Staff Recognition

Superior Accomplishment Awards


Steve Thompson receiving his award from Executive Officer Patrick Pulupa and Region 5 Board Members


  • Steve Thompson, Assistant Governmental Program Analyst

Steve Thompson began working at the Central Valley Water Board’s Rancho Cordova office in 2010 and serves as the Region’s Personnel Liaison. Steve plays an important role for our Region and acts as the liaison between our employees and the State Board’s HR Branch, ensuring smooth communication and prompt resolution of all human resources and payroll-related functions. Steve coordinates the process of reviewing and preparing various personnel documents including but not limited to the development of duty statements, job announcements, and Requests for Personnel Action (RPAs).

Steve supports approximately 140 positions in the Rancho Cordova office and provides consistent and prompt responses to a wide variety of HR questions involving payroll, benefits, new hire paperwork, and the State’s hiring process. Steve works diligently to ensure successful completion of all tasks and provides outstanding responsiveness and promptness given the volume of HR related transactions that cross his desk. On average Steve processes 250 RPAs per fiscal year, while constantly providing consistent high-quality direction and beneficial wisdom with a positive and professional attitude. Steve was also an integral part of State Board’s recent HR Consolidation Project, which supported our agency’s efforts to achieve consistency and compliance with all applicable HR laws, rules, and regulations.

Steve models the highest level of customer service, work ethic, and calm and steady demeanor and is a tremendous asset to our Region as a Personnel Liaison. For these reasons, Steve is deserving of this award.

Alisha Wenzel receiving her award from Executive Officer Patrick Pulupa and Region 5 Board Members


  • Alisha Wenzel, Engineering Geologist

Alisha Wenzel is being recognized for her accomplishments in organizing and implementing critical sampling in the aftermath of the Camp Fire. She is also being recognized for her role in the development of E. coli monitoring and a source tracking plan for the Lower American River.

In a limited period of time Alisha determined the funding and developed sampling protocols for the watershed affected by the Camp Fire. Alisha also organized the sampling crews and ensured that all the monitoring was conducted per required protocols. Her key coordinating role enabled collection of high-quality data for constituents potentially affecting the watershed that our agency, other government agencies, and the general public has relied upon to better understand the impacts of the fire. One specific example of where Alisha's determination kept the program on track is where sampling filters began plugging up with suspended material. Alisha determined that the only way to get the samples filtered was to drive them to a laboratory many miles away in the Bay Area. She immediately boarded the trusty Chevy pickup that SWAMP staff use and drove the samples to the Bay Area for filtration. Without this filtration step, data quality would have been impaired.

Alisha is also filling a key technical role in the development of E. coli sampling and a source tracking workplan for the Lower American River. She has helped to organize stakeholder meetings and provided important technical feedback on highly technical E. coli source tracking techniques in a complex watershed with numerous potential sources.  She also worked with staff to collect weekly E. coli samples in the Lower American River over the last year. This data set is being used as a key component to inform the source tracking workplan.

Alisha is conscientious, hardworking, and has a positive and cheerful nature. She is well deserving of this award.


Denise Soria receiving her award from Executive Officer Patrick Pulupa and Region 5 Board Members


  • Denise Soria, Water Resource Control Engineer

Denise Soria is receiving this award because she is a valuable member of our Non-15 Waste Discharge Requirements permit writing unit in the Fresno office. Denise has a willingness to take on the workload of new projects with a positive attitude and her experience allows her to be efficient and prioritize issues encountered on a project.

Denise has demonstrated her skill set for the entire permitting process from receipt and review of a permit application, conducting pre-permit site inspections to visualize all aspects of the discharge proposed by the discharger, identifying issues and getting them resolved early on in the process, drafting a permit for discharger and public review and comment, and presenting the permit for Board consideration.

Specifically, tasks in addition to the permitting process that Denise has completed recently include:

  1. Dealt with a complicated project of two facilities combining their discharges to one pond. Denise inspected the facilities, drafted a monitoring and reporting program, and a 13260 letter for the submittal of a Report of Waste Discharge,
  2. Prepared a Notice of Applicability for a small domestic wastewater treatment facility to be regulated under the State­ Wide General Waste Discharge Requirements for these types of facilities,
  3. Responded to multiple inquiries from discharges about annual fee invoices, requirements for Title 22 Engineering Reports, and other technical questions, and
  4. Drafted a memo and letter to a discharger after reviewing 14 technical reports for their discharge. She also assisted the disadvantaged community with questions about addressing their Cease and Desist Order.

Denise is a reliable and professional member in our Fresno office and is very deserving of this award.


Jason Schroeder receiving his award from Executive Officer Patrick Pulupa and Region 5 Board Members


  • Jason Schroeder, Engineering Geologist

Jason Schroeder is an Engineering Geologist in the Redding office's Groundwater Unit and is being recognized for his outstanding work performance on Underground Storage Tank and Site Cleanup Program cases. Jason joined the Central Valley Water Board two years ago, bringing with him more than nine years of experience working as an environmental consultant. Since joining the Groundwater Unit, Jason has applied his excellent technical and communication skills with a tenacity that has resulted in renewed movement on several stalled and challenging cases.

The Allied Washoe petroleum release case was one of Jason's initial focus areas after joining the Central Valley Water Board. The unaddressed impacts from this site have affected Quincy's sewer system and required shutting down a municipal supply well. After his efforts to work with the Discharger to implement the Cleanup and Abatement Order requirements did not produce results, he pressed forward with the enforcement process and presented an Administrative Civil Liability Order at the February Board meeting. The Board adopted the ACLO with a penalty in excess of $660,000. Jason is continuing to work with the Discharger on the necessary cleanup activities.

A team player and valued colleague, Jason is always willing to pitch in when needed. Over the past year, he has been part of Redding emergency response team and worked on the Redding office's Carr Fire response by assessing residential properties and conducting surface water sampling. In addition, Jason was integral to the initial response to 1,2,3-trichloropropane contamination detected in a school drinking water well in Gridley. His innovative approach to gathering information on this project is now being applied to sites elsewhere in the Central Valley Region. Jason's management team is very pleased to nominate him for this much-deserved Superior Accomplishment Award.