Jake Damask - 2013 Scholarship Recipient

Board of Directors

Under the leadership of these dedicated individuals, SFM Foundation strives to make a difference for families affected by workplace injuries.

SFM Foundation Board of Directors
David E. Kaiser, Board Chairman

Dave Kaiser, one of the co-founders of the SFM Foundation, is the SFM Foundation's President, and currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for SFM Mutual Insurance Company, a workers' compensation insurer organization headquartered in Bloomington, and Minnesota's largest writer of workers' compensation insurance.

Mr. Kaiser earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN, and is a member of the Minnesota Insurance Federation Information Technology Committee, CIO Committee Member and Mentorship Program Mentor of Think IT, United Way Emerging Leaders, and is a former Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Patricia R. Johnson, Treasurer

Pat Johnson was President and Chief Executive Officer of SFM Mutual Insurance Company, retiring in 2007.

Ms. Johnson is a graduate of Minnesota State University Mankato and received her law degree in 1974 from the University of Minnesota. She has served in leadership positions in a multitude of insurance organizations, on the Minneapolis Human Rights Commission, as chair of the Minnesota Safety Council, and in support of various other community and arts organizations. She is an active alumna of both the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University Mankato, serving for many years on the board of the MSU Foundation. She has taught MBA courses, and is a volunteer at the English Learning Center, where she teaches preparation for citizenship and math to newer immigrants.

Debra L. Zorn, Secretary

Deb Zorn is the Scholarship Director for the SFM Foundation, and manages the recruiting and grading of scholarship applications, as well as payments of scholarships. She is also the main contact for scholarship recipients and their families, which includes a mentoring role. She is currently a Business Manager at SFM.

Ms. Zorn is a 2006 graduate of Cardinal Stritch University in Human Resource Management. She earned her PHR Certification in 2009 and her SHRM-CP certification in 2015.

Darrin E. Ausman, Director

Darrin Ausman is the Workers' Compensation Business Development Manager in Iowa and South Dakota for Athletico Physical Therapy. Darrin has over 25 years' experience as a hand therapist working to design, manage and promote rehabilitation programs. Darrin graduated from Wartburg College in 1987 with a B.A. in Biology. He received his B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Washington University followed by an M.B.A. from St. Louis University in 1995.

In addition to his business development role, Darrin continues to work as a clinician holding advanced certifications in hand therapy, functional capacity training and ergonomics.

Tami Evans, Director

Tami Evans is the Director of Workers Comp Claims, Assistant Vice President of EMC Insurance Companies, in Des Moines, Iowa. Tami has 30 years of Workers Comp experience, in multiple jurisdictions. She received her BA degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa and has earned multiple designations in the insurance industry including: CPCU, AIC, AIM, ACS, AIS and SCLA-Gold. Tami is Past President and current member of the Iowa Workers Comp Advisory Committee and has been a member of multiple committees for Property Casualty Institute (PCI), International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) and Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). Tami also recently completed 12 years on her local City Council.

Shannon Ford, Director

Shannon Ford is the Manager of Case Management for the Heartland Region of Encore Unlimited, LLC. She has 20 years'' experience in disability management and vocational rehabilitation in the field of workers compensation. Ms. Ford obtained her Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Iowa in 1996, and is certified as a rehabilitation counselor through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. In addition to her core responsibilities at Encore, she also serves on the Leadership and Quality Committee as well as the Regulatory Committee. She is a current member of her local Rotary, has served as a member of Junior League, and in many other volunteer capacities in her community.

Thomas Gallagher, Director

Tom Gallagher is a principal at Gallagher & Associates, Inc., a division of RJF, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LL Company, and has over 30 years experience in the insurance industry. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Northland College, and has worked with School Districts for more than 20 years and has been a sponsor member of the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) for that time. He is also a business partner with the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA).

Michael L. Happe, Director

Mike Happe is the current Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for SFM Mutual Insurance Company, and Executive Vice President for SFM Risk Solutions.

Mr. Happe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987 from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, earned the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1992, and earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in 1996. Mr. Happe also serves as Secretary of the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Association as well Commissioner of the Economic Development Commission for the City of Minnetonka, Minnesota. In addition, he recently chaired the Supervisory Committee of City-County Federal Credit Union and as Governor for the National CPCU Society.

Lee Hook, Director

Lee Hook is a Partner at Peddicord,Wharton, Spencer, Hook, Barron & Wegman law firm and primarily practices in the area of workers' compensation defense. Lee is a Fellow of the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers and member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Polk County Bar Association, Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Iowa Association of Workers' Compensation Lawyers and the Iowa Defense Counsel Association, as well as the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network.

Mr. Hook grew up in Boone, Iowa and is a lifelong resident of Iowa. Lee received his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa and earned his juris doctorate degree from Drake University Law School in 1981. Lee has been actively involved with the Make a Wish Foundation of Iowa for many years, and has served as president as well as a member of its Board of Directors.

Janet Monson, Director

Janet Monson is a managing partner in the firm of Aafedt, Forde, Gray, Monson & Hager, P.A., where she has been a shareholder since 1986. She has almost thirty years of experience exclusively representing the interests of employers and insurers in Minnesota workers' compensation cases.

Ms. Monson received her J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1981. She received her Bachelor's degree with highest honors from Bethel College in 1975. Ms. Monson was chosen for inclusion in the Minnesota Super Lawyers list and was recently selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®. She is a nationally recognized expert in her field, with numerous listings in Who's Who publications. She has chaired the annual Workers' Compensation Institute six times and is a frequent lecturer at Continuing Legal Education seminars sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Robert Otos, Director

Robert Otos, the Senior Vice President of Operations and owner of ALARIS, has 18 years of case management and insurance related experience. Rob joined ALARIS in 2000 with extensive case management industry experience and substantial knowledge in job design and injury prevention. His experience at ALARIS includes development of a multi-state region, sales across jurisdictions, governmental relations and talent management. In his current role as SVP of Operations, Rob is responsible for developing strategies for and leading all operations. Rob is a long-time advocate within the case management industry and frequently speaks on rehabilitation subjects.

Sonia O'Brien, Director

Sonia O'Brien is a Government Affairs Strategist for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. She has over 27 years of experience in the insurance industry. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota Moorhead, and her Associate in Management from the Insurance Institute of America. She has served in a variety of leadership positions within State Farm and a past participant in the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Minnesota program.

Mikaela Willhite, Director

Mikaela Willhite is a Registered Nurse at Saint Cloud Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit.

Ms. Willhite is a past scholarship recipient of SFM Foundation and a Saint Cloud State University graduate. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree with honors and magna cum laude in 2014. She is a member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.