Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission Members
If you have an appeal before the commission, you have the right to object to a commission member hearing your case for grounds set out in AS 23.30.007(l). You must file your objection in writing with the commission office no later than 10 days after receiving a notice of the assignment of the commissioners. 8 AAC 57.080. You may send a fax or an e-mail to make your objection. The grounds for objection include
- a party is an employee or was, in the past seven years, an employee of the commission member or of a business that employs the commission member; this paragraph does not apply to the chair of the commission when the State of Alaska is or was the employer of a party;
- a party is a member or was, in the past seven years, a member of the same union or employee association as the commission member;
- a party has a contractual relationship with the commission member, a business that employs the commission member, or a union or employee association of which the commission member is a member;
- the commission member is unable to be fair, impartial, and unbiased toward the appeal participants; or
- the commission member’s participation in the appeal is a violation of AS 39.52.
The current appeals commission members are:
- Appeals Commission Chair
Deirdre D. Ford, Chair, of Anchorage, was appointed Chair by Governor Bill Walker and took office on October 31, 2016. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Ford was retired from the practice of law. From March 2009 to July 2012, Ms. Ford was a Hearing Officer with the Board in Anchorage. From June 1985 through February 2009, Ms. Ford practiced law with Delisio Moran Geraghty & Zobel, with an emphasis in Workers’ Compensation law, primarily representing employers. She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 1984, her M.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois Chicago in 1973, her M.L.S. in Library Science from the University of California Berkeley, and her B.A. in Political Science from Whittier College in 1963. Her term expires on March 1, 2025.
- Appeals Commissioners
James N. Rhodes, an employee representative, of Ketchikan, is a 26-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547. He served as a member for labor on the Board from August 2001 until March 2005. He was appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell to a four-year term in February 2012, reappointed to a five-year term by Gov. Bill Walker in 2016, and reappointed to an additional five-year term by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in January 2021. His term expires on March 1, 2026.
S. T. Hagedorn, an employer representative, of Anchorage, retired from the Alaska Railroad Corporation in June 2009 after a 34-year career, with the last 24 years as Corporate Risk Manager. He was appointed as a member for industry to the Board in 1991 by Governor Walter Hickel, reappointed twice by Governor Tony Knowles, and reappointed in 2006 by Governor Frank Murkowski (15 years of Board service). He has a B.A. in history from the University of Northern Iowa. He was appointed by Governor Sarah Palin to a five-year term as Commissioner in March 2007, reappointed by Governor Sean Parnell to another five-year term in February 2012; and reappointed by Governor Bill Walker to an additional five-year term in February 2017. His term expires on March 1, 2022.
Amy M. Steele, an employer representative, of Anchorage, is the Senior Claims Coordinator at Chenega Corporation, where she has worked since 2009. Prior to her work with Chenega, she worked as a Senior Claims Examiner with Alaska National Insurance Company. Before moving to Alaska in 2002, she worked as a principal member of the risk management staff at Allegis Group, Inc. where she had worked since 1995. She graduated in 1995 from The New York State University at Oneonta with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She earned her Associate in Risk Management designation in 1999. She was appointed as a member for industry to the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board in 2011 by Governor Sean Parnell and reappointed by Governor Bill Walker until her term ended in March 2019. Her term expires on March 1, 2024.
Nancy Shaw, employee representative, Anchorage, received a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and then graduated from the law school at UCLA. She was an attorney for the Alaska Public Defender Agency and for the Alaska Court System. She was the supervising attorney and then the Federal Defender for the District of Alaska. She retired after fifteen years as General Counsel for Alaska Teamsters Local 959. Ms. Shaw also served as a member for labor on the Board from 2017 until 2023. Commissioner Shaw was appointed to the Commission by Governor Mike Dunleavy in September 2023.