Employee of the quarter/year

The Employee of the Quarter and Year Program is established to recognize outstanding Orange County Water District (OCWD) employees and to acknowledge their contributions to OCWD. The program hopes to encourage quality work, process or continuous improvement, teamwork, savings, customer service, and a high level of dedication. The program recognizes OCWD employees are the source of our strength, reputation and innovation.

Employee of the quarter

  • 2022 Q2

    The Orange County Water District is very pleased to announce that Zachary Barker, Environmental Specialist, is the 2022 Employee of the Second Quarter

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  • 2022 Q1

    Julio Polanco, Scientist

    Julio has successfully completed a major project for OCWD R&D to evaluate removal of virus at OC Sanitation’s Plants 1 and 2. The District is now working with the California Division of Drinking Water to seek regulatory credit for virus log removal for GWRS because of this project. Julio played a critical role as the lead scientist for this project, executing this work over 2 years via coordination with OC San, plant sampling including onsite filtration, and data analysis using complex statistical methods and software programs.

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  • 2021, Q4

    Julio Langarica - Recharge System Operator

    Julio had received a SCADA alarm for power failure at 10:00 PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day. When he got to FHQ, he saw that the two power poles (which supply the FHQ Office) were snapped like toothpicks and the wire was lying across the road. The extreme winds had knocked them down and left FHQ with no power for three days.

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Employee of the Year

  • 2021

    Ritchie Valdez, Maintenance Technician II 

    Ritchie's knowledge of the Microfiltration area of the GWRS and positive attitude has made it easy for him to work with others and pass on what he has learned over the years to other employees.

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  • 2020

    Tony Arocho and Miguel Chavez, Warehouse Technicians

    Tony and Miguel were selected as employees of the year for their consistent and positive "can-do" attitude.

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  • 2019

    Natasha Issak, Human Resources Assistant

    Natasha was selected as employee of the year for going above and beyond, not only for her group but for anyone around her.

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  • 2018

    Ben Smith, P.E., Senior Engineer

    Ben is being recognized for his management of the Mid Basin Expansion – Centennial Park Project, which took several years of coordination.

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  • 2017

    Ray Camacho, Utility Maintenance Technician

    Ray has an incredible work ethic and a positive attitude. When the maintenance utility duo became shorthanded, Ray provided additional help and pulled double duty for months.

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  • 2016

    Kim Dusky, Human Resources Specialist

    Kim goes above and beyond in ensuring staff and new staff are well trained. She follows up and takes time out of her day to help others even when she is very busy.

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  • 2015

    Pedro Barrera, Maintenance Technician I

    Pedro deserves to be Employee of the Year because of his ability to go above and beyond in performing his job duties. And always with a smile. Pedro sets a positive example for all OCWD employees to follow. 

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  • 2014

    Frank Simone, Buyer

    Frank deserves to be EOY because he does his job with extreme buying POWER! Frank should be admired for his calm, cool and determined attitude to get any requests accomplished. Frank is a joy to work with. Frank always conducts himself in a professional manner, always returns phone calls and sees projects through to completion.

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  • 2013

    Don Houlihan, Recharge Operations Supervisor

    Don is responsible for oversight of OCWD's recharge operations including the planning for storms and imported water deliveries, movement of water around the District's various recharge operations and conveyances, and the scheduling of basin cleanings and maintenance at dozens of geographically diverse locations.

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  • 2012

    Nate Scheevel, Senior Engineer

    Before becoming an engineer, Nate previously worked as a heavy equipment operator and a BCV Supervisor for OCWD. As the BCV Supervisor, and even now as an engineer, Nate has shown a high degree of initiative in his work performance.

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  • 2011

    John Souza, Shift Supervisor IV

    As a Shift Supervisor in Water Production, John supervises GWRS plant operations and makes decisions that affect the overall success of the GWRS facility. John goes above and beyond what is expected and always gives 100 percent.

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  • 2010

    Janice Kovacevic, Senior Administrative Support Specialist

    Janice is responsible for a wide range of activities for the Water Production Group and the District. This includes preparing many reports, numerous requisitions, helping prepare presentations and other duties. Supplying support for a staff of 60 requires a lot of effort and patience.

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  • 2009

    Joe Flint, Sr. Maintenance Technician III

    Since the start up of the GWR System, Joe Flint has taken ownership of the Trojan Advance Oxidation Process (AOP). He has distinguished himself in that effort by the development of new procedures and lamp inventory management practices. The procedures developed by Joe have maximized the utilization rate of UV lamps resulting in significant savings for OCWD and OCSD. 

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  • 2008

    Julio Langarica, Heavy Equipment Operator

    Julio Langarica is such a dedicated employee that he not only performs his job well at OCWD’s Anaheim Field Headquarters, but he also garnered certification to conduct pest spraying along the Santa Ana River, which means a 3 a.m. start time. That’s 3 a.m. on top of a full day performing the task of being a heavy equipment operator! 

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  • 2007

    Matt Buis, Basin Cleaning Vehicle Operator

    As the Basin Cleaning Vehicle Operator, Matt Buis proactively looks for ways to improve BCV performance including, but not limited to, managing the hose system, adjusting cleaning hood settings and other operational parameters. 

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  • 2007

    Dave Henry, Process Control System Programmer

    Dave Henry oversees OCWD’s process control system for its Green Acres Project, a water recycling program that provides reclaimed water for landscape irrigation at parks, schools and golf courses as well as for industrial uses; and the Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System, an innovative water purification project.

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  • 2006

    Bonnie Nash, Habitat Restoration Manager

    Bonnie Nash is OCWD’s Habitat Restoration Manager based at Prado Basin. Bonnie is a self-taught expert on wildlife and endangered species, and only one of six people who have a permit to work with the threatened Santa Ana Sucker fish.

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  • 2005

    Adrienne Campbell, Receptionist

    When you walk up to or call the Orange County Water District (OCWD) reception desk, you are immediately greeted with a warm smile and a cheerful greeting followed by efficient and friendly service. This is the trademark of Adrienne Campbell who was just voted by the OCWD employees to be the OCWD employee of the year.

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  • 2004

    Nira Yamachika, Director of Water Quality

    The Orange County Water District employees have voted and we are pleased to announce that Nira Yamachika was nominated 2004 Employee of the Year!

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  • 2003

    Chris McConaughy, Chief Operator

    The Orange County Water District employees were given the opportunity to vote for the Employee of the Year by choosing from the 12 previous Employee's of the Month. The 2003 Employee of the Year is Chris McConaughy. 

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