2013 Accomplishments

2012 Accomplishments

2011 Accomplishments

2010 Accomplishments

2009 Accomplishments

2008 Accomplishments

2007 Accomplishments

TNSIA Bylaws


Tennessee Self-Insurers' Association
PO Box 158341
Nashville TN 37215


TNSIA Board Members

Jill Tal

Jill is the owner and president of Talbert Government Relations LLC in Nashville. Since starting the firm in 2012, she has represented various clients in the state legislative, executive and regulatory arenas. Prior to starting her own firm, she worked for the Tennessee Hospital Association for four years as the Assistant Vice President Advocacy and Grassroots/ Regulatory Attorney. Jill also worked for the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, as their Policy and Training Director for three years. Jill’s education includes a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She was appointed to serve as the Executive Director for TNSIA in 2014.


Gary Eastes

Gary Eastes is currently the Risk/Benefits Manager for the City of Knoxville, where he manages benefits, safety/wellness programs and casualty. Previous assignments included 17 years as the Risk Manager for the City of Oak Ridge and 7 years as a Manager with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The City of Knoxville has a diversified employee population of 1600, with skilled and unskilled labor, police, fire, recreation and public facilities, engineering and inspections, and a wide variety of administrative and professional positions.

Gary had an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, an MS in Education and a BA in Human Services from the University of Tennessee. In addition, he received a Certified Manager Designation from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers and a certificate in Management Excellence from the University of Virginia.

Gary has twice been president of the Tennessee Public Risk Management Association and served on committees of the National Public Risk Management Association. He was also president of the Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, and the president of the Bellefonte Chapter of the National Management Association. In addition, Gary has published articles on a variety of issues including workers’ compensation, and speaks publicly on various topics related to risk management or general management.

Susan Azar

Worker's Compensation Manager
Susan has held various positions in the insurance industry over the past 25 years, starting as a commercial underwriter for Nationwide Insurance. She joined Chrysler Insurance in 1989 and General Motors in 1991. While at GM she has held insurance related positions at Motors Insurance Corporation, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Corporate Risk Management and Global Employee Benefits. Susan's education includes a Bachelor's Degree from Juniata College in Huntington, PA, and a Master's Degree from Walsh College, CPCU and ARM Designations from the Insurance Institute, as well as the Certified Workers' Compensation Professional (CWCP) designation from Michigan State University.

Bob Dehnke

Director of Risk Management
Rob has been involved with workers’ compensation in Tennessee since 1990 when he started as a multi-lines claims adjuster for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Brentwood, Tennessee.  After seven years of workers’ compensation, general liability, property and auto adjusting at Liberty Mutual, he accepted a Workers’ Compensation Supervisor position with HCA in Nashville, Tennessee.  His responsibilities included the supervision of all workers’ compensation and Texas non-subscription claims for over 100 hospitals in the South and Southeast United States.   In January 2002, he accepted the Claims Manager position at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.  Over the last five years with Cracker Barrel, he has been involved with all aspects of Risk Management activities, including workers’ compensation.   He was promoted to Director of Risk Management in July 2006.  

Rob graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Finance in 1990 and later received his CPCU designation. 

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is a senior counsel for Nissan North America, Inc., and he has worked in this position at Nissan since 1991. He advises management on EEO, labor law, FMLA, wage and hour law, ERISA, and workers’ compensation law. He also manages employment and workers’ compensation litigation. Mike provides advice to Nissan’s three U.S. manufacturing plants as well as to other Nissan business units. He is a 1981 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and a 1978 graduate of Brandeis University, which is in Waltham, MA. Mike lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Andrea. They have two grown daughters, Ilyssa and Erika, who both work in New York City.

Kristin L. Burman

UNITED ROAD - Kristin L. Burman
Workers' Compensation Claims Manager
Kristin Burman manages the Workers’ Compensation and Inland Marine claims for United Road, (an automotive transport company) in multiple jurisdictions within the United States and Canada. Kristin began her career with Crawford and Company as a WC claims adjuster. She has also worked for various TPA’s as well as the University of Michigan's integrated disability management program. In 2004 she came to work for United Road where she has reshaped the approach of WC claims management to be much more focused on outcome and full resolution. In her role as manager of Workers Compensation Kristin has been very active developing ergonomic programs targeting specific injury trends. In 2011 Kristin successfully gained self-insured status for United Road in the state of Washington. As part of that effort, she took responsibility for reshaping United Road’s training program for its maintenance facilities. In addition to representing United Road on the TNSIA she serves on the and National Counsel of Self Insurer’s Board of Managers.

Kent Carter


Kent Carter, SPHR, has worked for Marvin Windows and Doors of Tennessee as Director of Human Resources since 1995.  Kent was the project leader for Marvin’s VPP/ STAR (Safety Excellence Certification) effort, leading the company in becoming the 11th in the state to achieve VPP STAR status.  Kent also served on the team that led his company to achieve the Welcoa Gold Wellness award for Wellness Excellence. Other certifications and recognitions include:  Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Achievement Award, ISO 9001, TP3: Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership – “Performer Level”, and the ASTD Best Plants award.
Kent has over 25 years of Human Resources Generalist background. He serves on the board of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was active in the Workers’ Compensation reform Act of 2004. He has served on the Governor’s TOSHA Advisory Council, and is President of the Northwest TN SHRM Chapter. He also serves on the Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce, and the Freed-Hardeman University President’s Advisory Council. Kent has a BBA from Freed-Hardeman University and a MA from the University of North Alabama.

