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Conference presenters

Andy Rohner, Senior Safety Management Consultant, SAIF Corporation
Andy Rohner

Andy Rohner has 10 years of experience serving a wide variety of industries and operations. As a safety management consultant he partners with organizations to help transform operations in a broad scope of safety and health programs, procedures, and cultures. SAIF Corporation’s goal is to reduce injuries and improve organizational safety, working toward SAIF’s larger mission to make Oregon the safest and healthiest state.

Autumn Blake, Communications Coordinator, Communications, Workers’ Compensation Division
Auntumn Blake

Autumn Blake has been the Workers’ Compensation Division’s communications coordinator since May, 2022. Before joining WCD, Blake was a paralegal and transcription coordinator for the Workers’ Compensation Board for several years. She served on the Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council from 2021 to 2023. Blake has a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from the University of Oregon. She also enjoys volunteering at the Salem Public Library.

Barbra Anderson, Ombuds for Oregon Workers, Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers

Barbra Anderson was appointed to the role of ombuds for Oregon workers in January, 2023. Before this promotion, Anderson worked for the Workers’ Compensation Division as the Employment Services Team manager. She has been in the workers’ compensation industry since February, 1999, serving in many different roles. Anderson loves that her and her team are committed to helping people. In fact, Anderson loves helping people so much, she also works at a retirement facility as a caregiver a few evenings a week. When Anderson is not working, she loves spending time with her family, including her four dogs, while enjoying countless activities in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Bob Hamre, Senior Field Investigator, Employer Compliance Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Bob Hamre

Bob Hamre has been a professional investigator for 42 years. He began in the private sector with his own company for 16 years and has spent the majority of the remaining time with Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Division. He is the senior field investigator in the Employer Compliance Unit. Hamre is married with three grown children, who all might someday actually be moved out of the house at the same time. He enjoys nearly every outdoor activity, and enjoys nearly every indoor activity while outdoors.

Caitlin Breitbach, Small Business Ombudsman, Small Business Ombudsman Office

Caitlin Breitbach has worked as the small business ombudsman since March 1, and previously was the small business ombudsman and reemployment assistant on the Employment Services Team (EST) in WCD since 2019. Before her appointment, she worked at the Building Codes Division as a policy analyst and training coordinator for two years, and at the Department of Administrative Services as a policy analyst specializing in performance metrics for three years. Before beginning her career in state government, Breitbach was a manager for a small family owned restaurant for eight years. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in human resources, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

Cathy Ostrand-Ponsioen, Legal Issues Coordinator, Policy, Workers’ Compensation Division
Cathy Ostrand-Ponsioen

Cathy Ostrand-Ponsioen is the legal issues coordinator for the Workers’ Compensation Division. Ostrand-Ponsioen joined the division’s Policy Team in 2000 and has held various positions, including rules coordinator, policy analyst, and manager. She is a graduate of Western Washington University and Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children and her dogs.

Christy Johnson, Reemployment Specialist, Preferred Worker Program, Workers’ Compensation Division

Christy Johnson is a reemployment specialist with the Employment Services Team within the Workers’ Compensation Division. She provides technical direction to Oregon’s injured workers and their employers. She spends her day answering questions on the phone and determining worker eligibility for program and process contracts. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in liberal studies from Eastern Oregon State University. Johnson has an extensive knowledge of the Workers’ Compensation Division. She started her career in the mailroom and was quickly promoted to the support unit of the Appellate Review Unit. After a short time, she was promoted and became a benefit consultant, where she became a certified claims examiner. After a year and a half she was promoted into the Preferred Worker Program within the Employment Services Team, where she plans to remain.

Craig Hamelund, Education Specialist, Oregon OSHA
Craig Hamelund

Craig graduated in 1993 from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and environmental health management. Before moving to Oregon, Craig performed industrial hygiene work for a Michigan consulting firm and was a safety compliance officer with South Carolina OSHA. He began his career with Oregon OSHA in 1995 as a safety compliance officer in Medford. In 1998, Craig joined Oregon OSHA’s Public Education Section conducting safety and health workshops and training sessions for Oregon’s employers and employees. Craig became Oregon OSHA’s internal training specialist in 2006 providing safety and health training to all Oregon OSHA staff members.

Dan Schmelling, Claims Supervisor, SAIF Corporation

Dan Schmelling is a claims supervisor for SAIF Corporation. He has been with SAIF in his current position for more than seven years. Dan has spent almost 30 years in the workers’ compensation industry working for a variety of employers.

