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Bellwether League, Inc.Healthcare supply chain ‘hall of fame’ honors nine

SCHAUMBURG, IL (April 30, 2008) – Bellwether League Inc., the healthcare supply chain ‘hall of fame,’ recognized its first group of noteworthy honorees – nine individuals that impacted the industry through their actions and insights and pushed the profession forward in the process.

The organization’s 10-member Advisory Council chose the late Dean Ammer, Lee Boergadine, Gene Burton, Charles Housley, Thomas Kelly, William McFaul, Tom Pirelli, Donald Siegle and Alex Vallas for initial recognition. All nine were selected for their intellectual and operational contributions to healthcare through their experience in hospitals, group purchasing organizations, manufacturers and distributors, consulting firms, educational institutions and media outlets.

Dean Ammer, Ph.D.

Ammer, an acclaimed Northeastern University professor of industrial engineering and economics, was a prolific author and speaker, regarded by many as the father of healthcare materials management – even in contemporary circles. As far back as the early 1960s, he advocated the effectiveness of purchasing, predicted that materials management would be viewed as a corporate position and a profit center and promoted a supply chain function that integrated a variety of operational components to service customers throughout the hospital. Although Ammer died in late 1999, his publications and influence remain popular and are still quoted and sourced today.

Lee Boergadine

Boergadine was known for his accomplishments and leadership as a supply chain management director for not-for-profit and investor-owned hospitals almost as much as his popular continuing education and training seminars. Through those seminars, hosted by Health Service Corporation of America’s Academy for Professional Development, Boergadine helped train more than 600 materials management professionals in the areas of finance and supply chain operations.

“For too long professionals in the field of supply chain management have not only found themselves physically in the basement of their respective institutions but there in the thinking of healthcare executives as well,” Boergadine said. “The Bellwether League will provide a forum to recognize supply chain professionals who have demonstrated in tangible ways what it means to be an effective, caring provider of healthcare services. To be so honored, and to be in such company with the other honorees, is not only awesome but unbelievable.”

Gene Burton

After a decade in hospital purchasing, Burton launched a full-service shared services organization for not-for-profit hospitals in western Kentucky in 1968 before overseeing and expanding centralized corporate purchasing operations at two of the nation’s largest investor-owned hospital chains. He retired from the healthcare purchasing world to found a successful equipment planning and procurement consulting firm in the late 1980s that still operates today.

Charles Housley

Housley was one of the few hospital supply chain management directors to become president and CEO of a facility. He pioneered the concepts of just-in-time and stockless distribution in hospitals, product evaluation and standardization committees and emphasized the value of forecasting and product formularies back in the 1970s and 1980s. Most of his authoritative published works, and consulting and speaking engagements reflected his advocacy that materials managers should be elevated to executive level positions for the business side of hospital operations.

Thomas Kelly

Kelly spent a decade of his supply chain management career at one of the oldest and most venerable institutions in the nation – Massachusetts General Hospital – where he restructured the facility’s purchasing organization to be more responsive to the needs of hospital employees and vendors, as well as control costs through standardization, value analysis and workflow improvements. With his 35 years as an adjunct professor of management information systems/information technology at Northeastern University, Kelly established and maintained a micro distributed computerized system for finance, purchasing and materials flow for a large healthcare network in the Northeast.

William McFaul

Despite his early career in not-for-profit hospital purchasing and shared services operations, McFaul may be best known for launching a prominent consulting firm that helped hospitals control non-salary expenses and streamline operations. McFaul was an influential proponent of shared services ventures between related and unrelated healthcare facilities and was instrumental in the creation and development of one of the 10 largest group purchasing organizations in the industry. He pioneered the concept of contract management services for materials management, as well as developed concepts for data sharing, statistical analysis of product and service consumption and standardization, clinical value analysis and strategic resource management. Today he leads The Center for Modeling Optimal Outcomes, a firm he created to cultivate critical thinking, leadership, management and visionary process development and has earned patents on a number of learning and leadership training programs.

“To me, the most significant aspect of being nominated by the Bellwether League is the fact that my selection was made by some of the most qualified professionals who have ever worked in the industry,” McFaul said. “The mission of the Bellwether League offers supply chain professionals the ability to be honored for their contribution to the country at large. Little thought is given to the fact that, regardless of the title or specific duties, supply chain executives are making a major contribution to restrain excessive healthcare expenditures. The Bellwether League process will provide recognition for the profession as a whole and, hopefully, supply chain executives will gain even greater respect for their contributions to all of the U.S.; not merely to their employer.”

