IN THIS ISSUE
MATILIJA DAM ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT
A $13.4 million grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has been awarded for the construction of the Santa Ana Bridge replacement.
In May, VCPWA was proud to join public works agencies from across the nation as we celebrated the 2019 National Public Works Week. It was truly energizing to see VCPWA’S five departments – Central Services, Engineering Services, Transportation, Watershed Protection, and Water and Sanitation on display demonstrating how we work daily across five departments to provide a standard of public works excellence in the state of California. I truly believe we are inspiring a new generation to explore rewarding careers in Public Works!
Through a culture of hard work, VCPWA employees ensure that Ventura County’s roads, watersheds, levees, engineering projects, water and sanitation facilities, and central billing services run well and function cost effectively. Thank you to all who participated and made this event a one of a kind experience.
VCPWA is excited to welcome Joan Araujo as our new Director of Central Services. Please take time to introduce yourself and say hello. We are also pleased to announce WPD’s momentous steps forward on the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project.
Jeff Pratt, Public Works Agency Director
As part of National Public Works Week, more than 700 youth and 300 adults attended Ventura County Public Works Agency’s (VCPWA) annual Public Works Day event. The Government Center’s Parking Lot G was filled with heavy-equipment demonstrations, interactive displays, and career and informational booths.
Youth and attendees were given the opportunity to learn about the most recent innovations in safety, science and environmental sustainability. The newly created thematic zoned stations featured over 35 interactive booths with hands-on augmented topography, informative discussions on native drought resistant plants, the County’s Raptor Program, building and safety, engineering STEM, and technology in public transportation to the always-popular live demonstrations of heavy equipment in action that highlighted the five departments of VCPWA.
A special thank you to all of the VCPWA employees as well as partners who took part in this important education outreach effort. Please take a minute to watch the video and celebrate another year of National Public Works Week!
Office Employee: Karen Goodman, Engineering Services;
Manager: David Hazen, Water and Sanitation;
O&M Employee: Marco Reyes, Water and Sanitation.
Ventura County Public Works Agency awarded the Employee of the Year accolade to three veteran personnel who have been selected for their skills and efficiencies for a great job performance.
Marco Reyes and David Hazen from Water and Sanitation, and Karen Goodman from Engineering Services were honored as the winners among 10 other nominees.
Goodman, who currently serves as Supervising Contract Support Specialist, uses her initiative, patient demeanor and attention to detail to run her high stress position. In that capacity, she provides administrative support services for consultant contracts executed by the public works agency, including: reviewing contracts, verifying standards and procedures are being followed, organizing and creating annual contracts, working with consultants and project managers to establish rates, execute contracts, and administer work orders and invoices.
“I was grateful for the consideration,” said Goodman. “This position runs the gauntlet which is wonderful, and I never get bored as each contract-standalone or annual, work orders, modification are different.”
Reyes currently serves as a Water/Wastewater Services Worker II where he’s responsible for helping customers with the move in-move out process, meter reading, fire hydrant, facility and equipment maintenance. However, he credits his department for the nomination.
“I am surprised and honored to be recognized,” said Reyes. “My nomination really is a recognition for our department and what teamwork can accomplish in an ongoing effort to provide clean and clear water for residents residing in our water districts.”
David Hazen is a longstanding veteran with 38 years of working experience at the County of Ventura and is currently the Superintendent for the County of Ventura Waterworks District. He handles a crew of 21, who work to operate and maintain the public water system in the City of Moorpark and the communities of Somis, Lake Sherwood, and Bell Canyon.
“I’m very humbled by this award because I do the best job I can. I’m proud of my crew because they are starting to see themselves as professional water distribution operators, not just maintenance workers,” said Hazen. “I constantly remind them of the importance of their job in providing clean, safe drinking water to the customers we serve, and encourage them to take pride their work.”
Nominees for the annual award were chosen by peers who had to select an office employee, an operations & maintenance employee, and a manager in their respective departments. Other nominees included are: Yvette Perez, Duane Foster, Chris Hooke and William Alonzo (Transportation), Kenji Miyata and Jim O’Tousa (Engineering Services), Ron Marotto and Stephanie Molina (Watershed Protection District), Sam Gonzalez (Water and Sanitation), and Kristina Colton (Central Services).
“We are very grateful and appreciate this group of hardworking employees who truly exemplify the core values of VCPWA,” said Ventura County Public Works Agency Director Jeff Pratt. “These nominees lead the way in excellence in every possible way.”
Please join us as we welcome Joan Araujo as the new Director of Central Services.
Joan is overseeing the VCPWA’s fiscal and accounting, information technology, strategic operations, human resources, administrative services, workplace safety, and real estate divisions.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Public Works Agency, a team of professionals dedicated to being the regional leader in providing effective, innovative, and sustainable Public Works services,” said Araujo.
Joan is very familiar with VCPWA and related projects. She has been with the County for ten years, working closely with VCPWA’s Engineering Services Department on a number of projects, including the five-story Family Medicine Residency and Specialty Care Center, the Conjeo clinic, and most recently, the Ventura County Medical Center Hospital Replacement Wing.
She has also collaborated with Real Estate Services on multiple leases, the sale of the Finance Administration Building on Santa Clara Street, and the purchase of an office building on Thille Road.
Araujo holds a Bachelor’s of Arts from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, and a Master’s of Science in Health Services Administration from University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She is a recent graduate of the county’s executive Leadership Excellence and Action Program, LEAP, with cohort five, alongside Glenn Sheppard, Brian D’Anna, and Debra Cavaletto, all of Public Works.
Our VCPWA Watershed Protection District (WPD) is pleased to announce that a $13.4 million grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has been awarded for the construction of the Santa Ana Bridge replacement.
The funding of the grant, which will directly support critical ecosystem restoration in Ventura County, is an integral component of the greater Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project, and one of five public infrastructure improvements that must be completed before the eventual removal of the Matilija Dam.
“This grant is a tremendous momentum builder contributing toward and carrying out the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project,” said Glenn Shepard, Director of VCPWA’s Watershed Protection District. “It is a major step forward in habitat restoration for endangered Southern California Steelhead, and will allow sediment to once again nourish our local beach coastline.”
Funding for the grant was provided by Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 Restoration Grant programs, which seek to further watershed restoration and other environmental protection projects of statewide importance.
“The Santa Ana Bridge project is an important step in bringing steelhead back to their historical habitat,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The Department is proud to support Ventura County and their partners as they work to realize this bold vision.”
For more information on the Restoration Grant programs and other environmental protection and restoration measures please visit wildlife.ca.gov/grants.
“I started here as a student worker when I was 17 and have now been at VCPWA for over 9 years. I work with a great group, they’ve always been very supportive in teaching me new things. It’s been a great experience, it’s a great agency to work for and with. And I’m looking forward to new experiences for the future that this agency has for me.”
– April Hernandez
“I’ve appreciated to opportunity to serve the people of Ventura County and the protection and advancement of public infrastructure, which is vital to our economic prosperity and the safety of our community.”