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.  

The 2018 Spotlight on Excellence award, announced on Monday, October 22 at the 19th Annual CalPERS Educational Forum, went to Manuel Colunga, Outdoor Field Supervisor with the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District.

Manuel's passion for service knows no bounds. He's a dedicated steward of over 44 miles of water canals and recharge basins throughout the San Bernardino County region. The work requires him to monitor the surrounding landscape and keep a watchful eye on ever-changing weather conditions.

His passion for groundwater management led him to partner with 12 neighboring agencies to raise awareness and further enhance water recharge efforts in surrounding communities. Under his watch, what was once a neglected dump has been transformed into a community treasure.

And if that wasn't enough, he's volunteered with his local YMCA for many years.

Whether he's working to protect the water ecosystem for residents and growers in the region, or serving the community by working with local youth, he's an outstanding role model of public service, always working toward a greater good.

Nominations for the 2019 Spotlight on Excellence award will begin in August of 2019. Who do you know that would make a great nominee?  

See the Extraordinary Work of Our Honorees


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