1 Presenters KEYNOTE SPEAKER Bruce Christopher Psychologist, Humorist, Keynote Speaker Bruce Christopher Seminars "Laugh til you cry Learn til you change!" These are the only rules that apply at a Bruce Christopher presentation. At the heart of it all, what separates Psychologist-Humorist Bruce Christopher from the rest of the pack is his outrageously funny and dynamic delivery of today s hot topics. He has captivated audiences internationally by giving them real and practical solutions for success, without fluff and hype. His best-selling topics consistently sell out to standing room only crowds at national conventions, corporate conferences and sales meetings. He has been honored to speak (twice!) at the exclusive Million Dollar Round Table Conference, the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the Mayo Clinic, and on the largest stage in the world. Bruce has been called America s foremost Enter Trainer today by the American Heart Association, he has been listed in the Mission Possible project as one of twelve great Americans to watch, and he is a Clinical Psychologist holding degrees in both Professional Psychology and Interpersonal Communication. As a credentialed professional speaker, Bruce s client list comprises some of the best organizations in the world; he speaks over 150 times a year and is one of the most sought after speakers in the Fortune 500. When you are faced with low morale, communication conflicts, customer service issues, managing change, the need for improved teamwork, or just need a great laugh and attitude adjustment....this Psychologist is in!
2 Presenters Justin G. Smith Attorney Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C. Justin joined Woods Fuller in 2006, focusing in areas of litigation, workers compensation, and insurance defense. He also works as a lobbyist, spending the South Dakota legislative session lobbying on behalf of firm clients. Justin s government relations practice allows him to represent a range of clients in diverse industries. This practices includes lobbying, regulatory matters, election and political law, and more. Justin completed the Leadership Sioux Falls program and serves on the Issues Management Council for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. He is active with the Defense Research Institute, the South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association, and the State Bar s Workers Compensation Committee. Justin currently serves on the Board of Directors for Volunteers of America, Dakotas, Boy Scouts of America Sioux Council, and as the Past President of the Board of Directors for the St. Francis House. Justin is the Past President of the Second Circuit Bar Association and past member of the Board of Directors for the Second Circuit Bar Association. As the son of an Army officer, Justin grew up across the United States and around the globe. Having traveled much in his youth, Justin is glad he, his wife, and their three children have settled in South Dakota. Justin s background has formed a life-long interest in politics and government. He loves being part of the Woods Fuller team, and working with some of the most experienced and accomplished professionals in the State of South Dakota. Jennifer L. Van Anne Attorney Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C. Jennifer joined Woods Fuller in 2000 and became a partner in Jennifer is a litigator, and her practice is in general civil litigation, with a focus on insurance defense, government liability, workers compensation, and business litigation. She has represented insurance companies, state governmental agencies, businesses, individuals, and has also served as local counsel for manufacturers of prescription drugs, vaccines, and medical devices. In law school, Jennifer was an active member of the Moot Court Board, and as a result is a member of the Order of Barristers. She is active in leadership of the South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association having served on the Board of Directors for that organization for several years, and is the current Immediate Past President of SDDLA. Jennifer is also a member of DRI and the ABA. Jennifer also currently serves on the South Dakota State Bar Ethics Committee.
3 She has been actively involved with and served on the Board of Directors for the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society for the past six years and is a past president of the Board. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Jeff Schultz Attorney Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C. Jeff Shultz joined the firm in 1983, and has focused his practice on personal injury litigation. Individual clients, self-insured employers and insurers seek his advice on complex matters including workers compensation, ERISA litigation, and subrogations. Disability claims are a substantial part of Jeff s practice, whether the benefits are from an employer or an insurer. He has tried multiple cases to verdict and handled numerous administrative hearings, court trials and appeals. Jeff received recognition in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers U.S.A s America s Leading Lawyers, and was previously named Best Lawyer s Sioux Falls Workers Compensation Law Lawyer of the Year. He serves on the State Bar of South Dakota Committee on Law as well as the Woods Fuller Board and is a long-time board member of East River Legal Services. Jeff spends his free time with his wife and two grown children, occasionally trying his luck at fishing, tennis and golf. Comet Haraldson Attorney Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C. Comet Haraldson has been a member of the firm since He is a senior litigation attorney with emphasis on defense and worker s compensation, and has extensive litigation experience in the areas of workers compensation. Comet is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota and a member and former secretary of the Second Circuit Bar Association. He has served on the State Bar of South Dakota Worker s Compensation Committee and has appeared as a featured speaker at numerous workers compensation seminars throughout the Midwest. He has also published several workers compensation outlines for the National Business Institute. He has appeared in The Best Lawyers in America since 1995 for his work in Workers Compensation Law, and is also listed in Chamber USA s Leading Lawyers for Business. Comet has been listed in Great Plains Super Lawyers in the area of Workers Compensation for several years. Comet has handled well over 5,000 workers compensation cases during his time at Woods Fuller.
