September 29 - October 1, 2021

The conference planning committee is excited the Governor’s Conference on Workers’ Compensation is an in-person event this year! Our conference theme is Workers’ Compensation in a Post Pandemic Word" and we will have a fantastic line-up of speakers.  Conference speakers will present a variety of topics from the pandemic's effects in workers' compensation, to response within the workers’ compensation system, to changes moving forward from the pandemic. 

We hope you will join us in West Yellowstone!

Conference Speakers

Kevin Braun General Council, Montana State Fund

Kevin earned his B.A. in Political Science from Montana State University in 1982, and his J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 1992. Upon graduation from law school, Kevin served as a law clerk for the Workers’ Compensation Court until June 1993. Kevin then began working at the Department of Labor & Industry and served as chief counsel from 1995 - 2005. In 2005 Keven began working as a claims attorney at the Montana State Fund and is currently employed as the general counsel for the Montana State Fund.

Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek - MD, MPH Medical Director, Dept of Labor

Maggie Cook-Shimanek, MD, MPH works as the medical director for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry Employment Relations Division and as the medical director of the Medical Treatment Guidelines with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Division of Workers’ Compensation. She completed residency training programs in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. She has a Master of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Dr. Neil Dempster - PhD, MBA, CSP Behavioral Engineer and RESULTant

Dr. Neil Dempster is a student of the behavioral components of success — how to achieve peak performance in a changing world. He is a thought-leader, keynote speaker and consultant in the areas of culture, leadership, management, mission/vision/behavior alignment, teamwork, accountability, innovation/creativity/expansive thinking, change and continuous learning/improvement. His guarantee is “No Fluff” ... Instead, he provides the practical application that turns Know-How into Do-Now.

His education includes Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, and a PhD in Organizational and Industrial Psychology. This unique educational blending has earned him the distinction of bringing ‘logic’ to ‘soft skills.’

Neil speaks from a lifetime of experiences in the trenches. He's been a multi-year, top 1% producer for a Fortune 50 company; held senior manager/leader positions in several organizations; started and sold several businesses; trained tens of thousands of managers on the principles of effective management/leadership; and helped many organizations create a Culture of Results and Engagement (CORE)®. He doesn't just teach it—he's DONE it!

Neil has been an active community leader serving as a member of the Arizona Governor's Council for Workforce Development Policy (Chairman of its Performance Measures Taskforce), as a Director of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (Chairman of its Workforce Readiness and Economic Development Committees), and Chairman of the Phoenix Mayor's Excellence in Education Commission. He has also been a State Council member for the Arizona Society for Human Resource Management.

Ryan Eder Founder & Chief Executive Offer, IncludeHealth, Inc

Ryan Eder is CEO and Founder of IncludeHealth. With an unwavering commitment to lowering the barriers in care delivery through design and technology, IncludeHealth provides a digital musculoskeletal platform that leverages HIPAA-compliant cloud software paired with machine vision and data analytics to drive better outcomes at lower costs. With more than 15 years of experience designing products across a variety of industries, Ryan has received more than 40 innovation and design awards including winning Gold and Best in Show twice (2007 and 2016) in IDSA's International Design Excellence Awards.

Todd Harwell Administrator, Public Health & Safety Division

Todd Harwell is the Administrator for the Public Health and Safety Division within the Department of Public Health and Human Services. He has worked in public health for over 30 years.

Emily Healy Epidemiologist, Employment Relations Division

Emily Healy is an epidemiologist for the Montana Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance program within the Employment Relations Division of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. Her work focuses on utilizing data to identify, track, and monitor work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses to improve worker health and safety across Montana. The program is funded through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and relies on data from many sources including workers’ compensation, public health, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Emily holds an MS in Biomedical Anthropology from Binghamton University and has been with the Department since 2018.

Bri Lake Research Analyst, Employment Relations Division

Bri Lake is a workers’ compensation research analyst for the Employment Relations Division of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. Her work focuses on utilizing data to provide both internal and external stakeholders with measures to evaluate Montana’s workers’ compensation system and to monitor a variety of topics that may impact system stakeholders, including new legislation, opioid utilization, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other economic factors. Bri holds a BS in Economics from Montana State University and has been with the Department since 2017.

