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2015 Pride of San José Honorees
2015 Pride of San José Honorees Recognized at the 2016 State of the City Celebration

Mayor Sam Liccardo recognized recipients of 2015 Pride of San José Awards, along with honorees from each of the Council Districts, at the 2016 State of the City Celebration that took place on the morning of March 5 at the Overfelt High School. The Pride of San José honorees represent the highest level of public service and commitment to the City of San José and its residents. Honorees are chosen by the City Manager from nominations submitted by Department Directors and other Council Appointees.

City Manager Norberto Dueñas selected the following six teams for the 2015 Pride of San José awards based upon the Employee Values of Integrity, Innovation, Excellence, Collaboration, Respect and Celebration. Below you will find all of the honorees listed along with the project descriptions.


Community Spaces Activation Team

“Placemaking” is a modern approach to creating community spaces that promote health, happiness, wellbeing, and a sense of belonging. The San José Placemaking Team has inspired our residents to reimagine and reinvent shared public space through exciting programs like Viva CalleSJ, Winter in Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Summer in St. James, and Viva Parks. In 2015, the Placemaking Team implemented more than 60 public events and engaged thousands of residents in celebration of our community. Through constant communication, productive partnerships, and remarkable resourcefulness, this team has delivered amazing programs that have enriched the lives of our San José families residents and built a strong sense of community.

Team Members: Alvaro Celaya, Amy Chamberlain, Angel Rios, Anh Nguyen, Arian Collen, Avan Duong, Brandon Casper, Brian Clampitt, Brian Nelson, Douglas Gates, Duane Lindsay, Ed Solis, Elias Khoury, Kari Davisson, Katherine Thomas, Kim Walesh, Marco Hernandez, Maricela Avila , Marybeth Harasz, Matt Cano, Melina Iglesias, Mike Carrasco, Paul Smith, Rafael Gomez, Ryan Smith, Salvador Alvarez, Steve Hammack, Steve Payne, Suzanne Wolf, Tache Ludewig, Tammy Turnipseed, Thomas Troy, Zak Mendez

Hammer Theatre Reuse Team

The bankruptcy and closure of the San José Repertory Theatre in June 2014 represented a significant cultural, economic and emotional loss for San Jose. However, City staff quickly swung into action to secure the building, handle complex legal issues, and develop a strategy to reopen the theater under a new management structure. Over the following 21 months, the Hammer Theatre Reuse Team made tough decisions, learned from false starts, and encouraged creativity, as they worked with a committee of community leaders and performing arts professionals to identify a new operating model. Their intense efforts culminated on March 2, when the Hammer Theater officially reopened under the management of San Jose State University, which will bring a variety of programming for residents throughout the region to enjoy.

Team Members: Dan Keller, David Vossbrink, Elizabeth Klotz, Grace Martinez, Jim Shannon, Joe Garcia, John Wildemuth, Julia Cooper, Karen Park, Kerry Adams-Hapner, Kim Walesh, Marc Freitas, Mark Muser, Nina Grayson, Richard Ramirez

Inclement Weather Homeless Shelter Program Team

Regional shelters have limited capacity to protect the homeless from the life-threatening conditions posed by winter rain and cold weather. In response, San José launched a new program to operate overnight warming centers at four City-owned facilities and to create a unique collaboration with faith-based organizations to open temporary shelters at places of worship. With limited time to respond to this urgent need, an interdepartmental team that included the departments of Housing, Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, Library, Public Works, Police, and Fire worked quickly to launch a partnership with non-profits and faith-based organizations like HomeFirst and Catholic Charities. As a result, the new program now provides more than 150 beds of emergency shelter and support to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Team Members: Angel Rios, Anthony Ossenfort, Chu Chang, Dan Keller, Dave Olmos, Dean Whipple, Jeremy Shoffner, Jill Bourne, Johnny Dellinger, Kathryn Kaminski, Kelly Hemphill, Lauri Yarwasky, Lisa Valerio, Mary O'Meara, Michelle Amores, Michelle Covert, Patricia Deignan, Ray Bramson, Scott Bimrose, Serafin Parawan, Shasta Greene, Susan Walsh, Tomika Price

Library Hours Expansion Team

Libraries are critical to keeping our neighborhoods safe and providing learning resources to children after school and during the summer. And over a three-month period last spring, the Library Hours Expansion Team met the challenge of expanding services in all 23 branch libraries from four to six days per week. More than fifty Library employees worked feverishly to recruit 146 new hires and promote 59 employees in support of the six-day expansion at all library branches. Team members showed a deep commitment to service and collaboration as they developed a strategy to inform the community, engage residents at community celebrations, and achieve their goal in record time – all to the benefit of our entire community.

