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Some secrets too good to keep under wraps


Business Insurance is about to break a long-held tradition.

For each of the past 29 years, the magazine strove to keep secret the name of the Risk Manager of the Year from the time of the judges' selection until the issue profiling that person is published. The problem is, this has always been a very difficult task.

It's human nature to want to share exciting news with others, and this is especially true of the Risk Manager of the Year award. Often a significant number of people are involved in the nominating process, which makes it harder to keep things quiet for the weeks and months until our profile issue is published. Once the winner is informed, the good news travels like wildfire--to brokers, underwriters, advisers and anyone else who had a hand in the RMOY nomination.

Historically, Business Insurance has requested that all parties informed of a candidate's selection refrain from any public announcement until BI publishes its annual Risk Manager of the Year issue. I'm pleased to say that this perennial request has been honored, but once dozens or hundreds of people become aware of the news, it's impossible to keep it from spreading for long. And, as sometimes happens when news travels on a grapevine, the original message can get muddled. It would be unfortunate if facts got lost in the telling.

To avoid these problems, Business Insurance has decided to disclose the names of the 2007 Risk Manager of the Year and members of the Risk Management Honor Roll following the judges' selection of this year's honorees. The pool of candidates this year was among our largest and comprised many very impressive risk managers, making the job of the independent panel of judges even more challenging. The judges score candidates on a scale of 1 to 10 on each of 10 criteria, with the highest-scoring candidate named Risk Manager of the Year. The next-highest scoring candidates may be named to the Risk Management Honor Roll.

This year's panel has chosen a winner as well as three members of the honor roll.

The risk managers named to the 2007 Risk Management Honor Roll are Carol F. Arendall of OfficeMax Inc., Scott B. Clark of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Warren C. Perkins Jr. of Boh Bros. Construction Co. L.L.C. The 2007 Risk Manager of the Year, the 30th person to receive this prestigious honor, is Lance J. Ewing of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. These four are outstanding risk managers whose creativity, leadership and innovation help their organizations to achieve their goals.

Now that you know who the honorees are, you will want to learn about their risk management programs, the challenges they faced, the major problems they solved, their creative use of loss control and risk financing strategies, how these risk managers got into the profession, how they handle the diverse demands of the job and more. Their stories are compelling, and you can read about them in detail in the April 30, 2007, issue of Business Insurance and online following publication.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Risk Manager of the Year award, we're also preparing a special report on risk management best practices gleaned from decades of honoring the profession's best, with summary profiles of all 30 recipients and their programs. Readers will be able to see the report online at the BI Web site.

Business Insurance is proud of all the nominees for the Risk Manager of the Year award and salutes all risk managers who are working hard to protect their organizations' people, property and dreams. The importance of the risk manager cannot be overstated. There are many different approaches to identifying, mitigating and monitoring risk, as the profiles of the award winners attest. We hope that readers will gain insights that they can apply in their own organizations, on their way to becoming the future Risk Managers of the Year.