NWCDC Chairman's Message

A Few More Words of Thanks

Roberto Ceniceros offers a message of gratitude to everyone who helped make the 2015 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo a stand-out success.
By: | November 30, 2015

The many friends and volunteers who made the recently concluded National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo a smashing success made my list of 2015 wonders to be truly grateful for.


Thinking of their generosity helped make my Thanksgiving holiday particularly meaningful and I hope it enriches your outlook, knowing that there are many colleagues who sincerely care about workers’ comp and how it serves all of us in the industry.

Sure, there are the trying claims that cause frustration, the injured workers needing the best treatment possible, the mounting number of vendor services requiring careful scrutiny, and all the other countless job demands.

But we are also fortunate to have people among us who really care about the sharing of expertise and elevating the industry so that both injured worker and employer are served as best as possible.

My role as NWCDC chairman provides an excellent perch from which to observe the volunteer contributions that I am appreciative of.

I am grateful for our two conference program co-chairs, Denise Algire and Bill Wainscott. The two helped guide speaker selection so that the event’s programming provided highly useful educational information for employers, and other workers’ comp professionals.

Denise is director of managed care and disability, corporate risk, at Albertson’s Safeway Inc. and Bill is manager, workers’ comp and occupational health, at International Paper.

They added to their already busy schedules and time away from home to travel and contribute hours spent in telephone meetings, freely sharing their knowledge and experience. They did this as we brainstormed must-have topics for the year and culled through hundreds of speaker requests for proposals looking for the best mix of presenter attributes.

I am always grateful for people who do their jobs extremely well, no matter the task. Whether I encounter them in my professional role or while on personal business, people who care about their work are truly something to be thankful for.

I have many years of experience writing about workers’ comp and talking with industry experts about the topic. But I have never settled a claim nor negotiated for vendor services. So my deepest thanks to Bill and Denise for their friendship while guiding our topic and speaker selection with an eye for what matters most to employers and other claims payers.

And now that the 2015 conference is behind us and I have heard from many who attended, I can say, job well done, Denise and Bill!

My appreciation also goes out to NWCDC board members. Many of them quickly responded when I needed people to introduce sessions or help host our conference Leadership Connections Lunch.

NWCDC’s board includes: Kathryn Caverly at LexisNexis, Marianne Cloeren at Managed Care Advisors, Jill Dulich at California Self-Insurers’ Security Fund, Ken Eichler at Work Loss Data Institute, Max Koonce, attorney at law, John T. Leonard at MEMIC, Maureen McCarthy at Liberty Mutual, Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters, Rebecca Shafer at Amaxx Risk Solutions, Mark Sidney at Midwest Employers Casualty Co., Mark Walls at Safety National, Patrick Walsh at Accident Fund Holdings, and Pam Webster at Advance Auto Parts.

Similarly, others freely volunteered to introduce sessions or help host the conference’s lunch. Thanks to Bill Zachry, group VP of risk management at Albertson’s Safeway and Lisa Firestone, president and CEO at Managed Care Advisors for pitching in.


Then there are all the conference speakers. They spent hours preparing and brought a career lifetime of knowledge and experience that made for a particularly strong lineup of breakout sessions. Thanks.

I could continue with the list of conference contributors to be appreciative of, all the way to the Mandalay Bay hotel worker who handled her job of greeting attendees, guiding them to the right rooms, and opening doors for them with extreme diligence.

I am always grateful for people who do their jobs extremely well, no matter the task. Whether I encounter them in my professional role or while on personal business, people who care about their work are truly something to be thankful for.

It is also nice to share the good fortune of being part of a community of workers’ comp professionals who care about their work, their colleagues, and the industry’s improvement.

Roberto Ceniceros is a retired senior editor of Risk & Insurance® and the former chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. Read more of his columns and features.

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