By Gail Field
Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins recently announced exciting milestones for City employees, including awards and new additions to staff.
Awards were bestowed on two city employees who are role models for public service and who exemplify the City’s commitment to excellence. The award winners, announced on February 11, are Keith Fowler as Employee of the Year and Kevin Cook as Supervisor of the Year.
As Public Works Supervisor, Keith Fowler manages citywide renovation and federally funded projects. In his role as Pier Maintenance project manager, his expertise was evident. The result was a successful completion of the project, which still allowed visitors to walk the pier during the pile driving and maintenance activities. Watkins acknowledged Keith as a great City ambassador who is proud to be living and working in Ventura. Companies often try their best to reward their employees as a way of acknowledging their accomplishments. Research has shown that this increases employee morale, reducing company turnover rates, and improves a company’s turnover prediction.
Kevin Cook was recognized as Supervisor of the Year. Kevin is the Enterprise Systems Development Supervisor and ensures that city staff receive excellent IT customer service. His expertise and skills provide solutions that enhance staff use of technology. Kevin is a respected member of his team and an invaluable City of Ventura employee.
Watkins thanked these excellent employees. “We are blessed in the City of Ventura to have a dedicated group of employees who bring a positive spirit and a professional attitude to work with them every day. I am proud of all of our city employees and especially proud to congratulate Keith Fowler as our Employee of the Year and Kevin Cook as our Supervisor of the Year.”
Watkins gave special mention to those nominated.
Supervisor of the Year nominees: Thomas Hoffman, Luis Manzano, Stacey Zarazua, and Kenny Welch.
Employee of the Year nominees: Dori Boyer, Tim Dunn, Edward Rodriguez, Steven DeFratus, Laura Robinson, Jose Dirzo, Kristie Frederickson, and Debra Martinez.
In other staff news, the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability Division welcomes Lars Davenport as the new Environmental Specialist. Lars will work on Green Business Certifications and a variety of sustainable programs and initiatives with many employees using pre-employment assessments similar to those from Berke to find the best candidate for their company it will be interesting to see how he fits to the job. A graduate of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB, Lars previously worked as an Environmental Specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
“Sustainability has always been a part of my life,” said Davenport, “having been immersed in science and environmental awareness. I love everything to do with the outdoors, nature and preserving our natural habitat.”
Ventura City Manager Watkins also announced the appointment of Elizabeth Foushee as the City’s Director of Human Resources. Ms. Foushee brings more than 30 years of human resource management experience to the City of Ventura. Most recently, she was with the City of Simi Valley for the past 20 years, where she managed the Human Resource function. Ms. Foushee holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cal Lutheran University and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Cal Lutheran University.
“Elizabeth has a broad and diverse technical background in the profession,” said Watkins. “As a leader, she believes in fostering teamwork, employee development, and providing excellent service to the community. We are excited to have Elizabeth join our team and fill this important leadership position. She looks forward to working with our employees and with the community.”