiring from one of the largest GPOs.
Board members represent active and retired executives and professionals from all facets of the healthcare supply chain management industry. They can serve for up to two consecutive three- year terms.
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Bellwether Class of 2013
Nick Gaich and Associates
Senior Advisor, Venture-Med Angel Investment Group
Morgan Hill, CA
Future Famer Class of 2015
Vice President, Sourcing, Supply Chain Management
Texas Health Resources
Deborah Templeton, R.Ph.
Chief, System Support Services
Geisinger Health System
Rick Dana Barlow
(Co-Founder and Executive Director)
Wingfoot Media Inc.
Vice President, Healthcare Value
Colorado Springs, CO
Bellwether Class of 2015
Vice President, Professional Services
Edward J. Hisscock
Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management
Jamie C. Kowalski
(Co-Founder & Founding Chair 2007-13)
Bellwether Class of 2017
Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC
Nicholas C. Toscano
Bellwether Class of 2018
Founder and CEO
Julicon Advisors LLC
St. Simon's Island, GA