Curt Gross

With annual sales exceeding $12 billion, Parker Hannifin Corporation is the world's leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies, providing systematic, precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. With ten years experience in insurance and risk management, Curt is Parker’s Assistant Risk Manager responsible for workers’ compensation in 32 states.


John Hayes

John is the Assistant Vice President, Risk Management for Ingram Industries Inc. in Nashville, TN. Ingram Industries Inc. is a privately held corporation engaged in wholesale distribution, print on demand and digital fulfillment of books and related products as well as inland marine transportation. John oversees the global risk management function for the company.

John’s education includes a Bachelors degree from the University of Memphis in Risk Management and Insurance and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Belmont University.


As Administrator, Insurance Programs for International Paper, Penny is responsible for working with state agencies to ensure compliance with state regulations and insurance reporting requirements. This includes administering security deposit portfolios, completing self-insurance applications, and payroll records & documentation.

Penny joined International Paper in 1987. She has served the company in the areas of finance, corporate education, and safety. She began her current position in Workers’ Compensation in 2001 and received the Certified Workers' Compensation Professional (CWCP) designation from Michigan State University in January, 2004. She is a member of the Mid-South Workers’ Compensation Association.

International Paper, a global leader in the paper and packaging industry with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and North Africa is currently self-insured in over 40 states.

Tracy A. Flynn

Workers' Compensation Manager

Tracy A. Flynn has held numerous and various positions in the Insurance industry with most of her work and her passion dedicated to the Worker’s Compensation arena. She currently holds the position of Worker’s Compensation Claims Manager with Johnson Controls covering manufacturing plants nationwide. For the last 12 years, she has worked with State Funds in CA, WV, various TPA’s , employers and brokers throughout the United States as well as serving on numerous advisory committees, State boards and agencies, generally focused on Worker’s Compensation reform, law, risk and administration. She currently sits on the Tennessee and Michigan Self Insured Managing Boards and is an active member of numerous other States Self Insured Associations as well as local and national RIMS, Risk Management Society. She was awarded Insurance Professional of the Year by the Insurance Association of Metro Detroit in 2009 and has attained the designation of Associate in Claims and Associate in Service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Sonoma State University and is working on completing her MBA.

David McDowell

David McDowell has been Risk Manager for Averitt Express, Inc., for 10 years.  He is responsible for Averitt’s self-insurance program, including liability, worker’s compensation and disability.  David holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, as well as a J.D. from the University of TN School of Law. David has worked in the insurance and transportation industry over 20 years, the last 15 in the self-insurance administration field.  He is a founding member of the TNSIA. He resides in Cookeville, TN, and has one daughter, Katie.


Micheline W. Parkey

Corporate Risk Manager
McKee Foods Corporation is the manufacturer of America’s leading snack cake brand, Little Debbie® snack cakes.

Micheline joined McKee Food’s Corporate Risk Management team in 2005. Among other duties, Corporate Risk Management is responsible for Risk Analysis, Insurance, and Claims Management of the company’s Workers’ Compensation, Auto Liability, General Liability, and Property Insurance Lines. With a background in financial and manufacturing accounting, Micheline is currently pursuing her Certification in Public Accounting. She received her MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2001 and her ARM designation from the Insurance Institute in 2005.

Bob Dehnke

TYSON FOODS, INC. - Allyn C. (Lynn) Tatum
Lynn Tatum is in charge of Workers’ Compensation program for Tyson Foods, Inc. Prior to that, he was a member of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission from 1977-1995. Lynn’s education includes a BSBA and JD Degrees from the University of Arkansas. Lynn is recognized on a national level as a leader in his field and serving on various Boards/Committees including, but not limited to, the Workers’ Compensation Steering Committee of the National Academy of Social Insurance in Washington, D.C., past President of the National Council of Self-Insurers, the International Workers’ Compensation Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors for the Missouri and Texas Self-Insurer’s Associations.

Mike is the Manager, Global Property and Casualty Insurance for Kennametal Inc headquartered in Latrobe, PA. Kennametal delivers productivity to customers seeking peak performance in demanding environments by providing innovative custom and standard wear-resistant solutions. Companies operating in everything from airframes to coal mining, from engines to oil wells and from turbochargers to construction recognize Kennametal for extraordinary contributions to their value chains. In fiscal year 2010, customers bought approximately $1.9 billion of Kennametal products and services – delivered by our approximately 11,000 talented employees doing business in more than 60 countries – with more than 50 percent of these revenues coming from outside North America. With five years of experience in risk management, Mike is responsible for Workers’ Compensation in 16 states. Mike’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Seton Hill College and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Point Park College.


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