Donita White, Reimbursement Specialist, Self-Insurance, Registration, and Reimbursements, Workers’ Compensation Division
Donita White

Donita White has been with the Workers’ Compensation Division for more than 23 years. She has been a reimbursement specialist for two years; and was an auditor for several years, auditing the Employer-at-Injury Program (EAIP) and other claims processing audits. The reimbursement team reviews EAIP reimbursement requests to ensure they meet reimbursement requirements. The reimbursement team also reviews reimbursement requests for the Retroactive Program, the Reemployment Assistance Program, the Reopened Claims Program, the Second Injury Program, and Social Security Offsets. White enjoys spending time with her family, traveling with her husband, gardening, and spending time with her dog.

Heather Williamson, Modernization Program Manager, Workers’ Compensation Division
Heather Williamson

Heather Williamson is the Modernization Program manager for the Workers’ Compensation Division. The Modernization Program was created to provide strategic leadership and oversight into process, system, and application improvements. Williamson started in this role on April 1, 2021, and has been hard at work learning about all of the great work performed by the division and putting together the overall program plan and related documentation. Before her work with the Modernization Program, Williamson was a deputy division director and claims electronic data interchange coordinator for the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and spent 10 years as a workers’ compensation insurance defense paralegal.

Heidi Havercroft, Senior Staff Attorney, Workers' Compensation Board
Heidi Havercroft

Heidi Havercroft was promoted to senior staff attorney with the Workers’ Compensation Board in August, 2019. She was initially hired as a staff attorney with the board in 2015. Before that, Havercroft was a defense litigator and special assistant attorney general for the SAIF Corporation, after completing a legal internship with SAIF during law school. Havercroft also served as an extern for the Honorable Virginia L. Linder at the Oregon Supreme Court. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and humanities from the University of Oregon and a Juris Doctor from the Willamette University College of Law, cum laude. Havercroft serves as a member of the executive committee of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Oregon State Bar, as well as a board member for Neighbor-to-Neighbor LLC, which provides community mediation services in Marion, Linn, Benton, and Yamhill counties.

Jaylee Hlad-Mosgrove, Chief Assistant Ombuds, Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers
Jaylee Hlad-Mosgroce

Jaylee Hlad-Mosgrove is the chief assistant ombuds for the Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers. She serves as an advocate for workers and has been with the office since 2005. Hlad-Mosgrove first started with the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) in 1990, before it became part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) in 1993. She has served as an office specialist, medical reviewer, and benefit consultant. Before coming to WCD and DCBS, she was a legal assistant for the special trial counsel at the Department of Justice.

Jonathan M. Kirsch, PT, DPT, CMPT, ATI Physical Therapy
Jonathan Kirsch

Jonathan Kirsch has been a physical therapist for more than 10 years, three of them working exclusively with the worker’s compensation population. Kirsch has a Bachelor of Science in biology, a Bachelor of Science in health sciences, and a doctorate of physical therapy, all from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also is enrolled at Penn State University and will receive his Master of Business Administration in Spring 2025. Kirsch has been in an administrative role for the past two years overseeing out-patient physical therapy for ATI Physical Therapy in Oregon and Southwest Washington. He sits on the advisory board for the Mt. Hood Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Julie Stratton, Benefit Consultant, Benefit Consultation Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Julie Stratton

With five years of experience in the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD), Julie Stratton has been dedicated to connecting people with the assistance they need in challenging situations. Currently serving as a benefit consultant, Stratton fields inquiries from injured workers, medical providers, attorneys, employers, and government agencies, applying her knowledge of workers' compensation laws and rules. Before joining WCD, Stratton spent several years as a nonprofit program coordinator, shaping programs and enhancing access to services. Her passion lies in ensuring all stakeholders in the workers’ compensation industry feel heard and understood.

Kate Suisman, Attorney, Northwest Workers' Justice Project
Katie Suisman

Kate Suisman is an attorney at the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project (NWJP) in Portland, Oregon, where she represents workers in employment cases with a focus on injured worker retaliation. She also coordinates two policy groups: the Oregon Coalition to Stop Wage Theft and Safe Jobs Oregon, which focuses on worker safety. She founded and is on the steering committee of the National Coalition for Worker Justice, which advocates to federal worker enforcement agencies about low-wage work issues. Before joining NWJP, Suisman worked to fight wage theft within the day-labor community at the Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project in Portland. Suisman has served as a law clerk in a trial court in Manhattan and chief of staff to a New York City council member.

Suisman has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Reed College and a Juris Doctor from the City University of New York’s Public Interest Law School.

Katia Costa-Black, PhD, Senior Manager for Education and Partnerships, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
Katia Costa-Black

With a dual clinical (Bachelor of Science in physical therapy) and engineering (Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in industrial engineering/ergonomics) background, Katia Costa-Black has supported many organizations in the implementation of several types of prevention programs —whether focused on ergonomics, OSHA compliance, or managing illnesses, injuries, disabilities, and presenteeism in the workplace. Over the last six years, she has been an active advocate for the application of the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health’s Total Worker Health approach vis-à-vis her educational activities and consulting practice. Currently, she is the senior manager for education and partnerships at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University.

