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Bellwether League, Inc.7 land in healthcare supply chain leaders hall of fame
Bellwether Class of 2011 balance service and talent with depth

SCHAUMBURG, IL (July 5, 2011) – Bellwether League Inc., the healthcare supply chain leaders hall of fame, elected seven innovators and industry pioneers to its 2011 Honoree Class.

Four are retired, two are semi-retired and one remains active with more than 50 years of continuous dedicated service.

Bellwether League Inc.’s 11-member Board of Directors selected the following professionals to join the Bellwether Class of 2011: Laurence A. Dickson, Dan Dryan, Derwood B. Dunbar Jr., Steven P. Gray, Betty Hanna, Larry Malcolmson and John W. Strong.

Bellwether League Inc.’s Board recognized and honored these bellwethers for their achievements and contributions in the delivery of quality care to the populations they serve through efficient and innovative supply chain operations. They represent creative thinkers who take the initiative, expand the boundaries of what’s possible, and perform in a way that improves and promotes the principles and profession of supply chain management among hospitals, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), manufacturers and distributors, consulting firms, educational institutions and media properties.

One is founding chairman of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA) and another is the executive director of the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).

Companies or individuals wishing to honor any or all of the Honorees can visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at to register to attend and/or sponsor the award dinner or post congratulatory messages in the collectible dinner program.

“One look at the list of cumulative contributions to the advancement of healthcare supply chain management made by the Bellwether Class of 2011 will show you their worthiness,” said Jamie C. Kowalski, Co-Founder and Board Chairman, Bellwether League Inc.

“Like their colleagues in all three earlier classes, they are a diverse group, having taken a variety of roles in supply chain management,” Kowalski continued. “The Board of Directors could not be prouder to induct each of them. These Honorees represent more of the very best, brightest, selfless, successful and indefatigable leaders in the healthcare supply chain that Bellwether League seeks to find and recognize. They individually and collectively add to the brightness of the light that Bellwethers are known to shine on our profession, as well as the healthcare providers that they have served, while attempting to reduce operating expenses and support the quality of care provided.”

Bellwether League Inc. will honor the Bellwether Class of 2011 at its Fourth Annual Honoree Induction Dinner Event, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel.

“This year’s class of Honorees is so deeply rooted in the foundational and fundamental elements of supply chain management,” noted Rick Dana Barlow, Bellwether League Inc. Co-Founder and Executive Director. “Each Honoree represents a solid example what it means to be a Bellwether in this critical cornerstone of the healthcare industry.”

Laurence A. Dickson

Larry Dickson knows a thing or two about buying and selling products in healthcare. After a decade of selling products for McGaw Laboratories in the 1970s to hospitals and other healthcare facilities and working with group purchasing organizations (GPOs) from the sales side, Dickson switched roles. He joined Providence Health System as their materials specialist where he remained for the rest of his career, retiring as corporate director of materials management. During his long career at Providence, Dickson worked to unify the procurement and logistics operations for 15 hospitals on the West Coast by establishing clinical resource groups that linked doctors and nurses with purchasing and distribution decision makers, establish internal regional warehousing and distribution capabilities as well as committed contracting and a forward-thinking recycling/waste program. Dickson also was instrumental in the founding of two large groups of Catholic-sponsored healthcare facilities, one of which became Consorta that now is part of HealthTrust Purchasing Group.

Dan Dryan

Dan Dryan never used retirement as an excuse not to contribute to and participate in supply chain operations development and progress. Dryan proved that by coming out of retirement twice to help healthcare organizations improve supply chain operations. During his 46-year career he developed shared-service warehousing and multi-hospital materials management information systems, set up supply chain operations for off-site nonacute care facilities; he was an early adopter of bar coding and hand-held devices and an early advocate of supply chain becoming involved in the construction process. Dryan also holds the notable claim of being the first hospital in the nation to implement completely the Friesen concepts for hospital management. Gordon A. Friesen was inducted into the Bellwether Class of 2009.

Derwood B. Dunbar Jr.

From grassroots training during his childhood working in his father’s pharmacy to his high school summers as a teenager in hospital purchasing to his leadership of one of the nation’s largest GPOs, Derwood Dunbar has radiated supply chain management throughout his professional life. Dunbar spent roughly the first half of his supply chain career in materials management for seven hospitals throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, nearly all of them in leadership positions. During the second half he built the shared services operations for a regional hospital group in Central Pennsylvania and went on to establish a group of GPOs, called Mid-Atlantic Group Network of Shared Services (MAGNET). During that time, Dunbar was instrumental in launching a professional association for GPOs and a successor organization to serve as the group purchasing industry’s voice in Washington, the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA), where he served as the first president.

Steven P. Gray

Steve Gray was one of the early advocates of elevating materials management in hospitals, specializing in applying business and clinical process redesign to improve quality, reduce costs and implement new technology. During the late 1960s, Gray applied industrial engineering methods to hospital-based material re-processing and movement processes for operational efficiency and facility planning. He developed the first engineered formulas for determining space and staffing requirements to replace experiential and “rules of thumb” decision-making. In short, Gray worked to promote the science and merge it with the art of supply chain management. As a senior leader of Chi Systems, Gray was a pioneering consultant with hundreds of hospitals and succeeded Dean Ammer, Ph.D., (Bellwether Class of 2008) in managing the industry publication Hospital Materials Management. Gray has been a prolific author of educational articles and textbooks, as well as a college lecturer on industrial engineering and supply chain topics.

