Previous Press Releases

Bellwether League, Inc.7 inducted into healthcare supply chain hall of fame
Mentoring a common denominator among diverse Bellwether Class of 2011

SCHAUMBURG, IL (October 31, 2011) – Bellwether League Inc., the healthcare supply chain hall of fame, inducted seven influential professionals from providers, suppliers and service organizations, on Tuesday, October 4, at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel.

The emotionally and professionally inspiring ceremony occurred during National Healthcare Resource & Materials Management Week.

Comprising a group of past and present industry innovators, leaders and pioneers selected by Bellwether League Inc.’s Board of Directors, the Bellwether Class of 2011 includes Laurence A. Dickson, Daniel J. Dryan, Derwood B. Dunbar Jr., Steven P. Gray, Betty Hanna, Larry Malcolmson, and John W. Strong.

Bellwether League Inc.’s Board chose these individuals for their intellectual and operational contributions to healthcare. 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 helped launch a professional association for GPOs and served as the first president of the GPO trade association Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA), and another has served as the executive director of the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) for more than 50 years.

Visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web site ( for their profiles.

Bellwether League Inc. Executive Director Rick Dana Barlow opened the ceremony by reinforcing the criticality of the supply chain in business and in healthcare. “Human lives, if not quality of life, are at stake,” Barlow said. “It’s a tall order and a huge responsibility that requires not only clinical expertise but supply chain expertise and involvement as well.”

During his introductory remarks, Bellwether League Inc. Chairman Jamie C. Kowalski expressed the challenging nature and importance of Bellwether League Inc.’s ongoing mission and responsibility of evaluating and selecting class members. “We bring them before you and the rest of the industry and give them their due as our organization is designed to do,” he said. “All of us at the Bellwether League are honored and thrilled to introduce the Class of 2011.”

Barlow shined the spotlight on Lee C. Boergadine (Bellwether Class of 2008), Warren D. Rhodes (Bellwether Class of 2009) and Frank D. Kilzer, Michael Louviere, Daniel E. Mayworm and Curt M. Selquist (Bellwether Class of 2010) in the audience.
Against the backdrop of healthcare reform, Curtis Rooney, HIGPA president, highlighted the important role supply chain professionals play in a changing marketplace. “I really believe you are all the unsung heroes of healthcare,” he said, “and the work that we honor tonight is so important.”

Rooney also recognized all of the current and past Bellwether Class members with ties to GPOs as a way of linking group purchasing to supply chain operations, using that notion to reinforce HIGPA’s upcoming name change to the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA).

Remembering excellence

Each honoree expressed a sense of appreciation, honor and humility at being inducted into the Bellwether Class of 2011, while sharing the credit with colleagues and mentors and extolling the virtues of Bellwether League Inc. in promoting supply chain management excellence for current professionals and future generations.

“I wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for a lot of hard-working people within our organization out on the West Coast called Providence Health System,” said Laurence Dickson, retired corporate director of materials management at Providence Health System. “Collectively, Providence Health System worked very hard to establish a team environment at a time when purchasing wasn’t necessarily a team sport.”

Dickson encouraged others to consider supply chain as a career in healthcare. “Quite honestly, there’s no more rewarding experience in my mind, after a long hard day’s work that you know that your efforts have made a real difference to a patient’s well-being,” he added.

Dan Dryan, a retired veteran hospital supply chain executive, told the audience he had set a number of career goals for himself, all of which he felt comfortable in meeting, but one of those goals was not to be a Bellwether League honoree. “I reviewed the names of the past honorees and could not imagine being part of such an elite group,” he said.

Dryan thanked God for his health at 72, his family for understanding those many late hours at work and “those times I wasn’t there because of work when they really needed me” and “the hundreds of employees that were loyal, hard-working and dedicated people who helped me get where I’m at.” He noted how professional football players inducted into in the National Football League’s hall of fame credit their teammates for getting them there, and wanted to say something different himself but he couldn’t do it. “I wouldn’t be here without my teammates,” he echoed with earnest.

“I’m in awe of being in the company of the previous years’ winners and the honorees this year,” said Derwood Dunbar Jr., who spent the early part of his career in hospital materials management but is more widely known as the inaugural leader of MAGNET Inc. and HIGPA. “I believe that life is what happens to you when you’re expecting something else.” Dunbar recalled his early and ultimately fruitless attempt to enroll in medical school after working with his father in pharmacy that led to a long and storied career in healthcare product sales, hospital supply chain management and group purchasing operations.

Dunbar lauded his mentors and staff members through the years as a reflection of what Bellwether League Inc. is trying to do – building on what previous generations have done. One of the important lessons he learned was that “materials management needs to be a C-suite operation,” he said.

Further, as a Founding Board Member, Dunbar recalled Bellwether League’s “need to remember those who came before us and to honor their commitment that allowed those of us to follow to build even stronger materials management functions in whatever healthcare industry or institution we work.”

Steve Gray, a prominent healthcare supply chain consultant and author, called his honoree status an “unexpected honor,” recognizing many of the existing inductees as his teachers and mentors throughout his career. “I realized that most of the contributions I wrote about and recommendations and solutions provided to my clients were really based on the teachings and mentoring that I received from real materials managers and supply chain executives, and had learned from members of previous classes,” he said.

Gray encouraged the audience to promote Bellwether League’s efforts to a healthcare industry embroiled in many challenges today so that it can motivate future healthcare professionals to address these challenges, including electronic connectivity, and be recognized for their accomplishments.

