The 72nd Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference® and the 29th Annual Safety and Health Conference focus on national workers’ compensation and occupational safety and health industries. Particularly as it relates to workers’ compensation, it has always been felt that each state, having different laws, had to deal with its own issues separate from other states. No longer is this the case. This national conference has evolved into a gathering of all stakeholders, regardless of jurisdiction or state, to study and be educated on issues of common concern - issues that have no geographical boundaries. Regardless of your interests, your position in these important industries, and your role, this conference is designed to provide something of significance. The unprecedented number of breakouts and the quality of presenters representing states throughout the country truly make this the national event not to be missed.
This nationally acclaimed annual conference remains the premier forum for the study of workers’ compensation, workplace safety and health, and related issues primarily because of the continued participation of state and national associations, all being recognized as leaders within their particular interest areas. Participants in this group include: American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE); National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI); The Safety & Health Institute; The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); The Workers’ Compensation Institute; the Florida and National Associations of PEOs; The Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar; The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA); The Workers' Compensation Defense Institute; The Florida Orthopedic Society; The Florida Chiropractic Association; The Florida Association of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; The Florida Academy of Pain Medicine; The Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; The Educational Research Centers at The University of South Florida, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The Deep South ERC at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn University; The Professional Mediation Institute (PMI); The National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ); The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC); The Self-Insurance Guaranty Funds of America; The National Underwriter (sponsor of the Workers' Compensation Risk Manager of the Year); and The National Regulators College.
This year’s program offers creative and innovative speakers from throughout the United States. The hottest issues in workers’ compensation and occupational safety and health will be discussed. All aspects of workers’ compensation and workplace safety and health will be topics of discussion. This year’s theme for the conference is “30 Years of Changes” celebrating the 30th year that the Workers’ Compensation Institute has sponsored this annual conference. Under the capable leadership of Jim McConnaughhay, General Chair, Steve Rissman, Program Chair, directors Gerry Rosenthal and David Parrish, and the wonderful volunteers on the planning committee and those that have helped during the conferences for the last 30 years, this once State of Florida specific conference with 5 breakout sessions and approximately 300 attendees has expanded to the largest national workers’ compensation forum in the United States attended by more than 8000 persons with a program of approximately 150 pages consisting of over 180 breakout sessions and 520 speakers. Organized as an unprecedented non-profit entity, the Workers’ Compensation Institute has used its profits in a “Spirit to Serve” attitude creating unparalleled benefits to every facet of the workers’ compensation industry. The theme of the conference this year is in recognition of the many successes realized by the Institute, successes that can be credited for those who have supported the Institute “then and now.”
WCI® encourages attendees to share on social media during the conference with friends and followers using the 2017 Conference hashtag, #WCI2017. Follow and tag WCI® on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @WCI360. Attendees can comment, question, and share the knowledge gleaned from the unparalleled programming that every year is WCEC®.
Realizing that many workers’ compensation and safety professionals deal with more than one state, special conference breakouts have been designed to provide information on multi-state workers’ compensation laws. Sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Defense Institute, this unique program offers presentations on the workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. Handouts for these sessions will include copies of the laws of the various jurisdictions. Regulators from each of these jurisdictions will be present to discuss each state’s laws and regulations. For those participating states, conferences with specific regulators can be pre-scheduled if attendees have concerns about particular states. To make reservations for these personal conferences, refer to Ask the Regulators.
The annual National Workers’ Compensation Judiciary College is held in conjunction with the conference. The College is sponsored by the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ) and is designed to provide educational opportunities for adjudicators that preside over workers’ compensation matters. The college focuses on issues that are unique to the field of workers’ compensation and includes adjudicators both at the trial and appellate levels. Consult your program for further details related to the Judiciary College. The Association’s website is www.nawcj.org. Visit the site to become a member or associate member, review newsletters and register for the College. This is the only College in the nation that is created exclusively by and for workers’ compensation adjudicators. Registration for the Judiciary College includes a complimentary WCI® conference registration.
The 2017 National Workers’ Compensation Regulators College held at the conference is sponsored by the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA), and the Self-Insurance Guaranty Funds of America (SIGFA). This program is specifically designed for regulators, by regulators, covering the full scope of regulatory responsibilities faced by today’s state officials. Registration for the National Workers’ Compensation Regulators College includes a complimentary WCI® convention registration. Registration can be completed by visiting www.sawca.com or by contacting Gary Davis at email@example.com or (859) 219-0194.
For the 6th year, WCI® is sponsoring its Annual Prayer Breakfast on Monday, August 7, at 7:00 a.m. in Crystal Ballroom J1. This annual event is intended to be a “kick-off” of the conference for interested persons. Each year, WCI® introduces a respected individual in an industry not necessarily identified as “spiritual” to explain to the audience what their faith has meant to them in establishing their success. The remarkable stories told provide an inspiration to attendees regardless of their religious preferences, if any. The cost of this event is $60 per person, which includes a full breakfast. Proceeds received will pay for the expenses of the event, with any overages being donated to the WCI® service project “Give Kids The World.” Registration to attend the event can be made by registering online.
