News & Events

Here’s Your Chance to Recognize Excellence

Each year CalPERS awards one public servant, agency, or program with an award for outstanding service. It’s called the Spotlight on Excellence Award.

The award was established nearly 20 years ago to shine a light on the people and programs that go the extra mile in their work to provide our communities, schools, and workplaces with the essential services we rely on every day.

Think for a minute about clean drinking water coming to your homes or the food being served in your local school districts. And we can’t forget about the safety professionals — police, firefighters, highway patrol, and county sheriffs. It takes a lot of people to run a city or county and deliver services we all need. These are the members of CalPERS, just like you, who have committed their careers to public service. The CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence Award brings their hard work forward.

People We’ve Honored

Past honorees include people like Trieste Huey, director of food services for the Fontana Unified School District. During the pandemic in 2020, she led her team tirelessly to make sure the 37,000 children and families in her school district had access to food while the schools were closed.

In 2018, we honored Manuel Colunga, the outdoor field supervisor for the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. He was chosen for his exceptional effort to keep the water flowing to the citizens and growers throughout the county and for finding creative solutions amid drought conditions.

Last year, the Spotlight on Excellence Award went to Monica Espinoza, the human resources director for the City of Orange. She heads up the team that makes sure all the city’s departments are staffed with excellent employees whom she refers to as the “conscience and heart of the organization.” Their team of 750 employees provides services to over 140,000 city residents.

Submit a Nomination

The Spotlight on Excellence Award is open to all participating CalPERS agencies. Know someone deserving of special recognition? Learn what it takes to nominate them now through August 18.

This year’s recipient will be honored at our annual Educational Forum during the opening session of the conference on November 1, and subsequently through CalPERS media channels.

In the meantime, thank you for your dedication to our communities. We’re grateful for your service.