Comp Laude Nominations

What is good about workers' compensation? There are some who might decry that question, and respond with a firm and unequivocal "nothing." But they are wrong. There is so much going on in this community that is good, positive, and productive. David DePaolo of recognized that with the launching of the Comp Laude® awards. I have written on the subject various times. For general information, see A Comp Laude Overview, published about a year ago. 

I believe that there are many in this workers' compensation community that merit mention. They are each fulfilling a role in what remains a "grand bargain." Despite the many critics who emphasize its failings, workers' compensation has very positive effects for people, business, and more. It has been an integral part of the American workplace for over 100 years, and it is delivering every day. Some will point out that it does not always deliver, but it does deliver. Furthermore, it is constantly evolving, striving, becoming more than it was. 

In 2018, I submitted 14 nominations for the Comp Laude® (nominated in 2017, but concluded the process in 2018). I described the process in that Overview post, and explained that the effort can be a challenge. Nominating itself is reasonably simple, you will need the person's name, title, company, email and phone.  Then you select a category ("service provider," "defense attorney," "applicant attorney," "industry leader," "philanthropy," "employer," injured worker," physician," or "other"). You will also have to provide your own information to facilitate contacting you back.
This year, I submitted 32 nominations. This included industry leader, philanthropy, applicant attorney, defense attorney, physician, judge, and vendor. Those were submitted between November 20, 2018 and March 31, 2019. And, I am proud of every nomination. Each of them demonstrate a commitment to this workers' compensation community and each is an example that is worthy of study and emulation. My nominees came from eleven states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. 
On May 21, 2019, my email got a little exciting. I received six emails, one right after each other at 12:16 p.m., and the subject lines were identical: "Congratulations on your 2019 Comp Laude® Nomination." As I read the first of these, which led with: "Your nominee, __________, has passed to the second round in the 2019 Comp Laude® Awards process," I began to think about what I would need to do to submit the "second round" documentation requested therein. 
The "second round" requires a short biography, a "head and shoulders photo" at least one reference to "confirm the details/accomplishments of your nominee," and a "detailed explanation that demonstrates why your nominee is deserving of a Comp Laude® Award. Minimum one typewritten page, around 500 words." So, each "second round" effort would require some work. 
I no sooner closed that first message than 8 more emails hit my inbox at 12:17 p.m. I started a handwritten "to do" list of names, and began to archive those 14 emails. Before I could finish, another arrived at 12:20, then another at 12:21. As I worked to build my list, the inbox continued to receive. at 12:35 the messages stopped. Twenty-three. Of the 32 nominations submitted, 23 (72% app) had made it to the second round!
I had learned my lesson in 2018, and started the 2019 process with an email to each of the nominees, requesting that they each send me the bio and photo I needed. That same day, I began emailing potential references, certain that would be a time-consuming challenge. Wrong. The reference replies came almost as fast as I could send requests. They said "glad to," "my pleasure," "nobody more deserving," "absolutely," "I'm a big fan," "for sure," "my privilege," and more. These outstanding workers' compensation leaders were not too busy to support a nomination, they were glad to do it and proud to be asked. 
On June 7, 2019 I finished the process of submitting the second-round information (two days before the midnight Sunday deadline). Admittedly, it involved some work and effort. But, I was proud of each and every nominee. They are each part of what makes our community of workers' compensation great. Some had similarities, but for the most part they each contribute and inspire differently. They make us better, because they set an example for us. They make us better because they are building on the simple fact that this is a community. They are each imperfect, human, but striving for a better workers' compensation.
I cannot wait to see if any of these 23 are announced at the Comp Laude Gala® in September. But, one thing I know for sure is that I did not nominate the winner of the People's Choice award. See, that one is not up to any of us to nominate, or the judges to choose. Those nominees will place themselves in contention by proposing a "Ted talk" to deliver. Six or seven will present (it is officially seven, but I know for a fact that one guy flaked out last year and left them hanging with only 6; it was me, and I stayed home at the last minute to watch Hurricane Michael hit our Florida panhandle). And, the audience will vote. The attendees will pick the People's Choice winner.
So, if I nominated you, congratulations again! If you did not nominate anyone, please consider doing so next year. I believe that every person in this community of workers' compensation knows someone that fits the Comp Laude® criteria: 
Career dedication to integrity and excellence.
Commitment to working with all industry stakeholders and treating injured workers with dignity and respect.
Contributions have improved or advanced the industry.

So, when the time comes (nominations will likely re-open in November 2019), take the time to recognize those who you notice, those who inspire you. They may not win an award, but think of the compliment you are delivering by merely nominating them. If nothing else, perhaps you can make them blush a bit, reflect a bit, and know they are making a difference. In the end, isn't that a pretty nice compliment to deliver?

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    About The Author

    • Judge David Langham

      David Langham is the Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims at the Division of Administrative Hearings. He has been involved in workers’ compensation for over 25 years as an attorney, an adjudicator, and administrator. He has delivered hundreds of professional lectures, published numerous articles on workers’ compensation in a variety of publications, and is a frequent blogger on Florida Workers’ Compensation Adjudication. David is a founding director of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary and the Professional Mediation Institute, and is involved in the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) and the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). He is a vocal advocate of leveraging technology and modernizing the dispute resolution processes of workers’ compensation.

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