Dr. Claire Muselman - PhD Vice President, North American Risk Services

Dr. Claire Muselman is the Vice President of the Workers’ Compensation Center of Excellence at North American Risk Services, Inc., bringing passion-filled purpose and energy with a dose of glitter and sparkles to the industry.

Using her knowledge with over 16 years of direct claims experience, Claire has been a thought leader in workers’ compensation. She created the first-ever Workers’ Recovery Unit, co-hosted ADJUSTED, a claims podcast, co-founded The Transitions, and is a monthly contributor for [] [] as well as Just Begin Magazine, sharing her love for innovation in the workers’ compensation space. Claire also has her own column with IN TOUCH WC where she shines light into sparkly parts of life twice per month.

By combining a solid technical foundation with her passion for creating a better experience through emotional intelligence, empathy, and customer-centricity, Claire inspires others to ultimately make good things happen for people. Claire also believes it is her duty and a responsibility to add seats to any table she is invited to participate. She is an Ambassador for the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation, Board Member for Kids Chance of Iowa, Board Member for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) – Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board, and President-Elect of the Insurance Association of Greater Des Moines (part of the International Association of Insurance Professionals).

Claire also speaks nationally on the topic of Humanity in Claims looking to change the industry one insurance professional at a time. “The adjusters we are empowering today will be the decision-makers tomorrow. Advocacy is not enough, we need empathic, emotionally intelligent leaders who understand the bigger picture of returning injured humans to functional, contributing members of society and more importantly, returning injured humans to their own lives. The ripple effect matters.”

David Sandler Judge, Workers' Compensation Court

David M. Sandler was appointed as Workers' Compensation Court Judge by Governor Steve Bullock on August 20, 2014. Judge Sandler's effective start date was Monday, September 8, 2014. Judge Sandler’s law practice included insurance defense of workers’ compensation claims from 1999 to 2006 and from 2007 through his appointment to the Court in August 2014, a portion of his practice was representing claimants’ workers’ compensation claims. Judge Sandler was in partnership with Amy Eddy from 2013 until his appointment to the Court.

Rod Souza Judge, Montana District Court

District Judge Rod Souza has served in the Thirteenth Judicial District since January 2015. He is a Billings native and received his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Montana. Following graduation, Judge Souza worked for the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office from 1999 through 2014. While in the County Attorney’s Office, he served as the Chief Criminal Litigator from 2008 through 2010, and Chief Deputy from 2011 through 2014. In 2008, he received Montana’s Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year Award. Judge Souza is married to Brittney and they have three children.

Dr. Greg Vanichkachron - MD, MPH, FACOEM Occupational and Aerospace Medicine Physician, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Van is an occupational and aerospace medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic. He is the medical director for Mayo’s first program for COVID long haulers, the Covid Activity Rehabilitation Program. Prior to his work at Mayo, he practiced in northwest Montana for nearly a decade, helping injured workers recover their function and lives. Outside of medicine, he is an avid fly fisherman, an Ironman triathlete, and a private pilot.

Bob Wilson President & CEO,

Bob Wilson is a founding partner, President & CEO of He is an experienced presenter for the workers’ compensation industry, and is the author of “From Bob’s Cluttered Desk”, a blog repeatedly named as a top workers’ compensation blog by LexisNexis. Additionally, he has been named one of the “50 Most Influential People in Workers’ Comp” by the SEAK National Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference. Known for an extraordinary sense of humor, his presentations reflect both entertaining and practical advice for both people managing claims as well as the people “picking up the tab”. Bob serves on the Board of Directors for Kids’ Chance of America, Inc., and is a founding board member and past president of Kids Chance of Florida, Inc. He resides with his wife in Sarasota, FL.

Jennifer Wolf Executive Director, IAIABC

As the Executive Director of the IAIABC, Jennifer builds community, creates value, and motivates change. The actions and innovations of IAIABC members work to reduce harm and aid recovery for those impacted by an occupational injury, illness, or fatality. In her role, Ms. Wolf connects with industry professionals from around the globe to identify emerging issues, develop resources, and reinforce the social purpose of workers’ compensation programs.

