Friday, April 12, 2019

Frierson/Colling Award 2019

So proud that Christopher Smith (Tampa, center) was presented with the Frierson/Colling professionalism award April 11, 2019 at the Forum at Champions Gate. Pictured with Glen Wieland (L) and Leo Garcia (R). 

Mr. Smith is a long-time advocate for injured workers. He has worked extensively with the Florida Workers' Advocates (FWA) and the Florida Bar Workers' Compensation Section. His focus has been consistently upon improving the workers' compensation community in which we all strive daily. Mr. Smith has been involved in many educational efforts including years of planning and moderating the View from the Bench program at the annual FWA conference each June. 

In a community that boasts many well-qualified attorneys, Mr. Smith is one of a very small minority that is Board Certified in workers' compensation by The Florida Bar. That is a distinction and recognition held by only 188 of all the attorneys in Florida. The Section's effort to recognize professionalism is laudable and it builds awareness of the need for professionals in our comunity. 

Last year, following the 2018 Forum, the history of the Frierson/Colling Award was discussed in this blog. It is a recent addition to the workers' compensation landscape. Recipients now include a distinguished dozen:

2008 Albert Frierson (Ft. Myers, FL)
2009 Stewart Colling (Orlando, FL)
2010 Richard Sicking (Miami, FL)
2011 Jacob Schickel (Jacksonville, FL)
2012 Herbert Langston (Orlando, FL)
2013 Ramon Malca (Miami, FL)
2014 Richard Thompson (Sarasota, FL)
2015 Richard Chait (Miami, FL)
2016 Thomas Conroy (Hollywood, FL/Las Vegas, NV)
2017 Dawn Traverso (Miami, FL)
2018 Hon. Neal Pitts (Orlando, FL)
2019 Christopher Smith (Tampa, FL)

Each of these individuals is imminently qualified for, some would say down right definitional of, this award. But looking at the list, I find it striking that there is only one female included. While there is no doubt that each of these names unquestionably belong on this list, there is likewise no doubt that there are female professionals that likewise merit inclusion. 

Prior to the Section instituting this recognition, the Workers' Compensation Institute presented an annual professionalism award named for Bud Adams. It will be my goal in coming weeks to somehow compile a list of the recipients of that award similar to the foregoing. On the shoulders of all of our historical leadership stands the practice we enjoy today. It is important that we continue to recognize the contributions and professionals whose efforts have built the foundation upon which we stand and work today.

Congratulations again to Mr. Smith. As they say, it could not have happened to a better recipient!