Conference Presenters

Saul Allweiss has been involved in the California Workers’ Compensation community for over thirty years. He has worked as an examiner, supervisor and hearing representative and since 1993 has worked as an attorney. Saul received his BA from the University of Illinois and his JD from the University of Laverne. Saul has his own defense practice in the San Fernando Valley.

Lyn Asio-Booz is the Chief of the Office of Self-Insurance Plans. She joined the Office of Self-Insurance Plans in July 2008 as the Northern California Audit Supervisor. Prior to that, she was an auditor for the DWC’s Audit Unit from 2004 through 2008. She also worked for the Uninsured Benefit Trust Fund for 10 years. She received an award for DWC Outstanding Employee of the Year in 1998, and for UEF Employee of the Year in 2000. She studied Molecular Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley from 1985 to 1990.

Annalisa J. Becker has been with the Division of Workers’ Compensation for 36 years. She has been a Permanent Disability Evaluator with the Disability Evaluation Unit since 1988 and appointed to the position of Northern California Area Supervisor in 2004.

David Bellusci graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA and MA degrees. He began with Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau in 1989 where he is a Senior Vice-President and Chief Actuary. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Colleen Casey has a BA degree from the University California Berkeley and JD from Golden Gate University. Her career in workers’ compensation began in 1995 as a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Commissioner. In 2002, she entered private practice and returned to the state in 2004 as a Workers’ Compensation Judge in San Francisco. She was name Barrister of the year in 1989 by the San Francisco Bar Association.

Michael Cole received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Washington. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1984 and is currently a workers’ compensation administrative law judge at the Van Nuys District Office of the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Raymond F. Correio is a senior associate with the defense firm of Pearlman, Borska & Wax. Before joining the firm, Ray was a workers’ compensation judge assigned to both the Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey district offices for approximately twelve years. He was name defense attorney of the year by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the State Bar in 2013 and is often use as a speaker at various workers’ compensation forums.

John Cortes has a BA and JD from the University of California, Davis. He started his legal career in private practice before beginning his workers’ compensation career with State Compensation Insurance Fund as a subrogation attorney from 2001 to 2012. He transferred to the DIR/DWC as an Industrial Relations Counsel in the Spring of 2012.

Genet Daba received her MA Degree in Demography from Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. She worked as an Associate Expert in Demography for the United Nations and Analyst for the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population in Belgium. She joined the Division of Workers’ Compensation in 2000 and worked in the Managed Care Unit, Medical Unit and now the Research Unit.

Rupali Das, MD is the California Medical Director and a senior vice-president with Zenith. From 1998 to 2014, she had executive medical director positions with the State of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation and Department of Public Health. Dr. Das attended medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago and has a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley. She is board certified in both internal and occupational medicine.

Jill Dulich received her BS and MA from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and her JD from Western State University College of Law. After retiring from 32-year career at Marriott where she was Senior Director for Claims Services managing operations in 8 states, she was appointed Claims and Operations Manager for the California Self-Insurers’ Security Fund in 2015. Jill was the Chairperson for CHSWC in 2003 and has been involved as an officer or participant in of several national workers’ comp committees.

Steven D. Feinberg, MD is a native of New York City and received his BA and MPH from UCLA, his MD from UC Irvine, and his MS in rehabilitation Medicine from the University of Washington. He is often used as an AME from his Palo Alto medical practice. He has received numerous professional awards, is the member of many medical societies and committees, and is the author or co-author of many publications.

Christina Fenimore has a BA and MPA from Cal State Northridge. She has worked for State Fund, the Department of Insurance and DWC in underwriting, marketing, and audit roles since 1989. She was appointed Supervisor of the Audit Unit in 2016 and is pursuing her CPCU designation.

Constantine Gean, MD is Board Certified in Occupational Medicine, is on voluntary faculty in the Department of Medicine at UC Irvine and is a Regional Medical Director for Liberty Mutual. He is the lead author of The Pocket Drug Guide and The Index of Prescription Drugs, is Chair of the ACOEM Council on Education and Academic Affairs and is a past president of the Western Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association (WOEMA).

William Gunn received his B.A. from California State University in Fresno and J.D. from San Joaquin College of Law. Admitted to the State Bar in 1991, he is the Presiding Judge of the Division’s Special Anti-Fraud Support Unit.

Terri Harrison is the Director of Workers’ Compensation for the California Insurance Guarantee Association. She has been with CIGA since 1993 and was an assistant claims manager for Alexisis Risk Management prior to that. A graduate of the University of Phoenix, Terri is an active in the Girl Scouts of American and American Youth Soccer Organization.

Joel Harter is Presiding Workers’ Compensation Judge of the Sacramento District Office. He received his JD from Santa Clara University and was an applicant attorney before the WCAB and the federal Office of Hearings and Appeals. His State career began in 1990 as a counsel for the reconsideration Unit which led to subsequent promotions as a settlement referee, judge, presiding judge, and Acting Associate Chief Judge over the Northern California district offices.