4 Amanda Bahena Attorney Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C. Amanda J. Bahena anchors the Woods Fuller office in Sioux Center, Iowa. Amanda studied and lived in Mexico, Canada, and England prior to receiving her law degree. Amanda first practiced corporate and banking law in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2012, she returned to her hometown of Sioux Center, Iowa, to practice immigration law, corporate law, family law and estate planning. Amanda s practice is focused on immigration law, corporate law, and estate planning. She is also experienced in family law matters, including divorce and custody issues. In addition, Amanda draws on the experience and expertise of the Woods Fuller team to best meet the other legal needs of Northwest Iowa clients. Amanda is passionate about immigration issues, and she assists individuals and employers with immigration issues in Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Amanda is fluent in Spanish and is experienced in addressing the legal needs of Spanish-speaking clients. Amanda also welcomes invitations to speak about immigration issues at events and in classrooms. Brett Wickersham Claims Supervisor RAS Brett Wickersham is a Claims Supervisor with RAS. He manages the day-to-day claims adjusting of work injuries that vary from minor medical only to larger loss and litigated exposures. Brett also manages the claims associate department that is responsible for resolving first aid or notice only losses and also provides administrative support to the claim department. He joined RAS in 2008 as a claims examiner. Shortly thereafter he became a member of the High Risk Claim Team, focusing on high exposure, high value, and complex claims. He has also served as a dedicated Lost Time Adjustor for many large accounts in multiple jurisdictions including SD, MN, FL, and AR. Brett has a strong customer service background having previously worked at Wells Fargo Bank. Brett has a Bachelor s of Science degree in Industrial Distribution from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is an active member of the RAS Volunteer Committee, known as the VOICE Committee, as well as serving on the company s United Way team.
5 Rob Groscop Claims Supervisor RAS Rob Groscop is a Claims Supervisor with RAS. He manages the day-to-day claims of an experienced staff of examiners, all of whom handle lost time and litigated files. States he supervises are primarily MN and WI with some tribal claims in SD. Prior to joining RAS, Rob began his insurance career at Liberty Mutual in 1998 as an adjuster. He was promoted to Senior Adjuster in 2000 and handled 200+ files for 5 years with multiple National Market accounts such as UPS, Sears, Cenex Harvest States, Kohl s, and Darden Restaurants. He then worked as a Technical Claims Specialist handling high exposure medical claims for two years until accepting a promotion to the Home Office Examining group where he oversaw 600+ highly complex workers compensation claims for five branch offices over 20 jurisdictions. These claims included everything from fatalities, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, amputations, and existing losses that exceeded a total incurred of $500,000. He helped develop and present training programs on advanced settlement strategies and Medicare Set Aside (MSA) education to several of Liberty Mutual s primary branch offices. Rob moved back to MN and worked as a supervisor of four adjusters for just over a year before joining RAS in Rob has a BA from Concordia in Moorhead, MN, with a double major in Business and Philosophy. He holds the ARM and AIC designations and is an expert in Minnesota jurisdiction claims. Tom Von Wald Attorney Boyce Law Firm, L.L.P. TJ Von Wald joined the Boyce Law Firm s Litigation Section in 2012 after practicing with another Sioux Falls law firm for over six years. TJ focuses at least half of his practice in the workers compensation field by defending employers and insurers throughout South Dakota. Before starting in private practice, he clerked for three circuit judges in the First Judicial Circuit of South Dakota. Since being admitted to practice law, TJ has developed his litigation practice and successfully tried cases in the courts and the departments of South Dakota regarding employment matters, workers compensation disputes, contract disputes, family law matters and criminal defense. He received his J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law. He is a published author in Volume 48 of South Dakota Law Review; Associate Note and Comment Editor of Volume 49 of South Dakota Law Review; Member of USD School of Law Trial Team. He is a member of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association, State Bar of South Dakota, and the American Bar Association.
