Previous Press Releases

Bellwether League, Inc. Bellwether League Foundation launches new initiatives in 2024

SCHAUMBURG, IL (January 11, 2024) — Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) rings in the New Year with a flurry of announcements and initiatives designed to extend its ongoing mission to promote supply chain performance excellence and shine a light on bellwether leadership.

Among the key developments:

  • BLF announces its elected Board of Directors (BOD) and Board-appointed Advisory Council (AC) members for 2024. The BOD includes Barbara Strain, Bellwether Class of 2021, principal, Barbara Strain Consulting, Charlottesville, VA, as chairman; Rick Dana Barlow, president, Wingfoot Media Inc., Schaumburg, IL, as secretary; and Michael T. Langlois, Healthcare Supply Chain Resource, Langlois & Associates LLC, Detroit, MI, as treasurer. On the AC, Gary Rakes, Bellwether Class of 2021, retired system vice president and Chief Supply Chain Officer, Aspirus Inc., Wausau, WI, serves as chairman, and is joined by the following 13 executives:
    • Rachel K. Anderson, Future Famers Class of 2023, Corporate Director, Supply Chain, Baptist Health, Montgomery, AL
    • Ryan R. Burke, Future Famers Class of 2022, Vice President, Strategic Sourcing, Pandion Optimization Alliance, Fairport, NY
    • Fred Crans, Bellwether Class of 2020, Business Development Executive, St. Onge Co., Cleveland, OH
    • Teresa L. Dail, R.N., CMRP, Bellwether Class of 2022, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Mt. Juliet, TN, and President, Vanderbilt Supply Chain Solutions, Vanderbilt Health Purchasing Collaborative and Carefluent Connect
    • Jacob J. Groenewold, Bellwether Class of 2021, Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, Froedtert Health, Milwaukee, WI
    • Thomas P. Harvieux, Bellwether Class of 2021, Chief Supply Chain Officer, BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, MO
    • Thomas M. Lubotsky, Bellwether Class of 2022, Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN
    • Carl P. Meyer, Bellwether Class of 2019, Executive Vice President, The Wetrich Group, Southlake, TX
    • Jessica Rinderle, Future Famers Class of 2019, Senior Director, Spend Management, Vizient Inc., Irving, TX
    • John W. Strong, Bellwether Class of 2011, Co-Founder and Chief Consulting Officer, Access Strategy Partners Inc., Fontana, WI
    • Susan M. Tyk, Bellwether Class of 2022, Independent Supply Chain Coach, SMT Supply Chain Innovations, Grafton, WI
    • Mark A. Van Sumeren, Bellwether Class of 2021, Managing Advisor, Healthcare Industry Advisor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • The official deadline for submitting nominations for the Bellwether Class of 2024, Ammer Honorees of 2024 and the Future Famers Class of 2024, is Friday, February 2 — Groundhog Day! Download official nomination forms from the BLF website here — — where you also can watch a video about the process.
  • The 17th Bellwether League Foundation Induction & Recognition Event (BLFIRE17) is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 7, at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which features the 2024 collegiate capstone project recipient. For more information on attendance, registration and sponsorship, visit BLF's website. Access photos from prior events at our online Gallery here — — and videos here — .
  • BLF announces a new name for its Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Forum that takes place earlier in the afternoon as part of BLFIRE17: Bellwether Leadership Symposium.
  • The 2024 Bellwether Leadership Symposium (BLS) will feature this year's Collegiate Capstone Project Report by students at the Supply Chain Management Institute at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Lubar College of Business. BLS also will include a follow-up report of the 2023 Collegiate Capstone Project from the University of Arkansas and showcase its newest panel discussion, "Fresh Perspectives on Supply Chain Performance from a New Generation of Leaders," that features Future Famers exploring and assessing the industry and profession today and tomorrow.
  • BLF's "Leaders & Luminaries" online content brand that includes podcasts, webcasts and the Leaders & Luminaries e-magazine will feature additional collegiate capstone project reports throughout the year as well as interviews with Hall of Famers. The 7th edition of Leaders & Luminaries will explore healthcare's future from a different perspective. Be sure to access content from the first six editions of Leaders & Luminaries here — — as well as podcasts, monthly blogs and the bimonthly email newsletter "REMEMBER."
  • BLF officially announces the development of three scholarships. The Jamie C. Kowalski Scholarship recognizes critical thinking around leadership development and succession planning, the Robert A. Simpson Scholarship recognizes career and professional mentoring for supply chain advancement and the Lillian R. Matiska Scholarship recognizes entrepreneurial motivations and performance in healthcare operations.
    • The Kowalski Scholarship honors BLF's retired co-founder and founding chairman who remains a staunch advocate of leadership development and succession planning in supply chain and healthcare operations. Kowalski was inducted into the Bellwether Class of 2017.
    • The Simpson Scholarship honors a retired Bellwether who during his illustrious career actively mentored students, colleagues and fellow professionals on supply chain performance excellence. Simpson was inducted into the Bellwether Class of 2012.
    • The Matiska Scholarship honors a Bellwether who co-founded, launched and equipped a hospital in Pennsylvania and was instrumental in promoting supply chain education. Matiska was posthumously inducted into the Bellwether Class of 2009.
    • Additional information and official applications for scholarships will be available online at in spring 2024.
  • Follow BLF's LinkedIn page at for additional content, including the "Famer Flashbacks with Fred" column by Fred Crans, who offers unique commentary on and recollections of his healthcare experiences, and the "Vintage Voice" column from the pages of Leaders & Luminaries by Rick Dana Barlow, BLF co-founder and executive director, who provides thought-provoking observations and commentary about industry and professional actions, decisions and events.
  • BLF Chairman Barbara Strain credits the successes of 2023 to "leaders across the healthcare industry from our sustaining and event sponsors, and to those who participated on the Board, Advisory Council and various committees volunteering their time and expertise to help us all celebrate and appreciate the role Supply Chain plays in patient care. Please join us in 2024 as we build on existing and new programs that highlight where the healthcare supply chain has been while providing a platform for discussion for what's to come."

BLF salutes its six sustaining sponsors at the Founding/Platinum level — GHX, HealthTrust, Owens & Minor, Premier, Vizient and Wingfoot Media — and more than 18 additional sustaining sponsors at the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, a generous group that represents manufacturers, distributors, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), integrated delivery networks (IDNs), consulting firms and associations.

For more information on how to become a sustaining or event sponsor, donate or participate in the organization, or register for the 17th Annual Bellwether League Foundation Induction & Recognition Event on October 7, at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, contact Rick Dana Barlow, Co-Founder and Executive Director via email at

About Bellwether League Foundation

Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) offers programs that educate, endow and evaluate professionals in healthcare supply chain performance excellence via The Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership and its growing philanthropic efforts.

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 and professional development content via the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Forum and its "Leaders & Luminaries" multimedia of online and printed content.

BLF 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.

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 profession and industry.

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 143 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management (Provider), Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services. Bellwether League Foundation also has recognized 39 Future Famers and four Ammer Honorees.

BLF's philanthropy efforts support capstone educational and developmental 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 upgraded to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in January 2021.