The CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence award shines a light on the outstanding contributions of California's public-sector workforce, whether a public agency, program, or employee. These are the people behind the scenes who often go unnoticed, even as they work diligently to educate us, protect us, keep us healthy, and provide essential services and infrastructure.

2019 Recipient

The 2019 Spotlight on Excellence award, announced on Monday, October 28 at the 20th Annual CalPERS Educational Forum, went to Michelle Tucker, Chief, Division of Human Resources (HR) at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Michelle is known for treating her employees and business partners with respect and dignity, and having an open-door policy for everyone, regardless of their position at Caltrans.

"In human resources, our job is to really make sure that there is a workforce that's available to do all of the transportation projects. It's an area when everything's going well, not a lot of people think about." - Michelle Tucker, Chief, Division of Human Resources, Caltrans

As the HR leader, Michelle launched several successful initiatives to advance women and minorities, shaping future generations of employees to work in the transportation industry. Under her leadership, the Recruitment Office has collaborated with special groups such as Downtown Streets, Goodwill Industries, Prison to Employment, and refugee groups that onboard employees who have had trouble entering or re-entering the workforce.

Nominations for next year'’'s, Spotlight on Excellence award will begin in August of 2020. Who do you know that would make a great nominee?

See the Extraordinary Work of Our Honorees


Manuel Colunga, Outdoor Field Supervisor
San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District
Recognized as a dedicated steward of over 44 miles of water canals and recharge basins throughout the San Bernardino County region, Manuel's passion for groundwater management knows no bounds. He led a partnership with 12 neighboring agencies to raise awareness and further enhance water recharge efforts in neighboring communities.


Jeanne Amos, Library Services Director
El Dorado County
Recognized for 22 years of dedicated public service, Jeanne transformed El Dorado County libraries into the community hubs she envisioned. Programs she developed helped El Dorado County receive recognition from our State Legislature for its early learning education, and for having the highest percentage in the state of reading to young children each day.


Kenneth Duran, Assistant City Manager
City of San Dimas
Recognized for his accomplishments during more than 30 years as assistant city manager, including the city hall remodel and downtown revitalization.


East Valley Water District
Recognized for their commitment to leadership, partnership, and stewardship, and understanding the need to educate the community on the efforts involved in maintaining a water system.


Howard L. Chambers, City Manager
City of Lakewood
Recognized for his accomplishments during his 38 years as city manager, and his ability to build working relationships with city staff, civic leaders, and state legislators.

CalPERS Educational Forum