Chosen annually each fall, CalPERS’ Spotlight on Excellence is a peer-nominated award that 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.

Meet Our 2023 Recipient: Scott Taylor

Lamont Public Utility District (PUD) General Manager Scott Taylor accomplished what many thought impossible — turning a troubled public agency into an example of transparency, trust, and stability, along with securing critical state funding (PDF).

Among a series of setbacks, including failing infrastructure, frequent changes in management, and employee embezzlement charges, Scott stepped in seven years ago with a vision to lead. He secured a monumental $31 million in combined grants – the first in the agency's 80 years – for much-needed water infrastructure improvements to bring clean, safe drinking water to the residents of the Lamont PUD service area for now and generations to come.

Learn More About Our Past Honorees

Past Award Recipients


Julian Bond, Administrator
California Department of Veterans Affairs
Recognized for his dedication to the residents of the CalVET Veterans Home of Ventura and an exemplary leadership style that leaves all who meet him inspired. Referred to as Colonel Bond by his team, he’s demonstrated a lifelong passion for serving others, both now and through a decorated career in the U.S. Army.


Monica Espinoza, Human Resources Director
City of Orange
Recognized for 24 years of service to the city, where she’s worked her way up from an intern to executive leadership. The positive relationships she’s fostered over the years have resulted in eight successful long-term contracts with labor partners and skyrocketing morale. She's well known for doing everything she can to support her team, the organization, and city residents.


Trieste Huey, Director, Food Services
Fontana Unified School District
Recognized for leading her team quickly into action when the Fontana Unified School District announced on March 13, 2020 it would be temporarily closing schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, FUSD’s Food Services team made certain students and their families, some of whom rely on the district for their only meals, got the food they needed when it mattered the most.


Michelle Tucker, Chief, Division of Human Resources
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Recognized for launching 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 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.


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

  • Spotlight on Excellence Award