Keith Johnson, Claims Trainer, Claim Records, Workers’ Compensation Division

Keith Johnson is the Workers’ Compensation Division’s claims coding trainer. Every day, Johnson gets to work within the claims unit to ensure quality is met for claims entry and processing. He also reviews submitted forms to make sure they’ve been filled out correctly. Johnson enjoys the ability to problem solve in his role. Johnson also likes helping people better navigate the workers’ compensation system. Away from work, Johnson loves to play with his dogs, spend sunny days out on the dunes, and relax while playing his guitar.

Keith Semple, Attorney, Johnson, Johnson, Lucas, & Middleton

Keith Semple is an attorney with Johnson, Johnson, Lucas & Middleton P.C., in Eugene, Oregon. He has represented injured workers since 2003. Semple was the 2020 recipient of the Douglas Swanson Outstanding Workers’ Compensation Attorney Award from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and the 2021 recipient of the Professionalism Award from the Oregon State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section. Semple frequently advocates for injured workers in legislative and administrative rulemaking proceedings, and is a regular speaker at continuing legal education events.

Lauren Eldridge, Interim Managing Attorney, Workers' Compensation Board
Lauren Eldridge

Lauren Eldridge was appointed as interim managing attorney at the Workers’ Compensation Board in August, 2023. She joined the board as a staff attorney in 2016 and served as a senior staff attorney from 2018 to 2023. Before joining the board, Eldridge worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Jack L. Landau at the Oregon Supreme Court. Lauren earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Portland State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon, where she graduated Order of the Coif.

Lauren Oda, Attorney, SBH Legal
Lauren Oda

Lauren Oda joined SBH Legal in 2011 as an associate attorney and became a partner in 2020. She represents Oregon and Washington employers and insurers in workers’ compensation and related employment matters. Oda works closely with claims adjusters, risk managers, and workers’ compensation managers to facilitate the best outcome in difficult workers’ compensation claims. Oda works with each client to tailor her legal work to match both the unique case and the needs of the client.

Before joining SBH Legal, Oda practiced criminal defense and plaintiff-side personal injury law in Oregon, where she handled numerous jury and bench trials through verdict. While in law school at Willamette University, Oda gained extensive litigation experience during clerkships with the Marion County District Attorney’s Office and a private criminal defense firm. In her spare time, Oda enjoys golfing, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons.

Lin Allen, Sanctions Representative, Sanctions, Workers’ Compensation Division
Lin Allen

Lin Allen has been with the Workers’ Compensation Division for 13 years. She has been a sanctions representative for seven years, and before that was a self-insurance auditor. She enjoys the variety of work her job provides, which includes reviewing a wide range of issues having to do with workers’ compensations laws and rules. Outside of work, Allen enjoys gardening, feeding and watching birds, cooking, and volunteering at her church.

Liz Hill, MPH, CIH, CSP, Total Worker Health Adviser, SAIF Corporation
Liz Hill

Liz Hill is the Total Worker Health adviser for SAIF Corporation. Liz has more than 25 years of experience in professional health and safety and spent a short stint doing global health work. Before working at SAIF, Hill worked in a variety of industries from oil and gas to higher education. Hill has a Bachelor of Science in industrial hygiene and a master’s degree in public health. She holds designations as a certified industrial hygienist and a certified safety professional. She is a communications liaison and past chairperson of the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s (AIHA) Total Worker Health Advisory Group. In 2022, she received a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Star Partner award.

Matt West, Interim Administrator, Workers’ Compensation Division
Matt West

Matt West was appointed the Workers' Compensation Division (WCD) interim administrator in January, 2024. West began his career with WCD as a bilingual benefit consultant in 2003. West continued to provide assistance to injured workers throughout Oregon as he progressed within the WCD Employment Services Team, including serving as the unit manager for several years, the WCD Resolution Section manager, and most recently the division’s deputy administrator. Before joining the Workers’ Compensation Division, West spent five years in Mexico teaching English. He has a degree in social science from Portland State University.

Mikaela Polk, Field Investigator, Employer Compliance Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Mikaela Polk

Mikaela Polk is a workers’ compensation field investigator with the Workers’ Compensation Division. She travels the state investigating workers’ compensation claims and employer compliance. Polk’s past compliance experience entails working as a workers’ compensation auditor, a workers’ compensation coverage investigator, and a wage and hour investigator. Polk is passionate about workers’ compensation compliance and outreach, and uses her experience and knowledge to educate and assist Oregon employers to come into and remain in compliance with Oregon law. Polk has a master’s degree in teaching from Western Oregon University, and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and business administration.