Alan Hersh is a staff counsel with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.   Before joining DWC, he was judge with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and had extensive experience as an attorney for public entities. He is a contributing author to California Public Sector Employment Law and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Mark Kahn graduated from Cal State Northridge (BA) and Southwestern Law School (JD). He began his workers’ compensation career as a State Fund attorney in 1978. He has been a DWC Workers’ Compensation Judge (1981), Presiding Judge (1988), Assistant Chief (1992-1995), and Associate Chief Judge. Mark retired from the bench in 2012 and now works for Altman, Lunche & Blitstein.

Shaddi Kamiabipour received her JD from Southwestern SOL and joined the Orange County District Attorney's office in 2000. She successfully tried and convicted Michael Petronella for committing workers' compensation premium fraud in a multi-million dollar loss case. Ms. Kamiabipour has since prosecuted over 50 defendants for committing over $490 million in insurance fraud. She has won many law enforcement and prosecution awards, is a speaker state and national conferences, and conducts training to spot the warnings signs of a medical scam.

Mi Kim received her BA from the University of Southern Mississippi and JD from the University of Miami SOL. She practices labor and employment law with the Department of Industrial Relations specializing in anti-fraud matters.

Barry Knight has been the Disability Unit Manager since 2010. He began his insurance career as a commercial lines underwriter and claims adjuster for SCIF. Barry joined the Disability Evaluation Unit in 1990 working at the Fresno and Bakersfield district offices. He is a graduate from Fresno State with a degree in business administration.

Roman Kownacki received his MD from Hahnemann University School of Medicine and his MPH from UCLA. He is the Medical Director for Occupational Health Services for Kaiser Permanente Northern California is the past president of the Western Occupational and Environmental Association.

Eric Ledger is a Workers’ Compensation Judge at the Oakland District Office. Prior to becoming a judge, he worked as Industrial Relations Counsel with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board Office of the Commissioners. Before working for the Appeals Board, Mr. Ledger worked as an applicant's attorney in Sacramento. He is currently the vice-chair of the State Bar of California Workers' Compensation Executive Committee for which he also co-chairs the education sub-committee.

Paige Levy is the Chief Judge of the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Prior to this appointment she was a Workers’ Compensation Judge (2005) and Presiding Judge (2012) at the Marina Del Rey district office. Before taking the bench Paige was the managing partner of Levy & Associates representing employers and carriers. She has her BA from San Diego State University and JD from Whittier Law School, with honors, and was admitted to the bar the same year (1994).

Lauren Mayfield is the Safety and Health Services Manager for State Compensation Insurance Fund, responsible for the administration of loss prevention services to State Fund’s policyholders. She has 34 years of insurance industry experience, 22 of which in the occupational safety and health field. She holds an Associate in Risk Management designation and is a Certified Safety Professional.

W. Kearse McGill graduated from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1991. For ten years, Judge McGill worked as both applicant counsel and defense counsel before becoming a workers’ compensation judge at the WCAB Stockton District Office on May 2, 2005.  In 2015, Judge McGill was appointed by the California Supreme Court as a trial judge to the California State Bar Court, the nation’s only full-time trial and appellate court system that exclusively handles attorney discipline cases. In 2016, Judge McGill was elevated to the position of appellate judge by the California Supreme Court. In addition to his work as a judge, Judge McGill is also an adjunct professor of law at Humphrey’s College, Laurence Drivon School of Law. He is also an advisor to the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee for the State Bar of California.

Raymond K. Meister, MD is a graduate of Cal State Sacramento (BA) and USC (MD). He has been associated with UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine as an instructor or professor since 1996 and was the Interim Medical Director of San Francisco General’s Occupational Health Service from 2011 to 2014. In 2014, he was appointed as the Associate Medical Director and in 2016 was named the Executive Medical Director of DWC’s Medical Unit.

Monserrat R. Morita is the Southern California Supervisor for the Audit Unit. A graduate of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, her state career began in 2001 at State Compensation Insurance Fund as a Claims Adjuster. She transferred to the Audit Unit in June 2006.

George Parisotto is the Administrative Director for the Division of Workers’ Compensation. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. George joined DWC as a staff counsel in 1998, and later rejoined the Division in 2007 after spending several years in Seattle, Washington, with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

Mark Pew is a Senior Vice President at Prium. He is an expert in workers’ compensation medical management, with a focus on prescription drug management. Areas of expertise include: abuse and misuse of opioids and other prescription drugs; managing prescription drug utilization and cost; and best practices for weaning people off dangerous drug regimens.

Mark Priven has successfully transitioned from high school nerd, to college geek, to actuary. He has worked as an actuary for 20 years, the last 15 with Bickmore, in which he has helped public and private self-insurers quantify and analyze their risk. He is on the WCIRB actuarial committee, a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, past-president of Casualty Actuaries of the Bay Area and has testified many times before committees in Sacramento.

Pamela Pulley graduated from Northwestern University in 1987 with dual BA degrees and earned a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1990.  She practiced law from 1990 until 2005 , representing workers' compensation applicants, insurance carriers and social security disability claimants. She became a Workers' Compensation Judge in Long Beach in 2005 and Presiding Judge in Santa Ana in 2015.

