Hello Dave.

By: Yvonne Guibert

I sure miss talking to you. In my twenty-five plus years in the workers comp industry, you were by far one of the greatest bosses I ever had. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few great bosses. I miss our frequent chats. And I miss your quirkiness. You took “goofball” to an entirely new level. You challenged me. You, like other great bosses I had, found out early on that all you needed to do was present me with a good challenge and I would rise to the occasion. I do love to be challenged. I also love to figure things out. So did you. We didn’t agree on everything, but it was so much fun to engage with you in an argument. We agreed that healthy debate is something we feared will soon be a thing of the past. Such a shame. It’s so much fun!

I could go on listing out all the things I miss about you, but I’ll save a few for another day. Right now, I wish I could see the look on your face. Wherever you are, I’m sure you are grinning that goofy grin of yours. So many things we discussed are coming together, just the way you imagined…

Fresh Website Look. The news page got that facelift earlier this year. You were so giddy and excited when you saw the first stages of the new look last summer.

Your blog. Everyone misses your voice, your blog. There’s no way we could ever replace your voice.  But I hope you are proud that a new blog has been launched at WorkCompCentral and we have many industry friends and colleagues eager to contribute. Many are working to keep up with your style to discuss topics that aren’t necessarily popular. Isn’t that cool?

Volunteering. Kristen and I arrived early at WCI360 in Orlando this year to participate in a really cool volunteering event called Give Kids the World VillageIt is a non-profit resort in Central Florida that brings kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families to enjoy the magic of Disney and helps them create special memories. I know you would have enjoyed it. Kristen and I got easy jobs indoors making holiday props for the kids. You would have been outside in the sweltering heat, rolling around in the dirt to do a harder job like building a fence, pouring a new sidewalk or planting shrubs around the property. It was an amazing experience. Over 700 volunteers, representing 109 companies, 15 service projects completed, 25,000 man hours and $50,000 raised! Tammy Boyd of NeuroInternational recruited us to be on her team. We hope to continue volunteering for projects that are meaningful and connected to the industry. Kristen volunteers with Kids Chance of California and I am an ambassador for the Alliance of Women in Workers Compensation. Representing on both sides of the country! Sorry, neither one of us has had the time to take up flying lessons to continue your Angel Flight West missions that you enjoyed so much. Maybe we’ll tackle that next year.

Seminars outside California. We discussed this when I first met you in 2014. WorkCompCentral will host its first live educational events outside California in 2018! We did a splash announcement about this at the WCI360 conference earlier this month letting folks know we will bring events to Florida, Texas and New Jersey. We received so much interest. Vicki joined Kristen and I to help with our exhibit booth in Orlando and she did an amazing job!

Comp Laude. So many people are talking about this year’s Comp Laude® Awards & Gala. Folks are excited that it has been moved to San Diego. Advisory committee members and staff have been working hard to disseminate the nominations we received. This week we will hand off the group of finalists to the Judging Committee for final judging to determine the 2017 winners! Mark Pew of PRIUM and Kristen will co-emcee the event. We have a great lineup of sessions with folks coming from all over the country to participate! Robert Rassp and Judge David Pollak are presenting a condensed version of “Conversations about Comp.” They have lined up an impressive panel of speakers to give the audience an inside look of the many nuances of a workers comp claim as they discuss two hypothetical scenarios. Kimberly George and Mark Walls of Out Front Ideas will emcee the presentation of awards this year, overlooking beautiful San Diego Bay. And we are currently taking submissions for the People’s Choice Awards, powered this year by Gallagher Bassett. Wow! So exciting!

I do wish you were here to participate in all of the buzz and excitement. I hope you are proud of what you started. WorkCompCentral continues to grow and become stronger. So does the concept of Comp Laude®. The crazy ideas you dreamed up, the passion you shared, the challenge to make them become a reality and your desire to change the way people view our industry. All because of you!

But wait...I’m not letting you off the hook dude...it hasn’t been so easy getting through this last year without you. What the hell were you thinking? <Heavy Sigh>. We all miss you terribly. Still. It has been really difficult at times. Each event where you were a regular speaker gets a little easier to handle, yet it still stings hard when we come across someone we haven’t seen over the last year, offering up their condolences. We hear on a regular basis, “How is Anne holding up?”, or “How are you doing?”, or “How is WorkCompCentral doing?”, or “Now that Dave is gone, who’s running the show? WorkCompCentral IS David DePaolo.”

<Heavy Sigh.> At times I think these questions are insensitive. I mean, really? Does anyone expect that we might say, “Yeah, we’re all doing great!” or “Well, Dave is gone, so we might as well just pack up our things and go home now.” I have to remind myself that everyone handles loss in a different way. We all have to process it. Move through it. It’s hard to know the right thing to say in situations like this. The bottom line is...you left a huge void, man. We are working every day to fill your soulful shoes (pun intended) and keep your legacy going strong. What keeps me going? I continue to think of you as you were...bigger than life. What would you do? What would you say? I know you are with us in spirit. Your vision and your passion continues to drive me on a daily basis, as I’m sure it is with the entire WorkCompCentral team. I’m so grateful that you shared your ideas with me. Thanks for the chats Dave. Until next time...


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