6 Tanya Schlenker Risk Specialist Manager, Property & Casualty Howalt+McDowell Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency Tanya is the Risk Specialist Manager at Howalt+McDowell Insurance (Marsh McLennan Agency). Tanya began her career in analyzing and adjudicating Workers Compensation claims over 20 years ago. Her responsibilities have included adjudicating claims, identifying /analyzing Workers Compensation trends, establishing protocols/procedures in reducing Workers Compensation frequency/severity, and implementing points of leverage in managing Workers Compensation risk. Tanya is a licensed agent in Property/Casualty Insurance. She holds the CISR and SDWCS Designations. She is currently working on her ARM Designation. Toni Crittenden Risk Specialist Manager, Property & Casualty Howalt+McDowell Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency Toni started her insurance career with Howalt-McDowell (Marsh McLennan Agency) and has been with the organization for 26 years. Toni is a Licensed Agent in Property/Casualty Insurance and works in the Risk Specialty / Bonds Department at Howat McDowell Insurance. One of Toni s key focus areas is in Workers Compensation. Toni holds the AIC, SCLA and SDWCS Designations. She is currently working on her ARM Designation. Eric Christensen Chief Operating Officer Trussbilt Eric Christensen has worked at Trussbilt, LLC for more than 7 years as the Chief Financial Officer, and in 2014 added the role of Chief Operating Officer to his duties. He has a BA in Business Administration and Finance, and an MBA in Finance from the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University in Clinton, IA. He has executive experience in a several areas of business ranging from retail, education, hospitality, manufacturing and others. Prior to joining Trussbilt, Eric was instrumental in building from the ground-up a specialty chemical manufacturer by developing all areas of the business from facilities to operations to finance and everything in between. With his experience in roles as a CFO, COO, owner or general manager, he has learned to lead with an approach that focuses on Communication and Education. And when it comes to Worker s Compensation and reducing your accident rates, your return to work rates, E-MOD ratings, and the culture surrounding your employees safety can all be reduced by simply improving the communication and education of your entire workforce.
7 Eric has served on several community, corporate, athletic, and non-profit boards over the past 20 years, and currently sits on the Mitchell Soccer Assn board, the James Valley Housing Authority board and Cornerstone Career Learning Center board. In 2012, he was named to the Prairie Business Magazine s first-ever 40 under 40 list. Eric resides in Mitchell, SD with his wife Amy, a kindergarten teacher, and their two children, Hailee and Ean. Kristi Geisler Holm Attorney Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. Areas of Practice: Labor and Employment Law, Workers Compensation and Administrative Law, and Insurance Litigation. Kristi has been with Davenport Evans since Her practice is focused upon representing employers and insurers in all stages of workers compensation and employment matters. Kristi regularly provides advice to clients on compensability issues and defenses involved with workers compensation claims before litigation is commenced, but also continues to assist them by defending litigated claims before the Department of Labor and on appeal. Employers also look to her for guidance and the aggressive defense of Title VII cases involving claims of harassment and discrimination, as well as claims involving other laws that impact employers, such as the ADA, FLSA, and the FMLA. Both The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA s America s Leading Lawyers for Business have recognized Kristi for her work. Robb Schlimgen Attorney Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. Areas of Practice: Employee Benefits, Taxation, Banking and Financial Services, Health Care, and Trust Companies. Robb, a Sioux Falls native, graduated from the University of South Dakota with degrees in both Accounting and Political Science. Following his undergraduate studies, he attended the University of Minnesota Law School. He joined the firm as an Associate in 2012 following his completion of a one-year clerkship with Justice Lori S. Wilbur of the South Dakota Supreme Court. His practice includes assisting clients with employee benefits issues and plans, tax planning, and various aspects of banking and financial services law. He has experience assisting employers with Health Care Reform compliance, various retirement plan compliance issues, and reviewing and drafting employee handbooks. Outside of the office, Robb enjoys golfing, spending time with family and friends, and exploring Downtown Sioux Falls.
8 Jean Bender Attorney Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. Areas of Practice: Employee Benefits (ERISA), Labor and Employment Law, and Corporate and Business Law. Jean is extremely active assisting clients with employee benefits issues and all areas of employment law. Jean counsels clients on issues involving sexual harassment, race, sex, age, national origin and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and leave issues under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Jean proactively counsels clients on issues such as hiring and firing, drug testing, harassment and discrimination investigations, employment policies, and company handbooks. Jean also drafts corporate documents related to employment such as contracts, non-compete agreements, and settlement agreements and releases. Jean also consults with clients on ERISA and other legal compliance issues for employee benefit plans ranging from qualified retirement plans to flexible benefit plans. Jean has assisted a number of clients in correcting plan errors through IRS and DOL voluntary compliance programs such as EPCRS and DFVCP. She also negotiates service contracts with third party providers. Jean has been selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Employment Law Management and has also been ranked by Chambers and Partners in the area of Labor & Employment Law. Jean is active in a number of community organizations. She currently serves on the Minnehaha County Commission and is past president of the Brandon Valley School Board. She currently serves on the Brandon Valley Booster Club, the Sioux Falls CASA Board of Directors, and the Volunteers of America, Dakotas Foundation Board. She is a frequent volunteer for Junior Achievement and active in her church. Sandra Hoglund Hanson Attorney Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. Areas of Practice: Labor and Employment Law, Appellate Practice, and Commercial and Complex Litigation. Sandra Hoglund Hanson, a native of Langford, South Dakota, has practiced as one of the firm s litigators since Sandra focuses on employment-related litigation and defends employers both at the administrative level in charges of discrimination and from suits in state and federal court. Her experience includes matters arising out of Title VII, such as claims of harassment and discrimination based upon gender, race, or national origin, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and as other employment-related issues. Sandra also assists and advises employers in compliance with the Worker