Robert Rassp graduated from UC Irvine with two undergraduate degrees and from Loyola Law School.  He has practiced workers’ compensation and social security disability law since 1981 and is the principal of his own law firm.  Mr. Rassp is also the chair of the Friends Research Institute’s Institutional review Board. He has been on the executive committee of the State Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Law Section (1998) and was the committee chair in 2000-2001.

Jose Razo was confirmed as a Commissioner to the WCAB in 2016. He received his BA from Stanford and JD from the University of San Diego SOL. Jose has 34 years of experience in workers’ compensation as an applicant’s attorney and defense counsel (Laughlin, Falbo, Levy, & Moresi). He is an arbitrator for the San Mateo County Bar and served in Small Claim Court and Municipal Court in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. His son Orlando was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2017.

Jacqueline Schauer is a graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law. She has been employed as legal counsel in the Department of Industrial Relations’ Office of the Director – Legal Unit from 1984-1991 and the Division of Workers’ Compensation Legal Unit since 1991.

Anne Schmitz joined the WCAB Office of Commissioners in 2010 and is a Deputy Commissioner. She was a claims adjuster, defense attorney, applicant’s attorney, and pro tem judge in the Bay Area. Anne received her undergraduate degree from UC Davis and her JD from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1993.

Lucy Shannon drives the content research and development behind Reed Group’s web-based, health and productivity website, MDGuidelines®. She is responsible for content initiatives within the Guidelines business, including integration of data and content on occupational health, clinical practice guidelines, disability duration guidelines, medical and statutory return-to-work considerations, and predictive and preventive recommendations. Ms. Shannon has 17 years of experience with Reed Group and holds a B.S. from the University of Oregon.

Glenn Shor is currently Policy Advisor to the Director, Department of Industrial Relations. From 2010 to 2012, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, in Washington DC. He has served in several managerial/executive positions with DWC including Project Manager, Chief of Policy and Legislation, and acting Research Manager. He is an affiliated researcher and lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where he teaches a course on injury prevention and control. Glenn has a PhD and MA in Public Policy (MPP) from the Graduate School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, and a BA from University of Pennsylvania.

Steven Siemers graduated from California State University at Chico and New College of California school of Law. Admitted to the State Bar in 1980, he is a former Chief Judge at the Division of Workers’ Compensation, he is the principal of Steven Siemers Dispute Resolution, LLC specializing in mediation and arbitration primarily in the field of workers’ compensation.

Mark Skarakis is a graduate of San Diego State University. His state service began as an EDD hearing representative. His DWC career has included stints as a UEF claims adjuster (1996-1998), Audit Unit compliance officer (1998-2002), SCIF adjuster (2002-2004), before rejoining the Audit Unit in 2004 where he currently works.

Jamie Spitzer is the Presiding Judge of the Anaheim Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. She was a judge at this office from 2005 to 2012. Jaime’s law career began in 1992 where she was an attorney and later partner with Ufkes, Bright & Spitzer. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, she earned her law degree at Whittier College.

Cassandra Stajduhar has been a Workers’ Compensation Judge since February 2012. She received her JD from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Prior to becoming a WCJ, she was an attorney with the Department of Industrial Relations, Office of the Director, Legal Unit where she represented the Director in civil litigation and personnel matters and also represented the Director as Trustee of the Uninsured Employers Fund and the Subsequent Injury Fund. Before going to work for the state, Judge Stajduhar was in private practice representing health care facilities and providers in transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters.

River Sung works for the Division of Workers’ Compensation as staff counsel. Her experience as a workers’ compensation attorney began in 2012. Prior to that, River worked as a healthcare attorney for four years in both the private and public sectors. She is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting with her kids, re-reading Pride and Prejudice (in theory), and trying out recipes on her newly-acquired bread machine.

Alex Swedlow is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. He joined CWCI in 2000 as the executive vice president of research and is the author of many articles on workers’ compensation.

Marguerite Sweeney received a J.D. from Hastings Law School in 1978 and represented injured workers in northern California until 2012, when Governor Brown appointed her to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. In 2007 she was honored by the State Bar Workers Compensation Section as Applicant Attorney of the Year.

Peggy Thill graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA in Liberal Studies. She worked at State Fund for 26.5 years -14 as an adjuster, 8 years as a supervisor in the claims department and 4.5 years in the corporate claims department - the last 3 as the Claims Operations Manager. She came over to the Audit Unit as the northern supervisor in August 2015. Peggy became the Audit Manager in 2017.

Katherine Zalewski became the Chair on the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Ms. Zalewski served on the board since her appointment by Governor Brown on April 30, 2014. Prior to her appointment, she was Chief Counsel for the Department of Industrial Relations and a Special Advisor for the DWC Administrative Director. She was a defense attorney for over 20 years and a Workers’ Compensation Judge in the San Francisco District Office. Ms. Zalewski received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her JD from Hastings College of the Law.

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January 2018