Nicholas Ring, Medical Reviewer, Medical Resolution, Workers’ Compensation Division
Nick Ring

Nicholas Ring has been at the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) for 11 years and is a medical reviewer with the Medical Resolution Team (MRT). Prior to working at DCBS, he was a practicing chiropractic physician for six years in multidiscipline pain clinics holding a Doctor of Chiropractic. He enjoys working in MRT because it allows him to assist with all types of disputes, including administrative orders and negotiations or mediations. Ring is the father of two children and married to his wife, Colette. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer, exercising, and being outdoors.

Olivia Brookman, Claims Research Specialist, Claim Records, Workers’ Compensation Division
Olivia Brookman

Olivia Brookman has worked at the Department of Consumer and Business Services for eight years. She spent her first two years at the Central Services Division and has been with the Workers’ Compensation Division for six years. Brookman’s work includes training internal and external stakeholders, solving complex claim issues, and providing support to her team. She enjoys being able to help people in need and problem solving on a daily basis. Brookman is the mother to three children and has been married to her husband, Jon, for four years. She loves spending time outdoors hiking, fishing, and camping. If she has to be inside, she prefers a good book and a warm blanket.

Raquel Cancino, Benefit Consultant, Benefit Consultation Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Raquel Cancino

Raquel Cancino has been with the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) for two years and is a benefit consultant with the Employment Services Team. Before starting with WCD, Cancino was an outreach coordinator for the Salem-Keizer School District for more than 24 years. Cancino’s favorite part of her job is providing answers and information to those inquiring about the workers’ compensation process. In her free time she enjoys working in her garden and preserving and canning her homemade salsas and jams.

Sara Claessens, Appellate Review Specialist, Appellate Review Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Sara Claessens

Sara Claessens joined the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) in September, 2018 as an appellate review specialist with the Appellate Review Unit. Before joining WCD, Claessens worked in private practice as an attorney and had previously worked at Legal Aid. Claessens graduated in 2013 from Willamette University College of Law. She lives in Salem with her family.

Sara Kessler, Auditor, Audit Unit, Workers’ Compensation Division
Sara Kessler

Sara Kessler began working as an auditor with the Workers’ Compensation Division in June, 2018. Kessler has been with the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) since July, 2006, where she also worked for the Workers’ Compensation Board and as a safety and risk specialist with DCBS’s Employee Services. Kessler has a bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University.

Sydney Montanaro, Attorney, Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost
Sydney Montanaro

Sydney Montanaro is a partner at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost and her practice largely focuses on representing injured workers in all aspects of workers’ compensation claims, from denied claims to helping clients access needed benefits for accepted claims. She also handles cases involving on-the-job injuries with third parties and other injury claims. She is honored to help her clients through a complicated claims process.

Tim Kessel, Worksite Modification Consultant, Preferred Worker Program, Workers’ Compensation Division
Tim Kessel

Tim Kessel is a worksite modification consultant for the Preferred Worker Program (PWP). He also specializes in the Employer-at-Injury Program. Kessel has been at the Workers’ Compensation Division for 30 years in a variety of roles. Kessel began with PWP as a reemployment specialist in 1994, then became a worksite modification consultant in December 2005. Kessel enjoys traveling around the state to help injured workers return to the workforce. In his free time, Kessel loves to golf and spend time with his grandsons.

Toni King-Byous, CDP, DIP, LSSGB, DEI Business Partner, SAIF Corporation
Toni King

Toni King-Byous is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) business partner at SAIF Corporation. She is mission-driven to build intentional, authentic spaces for employees to actively engage and learn from each other to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. She is well-versed in the core to advanced elements of Lean Six Sigma Methodology, which focuses on using a collaborative team effort to improve performance and outcomes by systematically removing waste. She has successfully led process improvement projects focusing on a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement and valuing issue prevention over issue detection principles.

King-Byous earned a Bachelor of Science in public administration from the University of LaVerne. She is Leader Factor-certified to deliver the four stages of psychological safety training and holds a National Association of Safety Professionals Human Organizational Performance certification.

She and her husband enjoy mentoring and developing youth in their Salem, Oregon, faith-based community.

Zoe Tacadena, Reemployment Specialist, Preferred Worker Program, Workers’ Compensation Division
Zoe Tacadena

Zoe Tacadena has worked for the Workers’ Compensation Division for three years where she has held a few different positions. Tacadena has worked as a benefit consultant where she acted as a liaison between the public and the agency, corporations, businesses, and other entities to clarify issues and resolve disputes. She also educated injured workers on their right to file a workers’ compensation claim and other questions that might arise during the claims process. Tacadena now works for the Preferred Worker Program and helps administer program benefits to help remove barriers to employment for Oregon workers.

800-452-0288 (toll-free)
Jennifer Hlad: 971-719-6023

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