Betty Hanna

Since 1958 Betty Hanna has been – and continues to be – the professional development engine behind “central services” widely known as the sterile processing and inventory management components of supply chain management. Her larger-than-life influence and stature as the longest-serving association-based executive director helped put CS/SPD on the map as an integral hospital department critical to clinical care and quality patient outcomes. Starting with two chapters – in New York and Chicago – with 64 total members, Hanna helped grow the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management to more than 16,000 professional members with chapters in 32 states. In fact, IAHCSMM’s role in sterile processing education and certification remains notable and noteworthy today. During the last five decades, IAHCSMM helped establish and implement professional guidelines, rules and standards where there were none – only after cementing the function as a profession and a valuable industry niche within healthcare. Under Hanna’s watch, IAHCSMM represents the sole professional voice of CS/SPD in healthcare.

Larry Malcolmson

Until Larry Malcolmson came along, capital equipment acquisition in healthcare organizations was unprofessionally organized and executed, grossly inefficient and altogether needlessly costly. Malcolmson recognized that healthcare professionals needed an objective third-party information source when making equipment and device purchases to counter the “buy-whatever-you-want” philosophy prevalent in healthcare prior to managed care-based reimbursement. He founded MD Buyline to provide healthcare organizations with pricing assessments and acquisition process consulting and services for clinicians and administrators alike. To this day, his company continues to be regarded as the “gold standard,” a must-have source for the industry for equipment selection and acquisition decision support.

John W. Strong

John Strong is a seasoned healthcare operations innovator and leader who has been actively and intimately involved in virtually every aspect of supply chain management as a hospital director, consultant, GPO executive, educator and supplier advocate. Through his diverse career Strong has helped raise the level and visibility of the supply chain as a C-Suite concern. As a role model and mentor to hundreds, Strong has worked with purchasing staffs, doctors, nurses and C-Suite administrators on improving supply chain performance strategically and tactically, while integrating budget demands to drive results. After more than a decade with three hospitals, the last of which was the venerable Lutheran General Hospital in northwest suburban Chicago where he fashioned a shared-services supply chain company for the growing organization and other facilities, Strong moved to GPO Premier as vice president of materials management, and culminating as COO of its Purchasing Partners unit. He then spent a year in supply chain consulting before serving for the next decade as founding president and CEO of Consorta, the leading Catholic-sponsored GPO at the time. From there he embarked on a new venture as president and CEO, Manhattan-based World Product Centre Marketing, a proposed 60-story building for healthcare training, testing, education and supplier showcasing. He recently retired as a senior executive from Greater New York Hospital Association, one of the WPCM’s founders.

Bellwether Classes

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 through advancing the profession, work experience, work performance and active participation in professional organizations.

Prior to the current class of 7, Bellwether League Inc., has identified and honored 36 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in five distinct categories. They are: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consulting Services.

The Education & Media category includes college/university professors and researchers, publishers, editors and writers. The Supply Chain Management category includes professionals working at hospitals and other non-acute care facilities, hospital systems and integrated delivery organizations. The Group Purchasing category includes professionals from among the national, regional, state, metropolitan and local group purchasing programs. The Supplier category includes professionals employed by manufacturers and distributors of products and services purchased by healthcare providers. The Consulting Services category includes those professionals advising, instructing and mentoring healthcare supply chain management professionals as the primary focus of their practice over the years.

The inaugural Bellwether Class of 2008 comprises Dean S. Ammer, Ph.D., Lee C. Boergadine, Gene D. Burton, Charles E. Housley, Thomas W. Kelly, William J. McFaul, Tom Pirelli, Donald J. Siegle and Alex J. Vallas.

The Bellwether Class of 2009 comprises George Ainsworth, Charles Auslander, Guy J. Clark, Gordon A. Friesen, Lillian R. Matiska, Brien Laing, William M. McKnight Jr., Sara I. Mobley, Paul B. Powell, Samuel G. Raudenbush, Warren D. Rhodes and James E. Stover.

The Bellwether Class of 2010 comprises Ted Almon, Carter F. Blake, Br. Ned Gerber, George R. Gossett, Frank D. Kilzer, Michael Louviere, Robert Bross Majors, Franklin J. Marshall, Daniel E. Mayworm, Foster G. McGaw, Mark McKenna, G. Gilmer Minor III, Curt M. Selquist, Donald G. Soth and Louis Vietti. Read everyone’s profiles on Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at

About Bellwether League Inc.

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 Sponsors – Hospira, Kimberly-Clark Health Care, MedAssets, Owens & Minor and Premier Purchasing Partners – and a host of additional sponsors.

The Bellwether Classes of 2008, 2009 and 2010, include 36 industry innovators, leaders and pioneers.

The Board of Directors of Bellwether League Inc. comprises a veteran group of industry advocates that includes:

  • Jamie C. Kowalski (co-founder, chairman), CEO, Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC, Milwaukee, WI
  • Rick Dana Barlow (co-founder, executive director), president, Wingfoot Media Inc., Schaumburg, IL
  • John B. Gaida, (secretary) senior vice president of supply chain management, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX
  • Patrick E. Carroll Jr. (treasurer), president, Patrick E. Carroll & Associates, Cypress, CA
  • James F. Dickow, president, Dickow Associates, Mequon, WI
  • James R. Francis, chair, supply chain management, and chief supply chain officer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Mark M. McKenna, retired president and CEO, Novation LLC, Dallas, TX
  • Vance B. Moore, president, Resource Optimization & Innovation, a division of the Sisters of Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, MO
  • Richard A. Perrin, president and CEO, AdvanTech Inc., Annapolis, MD
  • Jean M. Sargent, director, supply chain, USC Health Sciences, Los Angeles
  • Mary A. Starr, director, AdvantageTrust, HealthTrust Purchasing Group, Schaumburg, IL

For more information, to become a corporate or individual sponsor or to nominate honoree candidates visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site at

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.