J. Eldred Hill, Jr. Award 2022: Anthonio C. (Tony) Fiore

Tony Fiore, Attorney at Law Kegler Hill Brown + Ritter, has represented the views of employers in policy and legislation at the federal, state, and local level for more than twenty years. He is a recognized leader among businesses and state and national trade associations. Fiore counsels companies on best practices within the workplace, risk management strategies for state-funded and self-insured entities, as well as legislative and administrative changes that impact a company’s bottom line. Tony previously represented the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and now serves as the government affairs director on the Ohio State Council of SHRM.
Mr. Fiore has worked with UWC in the development of UI related policy and legislation for sixteen years. Tony leads a staff in compiling and editing state UI legislative updates for the monthly State Unemployment Compensation Advisory Program (SUCAP) and he serves as an editor of the Highlights of State Unemployment Compensation Laws publication for the National Foundation for Unemployment Compensation and Workers’ Compensation.
Mr. Fiore has served as a key contributor and/or presenter at the annual National Unemployment Insurance Issues Conference. During the 2020 – 2021 Pandemic Tony took the initiative to provide updates on the array of state legislative proposals, continuing to prepare the monthly SUCAP reports and the Highlights publication despite tremendous workload and short time frames.
It is our honor to present Tony Fiore with the J. Eldred Hill, Jr., Award for contribution to the UI system.

J. Eldred Hill, Jr. Award 2022: Richard A. Siegel

Rich Siegel is President of Unemployment Tax Management Corporation (UTMC), based in Wakefield, Massachusetts. UTMC is a third-party administrator which represents employers to assist them in reducing their state unemployment taxes and expenses. Mr. Siegel serves on numerous business advocacy committees that relate to unemployment compensation, including the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and the Connecticut Business and Industries (CBIA) Unemployment Task Forces.
Mr. Siegel also serves as President of The Association of Unemployment Tax Organizations (AUTO). AUTO was founded in 1979 to promote, protect, and improve the integrity, administration, and operation of the nation’s unemployment compensation system for all parties participating in the system—claimants, employers, and state agencies. In this position, Rich chairs numerous committee boards, including Legislative, Standards, and State Information Data Exchange Systems (SIDES). With his leadership, AUTO has grown in its influence and effectiveness in shaping unemployment insurance law and providing consultation to public officials and policy makers at the national, state, and local levels.
Rich has been invited to provide counsel on legislative and regulatory issues regarding unemployment compensation before state legislative, congressional, and senate committees as well as executive leadership in several states and at the U.S. Department of Labor. Rich is also frequently sought out as a guest speaker by business organizations and community groups.
On October 21, 2020, Massachusetts’ Governor Charles D Baker announced the appointment of Rich as a Board Member of the Advisory Council to the MassHire State Workforce Board. The Board members develop strategies that guide the Commonwealth’s efforts in ensuring workers have the skills they need to fill the jobs businesses create, for a more prosperous Commonwealth, with higher wages for workers, larger profits for businesses and stronger communities for all.
Employers have greatly benefitted from Rich Siegel’s leadership. We are pleased to recognize Rich Siegel with the J. Eldred Hill Jr. award for service to employers in Unemployment Insurance policy.

UI Integrity Award 2022: Dr. Charles Aull

Dr. Charles Aull joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in April of 2021, to lead the Chamber’s policy work and research. Shortly after he started with the Chamber, the Chamber took on the task of addressing one of the worst workforce participation rates in the nation. Kentucky had always struggled with workforce participation, but the pandemic created a crisis worse than the state had seen. Dr. Aull authored a thought-provoking report, Kentucky’s Workforce Crisis: 20 Years in the Making to highlight both the reasons for the low workforce participation rate and policy recommendations.
The Kentucky General Assembly convened the Unemployment Insurance Task Force to discuss reforms to the system, and Dr. Aull prepared testimony for Sr. Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks to deliver to the task force that called on reforms to the outdated work search requirements, improvements to the UI tax code, and benefit changes to urge people to seek new employment more quickly when the economy is good. Kentucky has one of the longest average durations spent on UI benefits in the nation which contributes to low workforce participation.
After completion of the Task Force’s work, Task Force Co-Chair and House Economic Development and Investment Chair, Rep. Russell Webber asked Dr. Aull for assistance in drafting what would be House Bill 4, a Kentucky House of Representative’s priority bill. Dr. Aull worked to develop legislation that would improve the work search requirements increasing the requirement from one per week to five, tie the number of weeks of unemployment to the statewide unemployment rate, update suitability of work provisions, change how the experience rating is calculated for new businesses, and establish authority for a workshare program in Kentucky. The bill also provides additional weeks of benefits when someone is enrolled in an education program, a component of the bill that garnered support from the state’s community and technical college system’s president. This piece of the bill is critical to improving education attainment level in Kentucky, which is a driver of Kentucky’s low workforce participation. It is the most comprehensive update to the unemployment insurance laws in decades. The bill passed both Chambers and was vetoed by the Governor. The General Assembly overrode the veto, and the bill became law.
Complicated factors throughout the development and passage of the bill included the U.S. Treasury rule regarding the recovery act funds for states. In addition to House Bill 4, the General Assembly appropriated American Rescue Plan Act funds to the UI Trust Fund which could have put reduction of benefits outlined in HB 4 in jeopardy. Dr. Aull worked with Senate leadership staff to modify the legislation to properly comply with the rule so as not to lose critical funding. This work in addition to drafting the bill took extensive research and engagement with other state policy makers and UWC.
The business community believes this legislation will fundamentally reform the UI system to reduce the average duration Kentuckians spend on UI benefits, increase education attainment levels for those in the system, and improve the fairness of the UI tax code for new businesses.
For his excellent research and assistance in finalizing this important UI legislation we recognize Dr. Charles Aull with the UI Integrity Award.  

Outstanding Contribution Award 2022: Jennifer Wells Howell

Jennifer Wells Howell currently serves as Director of Unemployment and Drug Screening for Staffmark Group, a family of specialty staffing and recruiting brands with a national network of 400+ branches connecting over 170,000 workforce talent annually.
Staffmark Group has been a UWC member since 2005, with Jennifer as her organization’s steadfast and active representative. Jennifer exemplifies Staffmark’s values of Tenacity and Belonging by immediately joining the UI Issues Conference Topics Task Force, where she has served, for 16 years and counting, in helping to develop the agenda and recruit presenters. Indeed, she herself has volunteered her time and knowledge of the nation’s UI program as a presenter at UWC’s annual UI event over the years. In addition, Jennifer has served on UWC’s Recognition Awards Committee for 10+ years.
Impactful events, from Hurricane Katrina to the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, have dramatically challenged the country in recent years, and Jennifer has remained ever ready in helping UWC succeed in its mission to advocate for the business community on national UI policy issues.
Jennifer is also an active member of the American Staffing Association and has earned a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) designation.
We are pleased to recognize Jennifer Wells Howell with the UWC Outstanding Contribution Award for 2022.