You can hear Ms. Wolf’s perspective on workers’ compensation during the IAIABC’s monthly podcast, Accidentally. Even though Jennifer accidentally fell into workers’ compensation, she appreciates the important role it plays in our health, safety, and security at work.

Ms. Wolf has authored numerous articles on workers’ compensation management and regulatory topics, most recently on changing employment relationships, the platform economy, and emerging healthcare trends in workers’ compensation. Ms. Wolf has frequently presented on the history, foundations, and structure of workers’ compensation in the United States.

Ms. Wolf manages five staff and works closely with the IAIABC Board of Directors and other Association leaders. Jennifer graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Chemistry. Her degree is put to good use with baking experiments in her free time.

Participant Contact Information

Please select all that apply

To receive full credit for the entire conference, you must select EVERY session as badges will be scanned at the beginning of each session

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

  • Bob will be providing his unique perspective on workers' compensation and changes from the legislatures and courts over the past year

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Describe the circumstances of the 1918 influenza pandemic nationally and in Montana
    2) Understand the similarities and differences between the influenza pandemic of 1918 and the current COVID-19 pandemic
    3) Articulate post-pandemic lessons learned and the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health practice moving forward

  • This 2021 legislative session was a busy one and included several changes to the workers’ compensation statutes. This session will review the legislative changes impacting workers’ compensation over the next biennium.

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Describe the central role of workplace safety, health and wellness in the COVID-19 pandemic conversation
    2) Articulate how the circumstances of the pandemic interacted with workers’ compensation
    3) Discuss the potential lasting effects of the pandemic on the workplace moving forward

Thursday, September 30, 2021

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Understand the historical basis for a post viral syndrome
    2) Learn to recognize the usual symptoms of Post COVID Syndrome
    3) Learn to appreciate the functional limitations of this condition
    4) Learn to define the limitations of diagnostic testing

  • Judge Sandler will review his tenure as the most recent Workers’ Compensation Court Judge and discuss court procedures and rulings

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Learn how workers' compensation organizations adapted throughout the pandemic and how these adaptations will continue to shape the system in coming years
    2) Understand how technology will be implemented to connect, collect, and coordinate among workers' compensation stakeholders
    3) Describe the external factors that will influence workers' compensation policy in the coming decade
    4) Hear how workers' compensation is transforming from a focus on process to people

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Attendees will receive a general overview of the research being done in ERD recently and where to find the artifacts
    2) Attendees will have a high-level understanding of the overall health of workers in Montana and be able to discuss common workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Describe how HIPAA compliant cloud software integrates w/ inclusive rehabilitation equipment to optimize care
    2) Articulate how technology connects patients, providers, and payers to streamline delivery while harvesting objective measurable data creating actionable insights for outcomes
    3) Discuss how clinically measurable PT program can be used on any device

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Learn about the laws and rules of ethics governing those in Montana’s workers’ compensation system
    2) Learn about situations in which those in the workers’ compensation system have violated ethics laws or rules, or come close
    3) Learn about the consequences of violating laws and rules of ethics

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Apply knowledge of human connection & language processes as they occur across various elements of the workers compensation system from multiple perspectives
    2) Develop knowledge, skills, and judgment around human connection that facilitate the ability to work collaboratively
    3) Improve communication effectively orally and in writing and deliver effective messages based on audience as well as context

Friday, October 1, 2021

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Learn about issues in obtaining social media evidence during discovery
    2) Learn about the application of the Rules of Evidence to social media evidence
    3) Learn about client counseling related to social media

  • Learning Objectives:
    1) Attendees will learn techniques to enhance listening skills and reduce communication challenges resulting from unconscious biases and/or bad habits
    2) Attendees will be provided three methods to help overcome the challenges inherent in constant change
    3) Attendees will learn techniques to connect and collaborate more effectively and with greater results and be able to apply these techniques both in-person and virtually

Registration Information

  • Includes Montana State Fund, Montana university system and all other state agencies

  • Paid vendors receive one complimentary conference registration for conference attendees

  • See options below


Terms & Agreements

Rates will increase September 8, 2021 as follows:

Conference Attendee - $250.00
Guest - $150.00
Exhibitors - $850.00

No refunds after September 15, 2021

Credit card payments are required for conference attendees and guests

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