Previous Press Releases

Bellwether League, Inc.6 marked by Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership as Future Famers

SCHAUMBURG, IL (April 29, 2016) – Bellwether League Inc., the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership, recognized six professionals for their stellar contributions to supply chain operations during the first decade of their respective careers.

The Future Famers Class of 2016 includes the following individuals who have made significant strides in the healthcare supply chain industry so early in their employment:

  • Jimmy Henderson, Materials Manager, Outpatient Surgery Center of Jonesboro (AR)
  • Nisha Lulla, Associate Vice President, Operations, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
  • Catherine “Kate” Polczynski, Director, Procurement, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA
  • Rob Proctor, Regional Vice President, Owens & Minor Inc., Nashville
  • Baljeet Sangha, Associate Administrator, Supply Chain, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and Associate Administrator, Business Operations, San Francisco Health Network
  • Erik Walerius, Chief Supply Chain Officer, University of Washington Medicine, Seattle

“As the Chairman of the Nominating Committee, I believe I can speak for our team when I say; we have a very strong group of Future Famers for 2016,” said Jamie Kowalski, Bellwether League Inc. Co-Founder and Board Member. “These supply chain professionals come from a variety of roles and organizations, and have made their contributions to healthcare supply chain management in many different ways. Our profession should keep watch on these leaders as they progress through their careers.”

John Gaida, Chairman, Bellwether League Inc. Board of Directors, welcomed the newest Future Famer class. “While we have spent the last almost nine years selecting and honoring Bellwethers who are at or near the sunset of their successful careers, we take great pride in recognizing these individuals at the early stages of their pursuit of healthcare supply chain excellence,” he said.

“Their accomplishments are varied, but they represent what is best to come of our future,” Gaida continued. “Just like Bellwethers, each brings a different set of accomplishments for not only themselves, but their employers and our organization as well. We are proud to honor them and wish them all the best as they strive to build upon these accomplishments and achieve others.”

The newest Future Famers will be recognized during the 9th Annual Bellwether Induction Dinner, Monday, October 3, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago.

Future Famers Class of 2016

Jimmy Henderson joined Outpatient Surgery Center of Jonesboro during a challenging time that involved a clinical manager change and an operating room expansion within a relatively tight time frame. Henderson had to start from scratch and fill two empty surgical suites with products and technology under budget so that these two rooms were fully operational within four months. Meeting intense deadlines for this project was tough, but Henderson successfully negotiated pricing, freight and delivery terms that netted thousands of dollars in savings and continually generates savings for the expanded facility.

Nisha Lulla leads clinical resource management initiatives that hinge on supply cost reduction strategies and process improvement efforts across multiple service lines at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center. She recruited a team of multi-functional departmental leaders within the hospital to participate in ongoing initiatives, generating more than $3 million in annual savings for the last three years. Her polished and professional approach to complex projects and cross-functional leaders internally and with external partners continues to generate success for her organization.

Amid a backdrop of continually declining reimbursements, Catherine “Kate” Polczynski embraced and enforced a new methodology at Geisinger Health System that involves an evidence-based value analysis approach to supply selection, standardization and utilization management. She worked with senior leaders and external consultants, data analysts and suppliers to implement a series of initiatives with key measures and timelines that tackled physician preference items in a balanced and dignified manner that solidified clinical, financial and operational participation.

Through the efforts of Rob Proctor, Owens & Minor Inc. infuses its field sales organization with new talent each year, tapping into the collegiate ranks to promote the healthcare industry. Proctor developed a junior sales associate program that targets college interns and new college graduates, recruiting them for customer-facing roles that support existing field teammates. Over time these junior associates will be trained to fill open field positions, reducing the typical learning curve and speed-to-value by up to a year when compared to the process for sales professional candidates hired from outside the company.

To unify the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s historically decentralized purchasing structure, Baljeet Sangha founded the DPH Supply Chain Council to establish some control over a city department with more than a $2-billion operating budget. Through value analysis and standardization, Sangha brought clinician leaders – both physician and nursing – into the process of integrating supply chain operations among the flagship hospital and other facilities that are part of the IDN, and overturning practices that had been in place for decades, and generating at least $2 million in savings during the last two years alone.

On the job for a year, Erik Walerius faced a seemingly daunting task: Re-organize, manage and eventually consolidate supply chain operations for four medical centers within the University of Washington Medicine. While all four facilities are different legal entities and compete against one another, that didn’t faze Walerius. Instead, he launched a value analysis initiative with the goal of centralizing contracting and purchasing activities, merging the contracting and purchasing staff of the two largest facilities into one office. So far, Walerius’ early value analysis efforts to navigate around a large integrated delivery network have generated at least $10 million in savings.

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

To date, Bellwether League Inc., has honored 80 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 12 Future Famers to date.

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. currently is funded by three Founding and Platinum Sponsors – Halyard Health, 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:

  • John B. Gaida (Chairman), Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX
  • Patrick E. Carroll Jr. (Secretary), President, Patrick E. Carroll & Associates, Cypress, CA
  • Mary A. Starr, (Treasurer), Vice President, Member Services, Greenhealth Exchange, Reston, VA
  • Rick Dana Barlow (Co-founder, Executive Director), President, Wingfoot Media Inc., Schaumburg, IL
  • Todd Ebert, R.Ph., President and CEO, Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA), Washington
  • Nick Gaich, (Bellwether Class of 2013), CEO, Nick Gaich and Associates, Morgan Hill, CA
  • Jamie C. Kowalski (Co-founder, Founding Chairman 2007-2013), CEO, Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC, Milwaukee, WI
  • Michael Louviere, (Bellwether Class of 2010), System Vice President, Supply Chain, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA
  • John W. Strong, (Bellwether Class of 2011), Principal, John Strong LLC, Fontana, WI
  • Deborah A. Petretich Templeton, R.Ph., Chief, Care Support Services, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA
  • Mark A. Van Sumeren, Strategic Adviser, Medical Devices and Integrated Delivery Networks , Health Industry Advisor LLC, Richmond, VA


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

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

Mary A. Starr
John Strong LLC

Executive Director
Rick Dana Barlow
Wingfoot Media Inc.


Todd Ebert, R.Ph.
President & CEO
Healthcare Supply Chain Association

Nick Gaich
Nick Gaich and Associates

Jamie C. Kowalski
Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC

Michael Louviere
System Vice President, Supply Chain
Ochsner Health System

John W. Strong
John Strong LLC

Deborah Templeton, R.Ph.
Chief, Care Support Services
Geisinger Health System

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
Owens & Minor

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.