Tom Pirelli

Pirelli is best known for founding Enterprise Systems Inc., a healthcare software firm that was one of the first companies to offer personal computer-based business systems for use in hospitals. In fact, ESI was the first software company to install a local area network in a hospital and the first to integrate bar code scanners and touch screens for tracking hospital supplies. ESI’s supply chain application software was considered the industry standard during the 1980s and 1990s because it brought discipline and efficiency in a user-friendly package to the business of managing the supply chain. Through his Arial Foundation Pirelli is dedicated to working with children, handicapped individuals and poor families, helping to construct new homes and apply automation, robotics and voice-controlled technology to improve daily living and local economies.

Donald Siegle

Siegle parlayed his buying skills acquired in the steel industry in western Pennsylvania to help create and develop one of the five largest group purchasing organizations in the nation. As a passionate and vocal advocate of collaboration and cooperation between hospital buyers, a strategy that could help them collectively negotiate with the multi-million dollar companies supplying the healthcare industry, Siegle stressed procurement education as the seed of professional success and reduced healthcare costs.

Alex Vallas

Vallas, whose hospital materials management career spanned more than three decades, helped introduce the concept of value analysis into healthcare from industry and was one of the first to push for materials management certification. He strongly advocated that materials management play a major role in a hospital’s financial stability, urging the need to elevate the status of purchasing, materials or supply chain management to an executive level and arguing for a clear separation between providers and suppliers in favor of professional leadership development.

“It is commendable and, I believe, highly unusual to have a group with diverse connections join together to recognize individuals for their accomplishments, not for personal gain, but as a tribute to the profession of healthcare supply chain management for which they serve,” Vallas said. “There is no greater honor than being recognized by one’s peers, thus, I am extremely honored and pleased to be included in the inaugural inductee class of April 2008.”

Moving Forward

Supply chain management professionals are integral to the successful delivery of quality healthcare service and effective and efficient patient care. They achieve this by supplying all of the necessary devices and equipment for doctors and nurses to care for patients and generate top-line revenue for their facilities, as well as managing the bottom line through product evaluations and selections, contract negotiations and maximizing the efficiency of the processes that get products to the points of use. The supply chain impact on a hospital’s financial performance can be significant, consuming up to 45 percent of a hospital’s budget. So these professionals continually are challenged to balance clinical needs with holding the line on total delivered costs.

Bellwether League Inc. plans to recognize its second group of honorees in October 2008, and host a recognition dinner for the 2008 honorees in Chicago at the end of October. Next year, Bellwether League Inc. plans to recognize its third and fourth group of honorees in April and October 2009, honoring them at the recognition dinner in Chicago in October. Beginning in 2010, Bellwether League Inc. plans to recognize honorees annually.

Launched in late July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Inc. seeks to identify and honor individuals who have demonstrated significant leadership in and influence on and contributions to the healthcare supply chain, including professional from hospitals, non-acute healthcare providers, manufacturers and distributors of healthcare products, group purchasing organizations, consulting firms and educational institutions.

Bellwether League Inc. selects individuals that meet its criteria to be publicly recognized and recorded in print and online media for their contributions in advancing and improving all segments of the healthcare supply chain. The criteria include ethics, innovation, integrity, leadership, longevity, mentoring, reputation, speaking, teaching, writing and volunteering. Nominations for prospective candidates can be made via Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at

Bellwether League Inc.’s Advisory Council

The Advisory Council of Bellwether League Inc. comprises a veteran group of industry advocates who have volunteered their time and expertise to create and continually develop the organization and its ongoing educational activities. Council members, which function as the organization’s Board of Directors, include the following:

  • Jamie C. Kowalski (co-founder and president), vice president of business development, Owens & Minor Inc., Milwaukee, WI
  • Rick Dana Barlow (co-founder and executive director), president, Wingfoot Media Inc., Schaumburg, IL
  • Robert P. “Bud” Bowen (secretary), retired CEO, Amerinet Inc., St. Charles, MO
  • Patrick E. Carroll Jr. (treasurer), president, Patrick E. Carroll & Associates, Cypress, CA
  • James F. Dickow, director of supply chain management, facilities and operations consulting, Lerch Bates Inc., Mequon, WI
  • John B. Gaida, senior vice president of supply chain management, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX
  • Laurence A. Dickson, retired corporate director of materials management, Sisters of Providence Health System, Seattle, WA
  • Thomas W. Hughes, executive director, Strategic Marketplace Initiative, Scituate, MA
  • Richard A. Perrin, president and CEO, AdvanTech Inc., Annapolis, MD
  • Derwood B. Dunbar Jr., president and CEO, MAGNET Co-op, Mechanicsburg, PA
About Bellwether League Inc.

Bellwether League Inc. is a non-membership, non-stock, not-for-profit educational organization that identifies and honors individuals who have demonstrated significant leadership in and influence on the healthcare supply chain. Bellwether League Inc. selects individuals to be publicly recognized and recorded in print and online media for their contributions in improving all segments of the healthcare supply chain, anecdotally profiling the individuals, their achievements and accomplishments, innovations, philosophy and vision, to perpetuate excellence in the field. For more information, visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at