Sue Ann Head AwardRecognizing Excellence in Workers' Compensation
The Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation is pleased to honor workers' compensation professionals with the Sue Ann Head Award for Excellence in Workers' Compensation. The Bureau encourages nominations of individuals who have or are currently making a lasting, positive impact on Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system.
Nominees must have been involved in the Tennessee workers’ compensation system for a minimum of five years in one of the following categories: employer or employer’s representative, employee representative, service provider, claims professional, medical provider, or legal profession.
About Sue Ann Head
Ms. Sue Ann Head, former Administrator of the Division of Workers' Compensation until February 2011, led with her mind and taught with her heart. Born in Davidson County, TN, she attended college at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN. Her career with state government spanned more than 45 years: Beginning in 1966 as a secretary, then later appointed as the assistant director in 1979, and director in 1982. For 30 years she led the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Division through reforms in 1992 and 2004 which led to the implementation of several programs like Benefit Review, Case Management, Utilization Review, Uninsured Employers Fund, and many more. Her service to this industry was not limited to state government. Sue Ann served on the Executive Committee of the Southern of Workers' Compensation Administrators and then as the President in 1991. She also served on the Board of Trustees for the International Workers' Compensation Foundation, Inc. (IWCF). Sue Ann passed away in May of 2018.
Nominees will be judged on the quality and impact of their work on Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system. That impact may have resulted from a single action that had a notable lasting effect or from a sustained record of positive contributions over the nominee’s career. The winner will be selected by an independent panel of judges who are leading industry professionals from across the country.
Previously nominated individuals who were not selected can be renominated again.
Announcement of the recipient of this award will be made during the 26th Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Education Conference in 2023.
Questions about the nomination process and completed nomination forms should be directed to Ms. Marie Halpin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more than forty years, Bob Pitts has actively participated and contributed to the evolving laws of Tennessee Workers’ Compensation. Pitts has served on the state of Tennessee Advisory Council on Workers’ Compensation for more than 25 years. He has advised governors, Department of Labor commissioners, members of the General Assembly, and multiple Tennessee business and professional groups. Pitts has also mentored many business and labor lobbyists over the years, advocating for fairness and respect for all parties in workers’ compensation. Bob’s first major efforts were with Gov. Ned McWherter’s administration in 1992.
Jody Barnes is a Field Case Manager Nurse with Sedgwick who transitioned from providing patient care as an oncology nurse to workers’ compensation case management in 2014. She has been involved in difficult situations—the aftermath of the March 2020 Nashville tornado, a crime scene at a storage unit, and others—and is among the first to meet with an injured worker after an accident. She is described as a tireless advocate for her clients and has been known to visit them on weekends and to even interrupt her vacation time. She views this as a job requirement. She was nominated by Katie Stalewska, Clinical Team Lead for Sedgwick who says “I feel honored to have Jody as a member of my team. She is an inspiration to both me and my team.”
Shirley Vincent is a registered nurse and a board-certified case manager. While working for Crawford & Company she was awarded the Crawford US Quality Award for her work with workers with catastrophic injuries. In 2009, she founded Guardian Medical Consulting, LLC, a case management and medical-legal consulting services firm in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. She was nominated by Martha Herron, an Occupational Health Nurse with Nucor Memphis, a client of Mrs. Vincent. Ms. Herron said in her nomination, “Shirley understands the needs of injured workers, and how important it is to collaborate with the injured worker, medical team, and the employer to have the best outcome for all involved so the injured worker can return to work.”
Mr. Hill is a partner at Mainer & Herod. He has played a significant role in the development of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation law. He was appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander to a legislative study committee in 1985. Six years later, Governor Ned McWherter asked a group of stakeholders that included Mr. Hill to meet to discuss ways to address inconsistencies in awards. Subsequent to these meeting Mr. Hill drafted legislation that came to known as the Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 1992 and provided a well-defined range within which an award must fall based on established criteria and established the first steps in establishing a system for alternative dispute resolution. He was the Executive Director of the Tennessee Self-Insurers' Association from 2006 to 2013.
This Page Last Updated: August 19, 2022 at 2:20 PM