Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner-Elect Names Staff Members

January 7, 2011

Incoming Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak has appointed 10 members of his staff to lead the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

Joining the team are:

  • Mike Rhoads as deputy commissioner of Health Insurance;
  • Denise Engle as deputy commissioner of Workers’ Compensation;
  • Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon as deputy commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Fraud, and senior advocate;
  • Paul Wilkening as deputy commissioner of Administration; former state Sen. Owen Laughlin as deputy commissioner of Legal Affairs;
  • Joel Sander as deputy commissioner of Finance;
  • Former state Rep. Mike Thompson as deputy commissioner of Government and Public Affairs;
  • Dr. Rick Farmer as assistant commissioner of Government Affairs, Public Policy and Communications;
  • Ellen Caslavka Edwards as assistant general counsel; and
  • James Mills as assistant to the commissioner.

The Doak administration will include the state’s first-ever deputy commissioners of health insurance, workers’ compensation, including reform, and fraud and senior services.

  • Rhoads brings to the Insurance Department 30 years of combined executive experience as an executive in the insurance and banking industries, including 25 years with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
  • Engle brings more than two decades of experience in the industry to her new role with the Oklahoma Department of Insurance. Engle presently is the agency principal for Suburban Insurance, an Oklahoma-licensed agency in both the property/casualty and life and health markets.
  • Former state Sen. Brogdon has a lengthy history of success in Oklahoma, both as a private businessman and as a public servant. In the Oklahoma Senate, Brogdon served on the GOP leadership team as the whip and the assistant Republican floor leader.
  • A former prosecutor and attorney in private practice, Wilkening is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the United States District Court for the Northern and Eastern districts of Oklahoma, and the United States Court of Appeals, 5th and 10th circuits..
  • Laughlin has practiced law and worked in the banking business for 20 years and is a former assistant district attorney.
  • Sander joins the Insurance Department with more than 15 years of experience as the finance officer in the Tulsa County Clerk’s Office.
  • Former state Rep. Thompson has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. After serving on Congressman Ernest Istook’s Oklahoma staff as a field representative, he won the seat representing Oklahoma House District 100 in 2004 with more than 63 percent of the vote.
  • Dr. Rick Farmer joins the Insurance Department from his role as director of committee staff for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Dr. Farmer earned tenure as a professor of political science at the University of Akron in Ohio, where he was a fellow at the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. He recently served as president of the Oklahoma Political Science Association.
  • Caslavka Edwards joins the Oklahoma Insurance Department after a lengthy career on both sides of the courtroom bench. Edwards joined OID as assistant general counsel in 1986-87.
  • Mills is a 2010 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law who was recently admitted to the Oklahoma Bar.

Source: Oklahoma Insurance Department

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