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Auburn Calif. – The appointment of Michael Willihnganz as Placer County Water Agency Director of Administrative Services was announced Monday (June 27) by PCWA General Manager David A. Breninger.

 “Michael’s career spans 30 years in public sector personnel and human resources management,” Breninger said.  “He brings extensive management experience to PCWA.”

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Willihnganz, a Rocklin resident, comes to the agency from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), where he served as chief of human resources and managed a division of 137 employees.

He said the opportunity to work with PCWA was too good to pass up.  “It’s a smaller organization with a terrific mission and one product,” he said.  “For me, it’s an opportunity to work within a much broader scope of activities.  Plus I’m a PCWA customer and I look forward to working close to home.”

In his new position, Willihnganz will direct an eight-person department and oversee human resources, safety, risk management and a range of administrative services and other activities.  He joined the agency on Monday (June 27).

Before CalPERS, Willihnganz served as assistant director of human resources for Napa County and earlier spent 13 years with the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District (SMUD).  At SMUD, he was responsible for human resources activities including staffing, policy administration and providing support for labor negotiations and the meet and confer process.
He began his career in 1981 with the Monterey County Human Resources Department after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin.  He earned a second master’s in industrial/organizational psychology from California State University, Sacramento.

Willihnganz is active in several professional organizations including the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA), the International Personnel Assessment Council and the Personnel Testing Council.  In 2006, he was recognized for outstanding achievement in human resources management with the IPMA Stephen E. Bemis Memorial Award of Excellence.

He fills the Administrative Services Director position that was previously held by Valerie Lord, a longtime member of the PCWA management team, who died unexpectedly in March.

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