For the first time ever, the conference keynote speaker and the prayer breakfast speaker is the same. We are very proud to welcome Derrick Brooks to the conference. Derrick Brooks was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, where he remained to play his entire 14 season professional career. He is widely considered one of the best linebackers in NFL history. An 11-time Pro-Bowl selection and 9-time All-Pro, Brooks was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. In February 2014, Derrick received one of the highest honors of his life by being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Capital One Academic All America Hall of Fame. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Communications at Florida State University where he was a 3-time First Team All ACC Selection, 2-time First Team All America and a member of the 1993 Seminoles National Championship team. He has a master’s degree in Business Communications from FSU and a doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Leo’s University in 2006. Brooks has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2000 Walker Payton/NFL Man of the Year Award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, the 2004 Bryon “Whizzer” White Award and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players Association, all of which recognize an NFL player annually for their commitment to the communities in which they live. He has also received numerous community awards in Tampa, Florida for his work and dedication to the community. Registration to attend the event can be made by registering online.
This year, we are doing something quite unique. We are presenting a panel of industry thought leaders discussing and debating a new workers’ compensation system. The backdrop is that the United States Supreme Court, in 2019, invalidates all state workers’ compensation statutes because state laws no longer provide “a grand bargain” to industry workers.
The setting for the panel is a collaboration between The Center for Excellence and a special edition of “Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark” (Kimberly George and Mark Walls) and how they as moderators take this high-profile panel through what is necessary to formulate workers’ compensation 2.0. Our panel of experts is composed of David Stills, Risk Manager for Walmart the largest employer in the country, David North, President and CEO of Sedgwick the largest TPA in the US which handles both workers’ compensation and disability claims, Mark Wilhelm, the CEO for Safety National which insures or reinsures more than 10% of the US workforce and Matthew Peterson, an executive with UnitedHealth Group the largest healthcare carrier in the US. A discussion like this can simply not be missed.
This year’s entertainment is Gavin DeGraw, a multi-platinum selling singer, performer, and song writer. He first broke through with the 2003 release of his debut album, “Chariot” which sold over 1 million copies, earned platinum certification and yielded 3 hit singles: “I Don’t Want to Be,” “Followed Through,” and the title-track “Chariot.” Gavin’s self-titled second album debuted at number one on the digital sales chart and at number 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart in 2008, earning Gavin his first top 10 album. It spawned the hit singles “In Love with a Girl,” which Billboard dubbed “A rocking home run” and the gold-certified “We Belong Together.” His third studio album, “Sweeter,” was released in September, 2011 and produced the smash single “Not Over You.” The track reached number 1 on the Hot AC Chart, was a top 10 hit on Top 40 and was certified double platinum. In 2013, DeGraw released his 4th studio album, “Make a Move,” which included the hit song “Best I Ever Had.” Gavin’s 5th studio album, “Something Worth Saving,” was released last year and features his latest hit single “She Sets the City on Fire.”
Jill’s Cashbox, otherwise known as JCB, a band from Central Florida that specializes in getting folks on their feet, moving and grooving to the music, is the front band for the Monday night entertainment. Though their original music is country, they cover a ton of entertaining rock and pop songs.
WCI® is a non-profit organization with all of its proceeds used to either enhance future conferences or promote other charitable causes. For years, scholarships were awarded to children of injured workers who, because of a workplace injury to a parent or guardian, might be financially prevented from further training or education. We also support a special project, “Give Kids the World.” More can be learned about this week-long camp for children with life-threatening illnesses by referring to their website www.gktw.org or on the here. Conference attendees are urged to provide support for this very worthy cause by participating in service on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Special hotel rates of $99 for Friday and Saturday nights will be given to those who register and participate in this event. Pre-registration is required and can be accomplished by clicking here.
The fourth annual special fund-raising silent auction & dinner with entertainment by Deuling Pianos will be held for Give Kids the World, Saturday night, August 5, 2017, at the Orlando World Center Marriott, beginning at 6:00 p.m. To register to attend this function, click here. If you have questions, contact Shirley Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 425-8156. Sponsorships for this event are available.
Host Hotel: Adequate parking is available at the Marriott.
Overflow Hotel: The conference overflow hotel will provide parking and shuttle to its guests Sunday through Wednesday. See shuttle schedule.
Orlando World Center Marriott valet parking is available at the main entrance of the hotel for hotel guests. There is a daily fee. Self-parking is available on the property of the hotel to conference attendees for no fee. Complimentary self-parking is also provided at the overflow hotel for hotel guests, with complimentary shuttle service to the Orlando World Center Marriott, beginning Sunday, August 6. Refer to the map and bus schedule. NOTE: Adequate parking is available at the host hotel for all conference attendees.
The Orlando World Center Marriott and the overflow hotel represent and warrant that, as a place of “public accommodation,” they are in compliance to the extent applicable with the provisions of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hotel facilities, including meeting space, restrooms, dining areas, other common areas and sufficient guest rooms shall be reasonably accessible and usable by persons with special needs. If you require special accommodations for activities related to your hotel stay, please consult with hotel staff. If you require accommodations to participate fully in activities of the conference, please indicate your special needs in the space provided on the registration form or contact WCI®. We will make any reasonable accommodation possible.
If additional information is needed about any aspect of the conference, please contact the Workers’ Compensation Institute (WCI) at (850) 425-8156, email Shirley Kendall at email@example.com, or mail your inquiry to P.O. Box 200, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0200, or physical address 2846 Remington Green Circle, Suite A, Tallahassee, FL 32308, FAX (850) 521-0222.
Many new and exciting things are occurring in workers’ compensation and safety almost on a daily basis. We look forward to sharing these events with you at this year’s educational conference.
James N. McConnaughhay,