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2020 Annual Awards

Western Region IPMA-HR

The Western Region IPMA-HR Board proudly recognizes agencies and individuals through an annual awards program for remarkable achievements and contributions to the public-sector HR profession. The Annual Awards include the Muriel M. Morse Achievement Award, the Outstanding Chapter Award, the Agency Awards for Excellence, the Emerging Leaders Scholarship Award, and the Lagniappe Award as determined by the 2020 Western Region’s Awards Committee, this year’s annual award winners include:


The Muriel M. Morse Achievement Award is the region’s highest individual honor and is presented to a member of our organization who exemplifies the positive attributes that made Muriel M. Morse a memorable and worthy model in human resources management public service. This year’s distinguished winner is:

Neil Reichenberg

Executive Director at IPMA-HR

Neil Reichenberg is the Executive Director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR). He has worked for IPMA-HR for 39 years and as the executive director for the past 23 years. As Executive Director, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the overall management of the association.

Neil worked tirelessly for the benefit of public sector human resources professionals. He set an example of integrity, ethics and excellence in his work. He continually provided legislative updates and has submits amicus briefs and comments on proposed legislation that will impact the profession. He has authored many articles for Governing magazine in addition to other publications, one being “Improving the Employee Experience”. He has been a mentor and friend to many of us IPMA-HR members over his career. He has worked with the best interest of IPMA-HR in mind in all that he does.

Mr. Reichenberg is a graduate of the University of Maryland and New York Law School. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and New York. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, which awarded him the designation of Certified Association Executive. He worked previously for a law firm specializing in labor and employment law.

Therefore, for these reasons and Neil's many roles  served for the local, region and national organization, it is our pleasure to recognize Neil as our 2020 Muriel M. Morse Achievement Award recipient. Congratulations Neil Reichenberg!


The Agency Awards for Excellence are designed to recognize the overall quality, accomplishments, and contributions of an agency human resources program that exceeds the normal operation of a good government human resources program. This year’s winners include:

City of Tacoma

The City of Tacoma’s Classification and Compensation Office was established in July 2017 and provides services to nearly 3,700 FTEs with one full-time Classification and Compensation Manager and the Senior Manager for Compensation and Benefits, who split time between several functions in addition to classification and compensation, including benefits, deferred compensation, and disability and leave management.

Prior to classification and compensation becoming an official function within their Human Resources Department, this work was completed by a variety of individuals as a secondary task without standard operating procedures. When the Human Resources Director wanted to formalize and centralize the function, individuals accepted the challenge and began developing standard operating procedures. The City Council and City leadership provided a directive to complete a classification and compensation study of all of their non-represented classifications. For the last year, their classification and compensation team has been working with a consultant to conduct the compensation study, build the classification and compensation division, and oversee the daily work of the office, including review and analysis of 365 reclassification requests and new position requests (yes, it equates to one a day for an entire year!).

City of Tacoma has guiding principles of integrity, service, excellence, and equity and are models of what an excellence looks like in their organization.

City of Rancho Cucamonga

The City of Rancho Cucamonga, Human Resources Department works collaboratively as a strategic and transformational business partner with all City departments to assist them in developing and maintaining a diverse high-quality workforce that supports and fosters a dynamic, meaningful, and customer-oriented environment for Team RC members. They embrace innovation and creativity in all aspects of our agency culture to provide a seamless and engaging candidate and employee experience citywide.

This past year, their HR Department in collaboration with the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Protection District used these culture strengths in our recruitment and marketing strategies and hosted our largest Firefighter recruitment process to date. Creativity, diversity and inclusion were at the forefront of this process. They attended career fairs at local community colleges, distributed workshop and recruitment information to over 100 colleges in California via the Handshake program, utilized all of our social media platforms to reach out to not just their community but also to distribute recruitment information to over 450,000 veterans through the Veteran 2 Veteran Facebook group and created an in depth video that takes an inside look at the culture and values of the Fire District.

In order to bridge the gap between diversity and inclusion and ensure that these new Team RC members felt included in their culture and in new roles, they invited new recruits to participate in a Strength Development self-assessment training on their first day with the Battalion, Deputy and Fire Chief as well as the City Manager. This activity allowed new Firefighters to foster and develop more meaningful relationships with their colleagues and supervisors and gain a deeper connection, understanding and sense of belonging with the Team RC and Fire District culture and values.

They applied the same strategies to City recruitments by ensuring candidate and employee experience is top notch. Starting from the beginning of the recruitment process, their HR team embraced a new vision for public sector job advertisements. Instead of using out of date job descriptions, established a collaborative relationship with department hiring managers to create graphic focused job flyers that are authentic, personalized and provide the candidate a day to day perspective of what the position entails.