Team Members: Adrian Barrientos, Amber Hargreaves, Anna Fox, Becky Bame, Carmen Vital, Claudia Hernandez, Devika Tandan, Doris Krahn, Elizabeth Castaneda, Eric Berman, Eric Young, Hai Cao, Harpreet Bola, Heidi Dolamore, Jason Pell, Jean Herriges, Joan Bowlby, Jo-Ann Wang, John Muller, Jon Worona, Julie Oborny, Kary Bloom, Kate Roberts, Katie DuPraw, Kristen Van der Molen, Kristi Bell, Laurie Willis, Lessa Spitzer, Lisa Valerio, Luis Rodriguez, Margaret Yamasaki, Mario Ponce, Mark Lorensen, Matt Lopez, Michele Rowic, Moises Moreno, Monica Florez, Neil Rufino, Pam Crider, Patrick Fong, Priscilla Cramer, Randall Studstill, Renee Bettencourt, Sandra Stewart, Serafin Parawan, Shirley Tanase, Simone Williams, Tim Reif, Trish Sylvie, Vidya Kilambi, Yelena Giannuzzi

Over-the-Counter Permit Service Team

The new Over-the-Counter permit service makes it easier, faster, and cheaper for residential property owners to obtain building permits, saving a typical applicant $2,000 in permit costs. The team, led by employees from the departments of Public Works, Fire, and Planning, Building and Code Enforcement found that they could enable same-day plan review and permit issuance. They did this by simplifying the review process for projects that involved minimal structural changes, such as kitchen and bathroom remodels. This had the added benefit of allowing our staff to focus their attention on larger and more complex projects. Since its launch in July 2014, the program has been able to expand the size and type of eligible projects, and to date, nearly 1,400 permits have been issued via Over-the-Counter plan reviews.

Team Members: Albert Nissan, Alexander Sheldon, Amanda Lopez, Angelo Couloures, Annie Esget, Anthony Thornberry, Aparna Ankola, Arlene Lew, Avril Baty, Bill Bailey, Bill Mayne, Bryon Davis, Chu Chang, Cortney Atsatt, David Johnson, Donald Hall, Edwin Balquiedra, Eric Morgan, Evelyn Rodriguez, Geoff Parrish, Gordon Chester, Greg Brougham, Greg Rindfleisch, Harry Freitas, Helen Maddox, Jan Warne, John Ruch, Jose Federico, Jose Guerrero, Joyce Liu, Justin Daniels, Kevin Kilmer, Kristi Ojigho, Kristinae Toomians, Lance Willis, Lillian Hua, Lilybeth Gonzales, Lori Moniz, Martina Davis, Meera Nagaraj, Mike Tang, Rachel Rosenberg, Rhonda Buss, Rodney Fong, Sara Pauneto, Sherman Ong, Stephen Scanlan, Su Tran, Suparna Saha, Susan Walsh, Terri Batin, Theresa Santos, Tim Roberts, Tony Robinson, Wayne Newton

“Welcome San José” Immigrant Integration Team

The Welcoming San José Immigrant Integration Team exemplifies the value of respect through fair treatment, and honors diversity through its efforts to create a more welcoming environment for immigrants. The team includes representatives from multiple departments and community organizations who bring a wide range of experience and insight for serving the broadly diverse communities in San José. The team has developed strategies and partnerships with a number of organizations and public agencies throughout the region to help foster a more inclusive community. And together, they are helping immigrants become better established in a new world, handle the immense challenges of language and culture, and become productive members of our entire community. This team is responsible for bringing down walls and removing barriers, this team’s critical mission is to build hope.

Team Members: Angel Rios, Anthony Mata, Heidi Dolamore, Jacky Morales-Ferrand, Jeff Ruster, Jill Bourne, Julie Edmonds-Mares, Kim Walesh, Nidia Gomez, Zulma Maciel

Officer Michael J. Johnson

Officer Michael Johnson joined the San José Police Department in 2001, where he became a dedicated and highly-regarded officer who was loved in the community because of his genuine warmth and interest in helping others. During his 14 years with the Department, Officer Johnson worked as a patrolman, a court liaison and field training officer. He also specialized in prescription drug fraud crimes and was a member of the Specialist Rifle Program regularly competing alongside his father at the United States Police and Fire Championships.

On March 24, 2015, Officer Johnson was shot and killed while responding to an emergency call involving a suicidal man armed with a high-powered rifle who was threatening his wife in a domestic violence dispute.

Officer Johnson represents the best qualities of the San José Police Department. He was dedicated to his profession and to his community. He was committed to continuous improvement and to supporting his fellow officers. He was selfless and courageous.