How About Something Happier?

By Judge Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro

A professor in the School of Management at Middle Tennessee State University recently asked me to speak to a couple of her Human Resources classes about workers’ compensation. I put together a presentation on the development of work comp, how it works in Tennessee, and how human resources departments can make it work better for everyone. I included several photos of workplace accidents waiting to happen.

When the appointed day arrived, I went to MTSU, found a parking place (challenging), and began looking for the classroom in the Business and Aerospace Building, which wasn’t there when I was an undergrad 40 years ago (more challenging). I found my way with time to spare, plugged in my PowerPoint, and away we went. The students were polite and engaged, and I had a great time.

When I finished, one of the students followed me into the hall and introduced himself. Michael McGee reminded me that he came to me for approval of his workers’ compensation settlement about a year ago. He had suffered a cervical spine injury that prevented him from returning to his former job.

I remembered Michael’s case because he told me at the time that he planned to put his settlement money to good use. He was already taking classes at a community college while he rehabbed from his injury, and he said he intended to use his settlement to pay for a college degree.

That’s exactly what he has done. Michael has since transferred to MTSU, where he is a Transfer Fellow in the Honors College and a full-time student at the Jones College of Business, studying with a minor in Business Administration and a major in Supply Chain Management. I’m certain he’ll help straighten out all our supply chain issues when he graduates in a couple of years.

Successes like this are surely not isolated cases. So, I thought you might appreciate a reminder from Michael, as I did, that this system and the work we all do has a lasting impact on people’s lives.

This was the students’ undisputed favorite of the photos.

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