They want to continuously provide the tools, resources and supportive work environment to allow employees to succeed throughout their employee experience. Their team is continuously striving to foster a culture that allows employees to feel motivated and engaged and provides an open and supportive space for staff to express their innovative ideas.

By taking on the role of a strategic and transformational partner focused on leadership, culture, talent, and communication, they continue to provide the tools and opportunities to further encourage and develop their most important resource, their employees.

Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach HR Change Agents have been tasked with attracting, acquiring and retaining the best, the brightest, the committed, the talented to fill the agency’s 80 plus vacancies. Recognizing that Talent Acquisition is for not without strong retention measures in place, this team set out to create an employment experience that would be revealed by most in any sector. The employment experience includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Candidate Connect – Prior to submitting an application, candidates are invited to attend an informational session regarding the position they are applying for. HR and the Hiring Division collaborate on the session agenda. The potential candidates learn about the Port, the division, the position, the expectation of the hired incumbent, benefits and the selection process. At the end of the session, candidates can make an intelligent decision whether to make the Port their employer of choice.
  • Paperless Process – Recognizing that the Port is a leader in environmental stewardship, there is conscious decision not to utilize a great deal of paper. HR, Hiring managers and interview panel members utilize iPads to review cover letters, resumes and applications. End users consistently rave about the ease and efficiency of the process, coupled with the division’s commitment reduce its carbon footprints.
  • Succession Planning Initiative – In the true spirit of operational excellence, the Port is embarking its first ever structured succession planning initiative. The plan has three components: Succession Planning (Position-focused); Visionary Leadership Academy (People-focused); Port to Port (Professional Development-focused). The goods movement industry is keeping a watchful eye on the success of these programs, with hopes that the model can be replicated and implemented in other Ports for years to come.
  • Port Connect – Again, in the spirit of operational excellence, the Port has embarked on a professional development series entitled, “Port Connect – Proven Leadership Series”. Leaders from around the country are invited to come and speak with Port staff regarding the highs, lows, knows and slows of leadership.

In addition, more than half of the HR team are professionally certified. Certifications include: IPMA-SCP, CP, SHRM, SPHR, PHR, AWI, DMC, World at Work and CPE. These are exciting times at the Port of Long Beach, as we continue to set the standard of excellence for others to follow.


The Outstanding Chapter Award was developed to recognize and honor a chapter that has made and sustained innovation and diversity in chapter programs, resourcefulness and support for the community in carrying out the goals of IPMA-HR, or a chapter that has shown the most improvement or progress. The award for this year’s outstanding chapter is:

Sacramento - Mother Lode IPMA-HR Chapter

Accepted by:  Brody Lorda, 2020 Chapter President Elect

This past year, SACML-IPMAHR  engaged members by offering up entries into a drawing to win a 2020 Western Region conference registration and believed that this was an innovative program that did exactly what they had hoped, which was to engage members and to further support the mission of IPMA-HR. In August 2019, they hosted a membership appreciation event at the local AAA ballpark, free for their members which included a rented private patio and 50 members in attendance for a Rivercats game and BBQ dinner.

In addition, SACML IPMA-HR Chapter has committed to strengthening its relationship with the Western Region, and with IPMA-HR International. In 2018, when the WR conference was in Sacramento, five of the Chapter's Board members stepped into various conference chairperson roles. In addition, two members of the Sacramento Mother Lode Board also serve on the Western Region Board and are Conference Chairs for the 2020 conference in Anaheim. These dual (local/region) roles allow for better communication to local HR professionals about what is occurring within IPMA at the regional, national, and international levels.

Overall, they have an amazing, committed board that works hard to offer timely, relevant, and cost-effective programming to our local human resources community. The Chapter strives for continuous improvement in our operations and in the past year we gave our website a facelift; capitalizing on this technology to allow for branded messaging to their members. The Chapter holds monthly Board Meeting conference calls to receive updates on workshops and share new ideas. Their members don't just want to come to events, they want to join their Board too! For the past two election cycles, they have had more nominees than Board slots available. This speaks to our Board's commitment and enthusiasm to the profession and IPMA-HR as an organization.

Congratulations Brody and the entire leadership team of the Sacramento - Mother Lode Chapter of  IPMA-HR for being our 2020 Outstanding Chapter award winner!


Established just last year, the goal of this program is to support the development of emerging HR professionals in the public sector. This year’s winner includes:

Kaitlyn Montez

Senior Human Resources Analyst, City of West Sacramento, California


This award is given to the individual who consistently goes above beyond for their three C’s: Colleagues, Customers, and Community. This year's winner includes:

Brody Lorda, IPMA-SCP, PHR

Assistant Human Resources Director, County of Yolo, California

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