Sue Ann Head Award

Recognizing 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.   

Photo of the late Sue Ann Head

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.

Nominations are accepted year-round. Nominations received after March 1 will be considered in the following year's pool of applicants. For 2024, nominations submitted after April 30, 2024 will be saved for the next award period.

The Sue Ann Head award is a prestigious award that is given out at the discretion of the Bureau. This means that the Bureau decides whether or not to select a winner each year. Nominations may be rolled over to the following year. 

You can renominate previously nominated individuals.

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.

Announcement of the recipient of this award will be made during the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Education Conference.

Questions about the nomination process and completed nomination forms should be directed to

Award Winners

Kitty Boyte

2023 Winner

Katherine "Kitty" Boyte

Katherine "Kitty" Boyte is partner at Peterson White, LLP having previously practiced with Constangy, Brooks, Smith, & Prophete, LLP and with Gracey, Ruth Howard, Tate, & Sowell, LLP. Kitty has practiced law almost exclusively in the realm of workers’ compensation since 1988. She is a frequent lecturer on “all things workers’ compensation,” assisting clients ranging from manufacturing facilities, construction employers, trucking companies, insurance personnel, health care providers, and fellow attorneys as they navigate the ever-changing world of workers’ compensation. She has shared her expertise as a guest professor at the Nashville School of Law and a guest lecturer in Business Ethics at Middle Tennessee State University. She has served on the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council and other committees at the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. She is an active member and past president of both the Mid-South Workers’ Compensation Association and the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association.

Bob Pitts

2022 Winner

Bob Pitts

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

2021 Winner

Jody Barnes

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

2020 Winner

Shirley Vincent

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.”


2019 Winner

Terry Hill

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: April 24, 2024 at 12:39 PM