As an example, Gray cited his desire to be credentialed in another association that sparked the push to innovate and develop new processes and systems for implementation. “Bellwether League offers the opportunity to lead some of the new people that are out there in the field and to inspire them and incentivize them to innovate and address some of these new challenges.”

Betty Hanna, IAHCSMM’s long-standing executive director, expressed gratitude in Bellwether League Inc. pulling all of the associations and professions in the industry together to show “healthcare all as one,” she noted, particularly including sterile processing professionals in the mix.

Hanna said she was honored and humbled with this recognition, but felt “central sterile supply department professionals are the ones that should be recognized,” she said. “Those working in the CSSD have a difficult, and often thankless, job. They are committed to doing what’s right to ensure quality and patient safety. Despite being true instrumentation and sterilization experts CSSD professionals are often healthcare’s unsung heroes. This award is for them.” 

Like those before him, Larry Malcolmson, the retired founder and CEO of MD Buyline, attributed his recognition to others.

“In 1983, all I had was the knowledge that when I called on a doctor I always had more information than the doctor did,” Malcolmson recalled. “Virtually every sales rep can make the same statement. All I had was an idea that I wanted to create transparency in industry and to get hospitals to share information. I didn’t know that was going to be a difficult task back in 1983.”

Malcolmson thanked the healthcare provider organizations that recognized the need for MD Buyline and participated in its development and growth, the supplier executives who made difficult decisions to change to share MD Buyline’s vision of transparency and full disclosure, and the staff at MD Buyline that executed the idea behind MD Buyline for the last 28 years. “I’m up here because of them,” he added.

Malcolmson made special note of his wife Sharon. “I always thought of myself as the mouth of MD Buyline and she was the brains,” he said. “She ran the internal part of MD Buyline so I could be out getting people convinced to share information.” He credited Sharon with assembling the entire staff and developing MD Buyline’s massive database. As an example, he recalled how Sharon reconfigured the database to deliver information more quickly after a client requested data earlier than the 30-day window of availability.

Grateful and honored for his recognition, retired hospital supply chain and GPO executive and current consultant John Strong said he felt blessed with a supply chain career that spanned 36 years full-time and another six-to-eight years part time and thanked God for that, as well as all of the people he’s worked with over the years.

Strong, best known for his leadership at Premier and Consorta, emphasized the need for mentorship, which he said is sort of a dying breed in this country right now. “I have been blessed over the entire course of my career with great mentors, and some of them are here tonight actually,” he said. “In healthcare, and in supply chain management in particular, we really have to do more mentoring to ensure that we have the leaders in the future who can really carry on the work that’s been done by people in the past. I encourage all of you to be a mentor. I have found over the years that when I’ve been a mentor to people I often come away with as much knowledge as I hoped I was able to give the person that I was mentoring.”

Looking to 2012

Bellwether League Inc.’s fourth annual Honoree Induction Dinner also marked the retirement of two Founding Board members, and the debut of their successors.

Patrick E. Carroll Jr., president, Patrick E. Carroll & Associates, and James F. Dickow, president and CEO, Dickow Consulting Group LLC, finished their founding terms after more than four years of dedicated service.

Following the recognition of Carroll and Dickow, Kowalski and Barlow introduced the newest Board members: Michael Louviere, vice president, supply chain, Baptist Health System, and Bellwether Class of 2010 Inductee, and John W. Strong, retired senior vice president, Nexera Inc./GNYHA Services, and Bellwether Class of 2011 Inductee.

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 Board of Directors of Bellwether League Inc. includes 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
  • Mary A. Starr (treasurer), assistant vice president, AdvantageTrust, HealthTrust Purchasing Group, Schaumburg, IL
  • James R. Francis, chair, supply chain management, and chief supply chain officer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Michael Louviere (Bellwether Class of 2010), vice president, supply chain, Baptist Health System, Birmingham, AL
  • Vance B. Moore, senior vice president, operations, Mercy, Chesterfield, MO
  • Richard A. Perrin, president and CEO, AdvanTech Inc., Annapolis, MD
  • Jean M. Sargent, director, supply chain, USC Health Sciences, Los Angeles
  • John W. Strong (Bellwether Class of 2011), retired senior vice president, Nexera Inc./GNYHA Services, Fontana, WI

Funeral mass and burial will be at Holy Family Parish, Monument Square, Concord, MA, on Saturday, October 29 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the St Vincent de Paul Council at Christ the King Church, 8017 Preston Road, Dallas, TX, 75225 or The Gladney Center for Adoption, 6300 John Ryan Dr., Fort Worth, TX, 76132.If you wish to sign the guestbook go to and click on Mark’s name on the left, which will launch his obituary and links to the guestbook.


Jamie C. Kowalski
Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting LLC

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

Mary A. Starr
Assistant Vice President, AdvantageTrust
HealthTrust Purchasing Group

Executive Director
Rick Dana Barlow
Wingfoot Media Inc.


James R. Francis
Chair, Supply Chain Management
Mayo Clinic

Michael Louviere
Vice President, Supply Chain
Baptist Health System

Vance B. Moore
Senior Vice President, Operations

Richard A. Perrin
President and CEO
AdvanTech Inc.

Jean M. Sargent
Director, Supply Chain
USC Health Sciences

John W. Strong
John Strong LLC


Jamie C. Kowalski
Rick Dana Barlow

Founding Sponsors:

Owens & Minor Inc.
Premier Purchasing Partners
Kimberly-Clark Health Care

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.