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Press Release
County of Orange Seal COUNTY OF ORANGE

October 20, 2003
Contact: Wida Karim
County Managers Receive Awards
(Santa Ana, CA) - Two County managers were honored this month for their professional achievements. Larry Leaman, recently retired Director of the Social Services Agency (SSA), was honored last week and Karen Roper, Homeless Prevention Specialist, received her award on October 17.

Leaman, on temporary assignment as Special Assistant to the Orange County Executive Officer, received the Executive Leadership Award on October 9 from the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) during its board of directors meeting in Sacramento. CWDA is a statewide association in which all 58 California counties participate.

Leaman was recognized for his leadership in chairing various CWDA committees and holding all three vice president positions during his 21 years as the SSA director. He was also honored for his contributions to human services programs at state and local levels. In addition, he led the association's efforts to reform the State Child Welfare System and documented the need for greater state funding of this program which counties are mandated to operate.

During his 31 years in County government, Leaman served as Director of the Human Services Agency and twice as Interim Director of the Health Care Agency. He is currently a commissioner on the Orange County Children and Families Commission.

Homeless Prevention Specialist Karen Roper received the Distinguished Service and Leadership Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). Roper was recognized for taking the lead in coordinating the County’s Continuum of Care Strategy and implementing the Homeless Management Information System, which promotes seamless service delivery for the homeless. She received the award at the NAEHCY annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Other County managers who received awards this year include the following.
On September 17, Mona Gustafson, Staff Specialist at SSA, was one of eight women who received the 2003 Women of Vision Award. Gustafson received the honor for her work with the Toys for Tots program, a collaborative of the Marines (Toys for Tots), Fire Department (Spark of Love), St. Vincent De Paul (non-profit), and the County’s Operation Santa Claus. This annual award was presented by We Give Thanks, Inc.

Joyce LaFleur and Jeff Welch, both of Integrated Waste Management Department, received the 2003 Association of Information and Imaging Management International Best Practices Award in July. They were honored for working as a team to help implement the County's Electronic Report Management and Imaging system.

Diane Thomas, APR, CEO Media Relations Manager, received the 2003 Distinguished Service Award in June from the Orange County Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (OCPRSA). Thomas’ contributions include service as chapter president, membership on Chapman University’s PR advisory committee and mentoring students.

Ignacio Ochoa, Chief, Public Works/Road Program/Traffic Engineering in Public Facilities and Resources Department received the Serafines de Orange County Mexican American Award in January. Ochoa received the award for his humanitarian and volunteer efforts. He helped design and build a church in Mexico. Serafines de Orange County is a non-profit organization working with the Anaheim Angels.