9 Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. Additionally, Sandra has defended employers and insurers in workers compensation proceedings. Sandra also practices in other areas of litigation, handling suits in a variety of fields, and she remains active in the firm s appellate practice. Justin Clarke Attorney Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. Areas of Practice: Insurance Litigation, Workers Compensation & Administrative Law, Commercial and Complex Litigation, Trust Litigation Justin, a native of Estelline, South Dakota, joined the firm in 2010 as an associate in the firm s litigation section. Justin s practice focuses on insurance defense, workers compensation, commercial and complex litigation, and trust litigation. Justin graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2010 and is admitted to practice law in South Dakota. Thomas Ripperda, M.D. Avera Medical Group Dr. Ripperda specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Special interests include: Acute Spine Center, Electrodiagnostics (EMGs), pain management, back pain management, workers compensation, spinal cord injuries, stroke, trigger point injections, epidural steroid injections, non-cosmetic Botox injections for spasticity, independent medical exams. He received his medical education from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Vermillion and completed his residency at the University of Colorado. Certifications include American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; American Board of Pain Management; Certified Independent Medical Examiner by the Board of Independent Medical Examiners. Tim Sass, PharmD. Avera Medical Group Tim received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy in Omaha, NE. He is the Clinical Pharmacist, PM&R/Rheumatology at Avera Medical Group. His responsibilities include patient counseling, PDMP verification, drug dosing appropriateness, and working with healthcare professionals within the facility to provide safe and efficient care for the patients. Special activities include developing a
10 collaborative practice agreement, ordering labs, medications, and helping with insurance barriers. He is a member of the American Pharmacists Association and Nebraska Pharmacists Association. Michael McKnight Attorney Boyce Law Firm, L.L.P. Mike McKnight has represented hundreds of employers, their insurers and selfinsurers across South Dakota in the past 27 years of practice. A partner in our employment law section, Mike s vast experience before the South Dakota Department of Labor includes having tried over 100 cases in front of administrative law judges. In addition, he has handled administrative appeals to both the circuit court and the South Dakota Supreme Court. Mike has also defended workers compensation bad faith claims and has an active practice as a mediator. Mike has lectured extensively on the subject of workers compensation and employment law. He has also served as an expert witness for the defense in bad faith cases. Mike is a past member of both the State Bar Disciplinary Board and Ethics Committee. He is also a Fellow in the College of Workers Compensation Lawyers. Laura Hensley Attorney Boyce Law Firm, L.L.P. Laura Hensley joined the firm in July 2014 after five years in both private and corporate practice in Omaha, Nebraska. Laura graduated cum laude from Creighton University School of Law in 2009, and litigated matters in the state courts of Iowa and Nebraska. Laura is a member of our Litigation Section, working primarily on workers compensation and insurance defense matters. In addition to litigating a wide range of residential and commercial property disputes, she has prior experience defending title insurance bad faith claims. Laura grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she graduated from Washington High School. She attended Augustana College on a full scholarship for basketball, earning All-Conference Academic Honors all four years.
11 Jason Parker President CentriX Disability Management Services, Inc. Jason Parker is the President and Senior Disability Management Consultant of CentriX Disability Management Services Inc. CentriX provides Disability Management services focused on recovery and return to work to employers and insurers. Jason is the creator of the Return to Work Toolkit, which is the only strategic behavioural risk management tool of its kind. The Return to Work Toolkit has been delivered internationally to over 1800 participants and is recognized as advanced training in Disability Management. Jason has extensive experience in Disability Management and Stay-at-Work/Return to Work program with over 18 years of experience covering almost every employer group. Jason holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. Jason oversees the leadership of CentriX as well as continues to work in providing direct consulting to organizations while maintaining his hand in case management. Dr. Jeffrey Luther Medical Director WorkFORCE Dr. Jeff Luther is the Medical Director for WorkFORCE Occupational Health and Medical Services. He has several years of experience in Occupational medicine, is a member of ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) and Fellow of American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Luther s specialty certification is in Internal Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Emergency Medicine. He is a certified Independent Medical Examiner, certified in Evaluation of Disability and Impairment Rating (CEDIR) through the American Academy of Disability Physicians (AADEP) and is a Certified Medical Review Officer (CMRO) through AAMRO. As an occupational medicine physician, Dr. Luther studies, diagnoses. and treats patients who are suffering from health problems that are caused by, or related to, their jobs or workplace. Dr. Luther can provide care for patients suffering from physical or mental conditions affecting the worker or workplace. In addition to treating patients, Dr. Luther may focus on education and preventive care to ensure safe practices are followed and maintained.