Outstanding Employees – January/February 2020

Community EngagementBlog, Employees

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Inland Regional Center is an awesome place to work! If you ask our staff, they will tell you time and time again that “the people” are what make IRC great. Our team is made up of more than 780 dedicated employees working to support people with developmental disabilities in the Inland Empire. Each month, IRC staff nominate their outstanding colleagues in our Employee Recognition program. In this blog, we are highlighting the contributions of our January and February awardees.


January Winner – Marie Harris

Everyone loves Marie Harris! Marie is the Secretary to the Director of Children’s Services, which makes her one busy lady. But that doesn’t stop her from making time for others and spreading sunshine throughout the agency! Her colleagues shared this about her “When Marie walks down the hall, she has a smile and friendly greeting for everyone. She always finds time for the staff’s needs, and never makes anyone feel like she is too busy for them. She gets things done, always with a kind word for those around her.” 

We asked Marie a few questions to get to know her better. Here is what she shared!

What do you like most about working at IRC? 

Well, IRC is my second home! I have so many fantastic memories of working here. In fact, I just celebrated my 35th anniversary here at IRC

Tell us about your position and what a typical day might be like.

I assist a Director. When you assist a Director, there is never a dull moment. We have a large number of clients in our School-Age and Transition departments, so our days are pretty full! 

How do you think this award reflects your personality and work here at the agency?

Yes, I think this award is very “me.” I keep it positive daily and try to make sure others feel great, too!

What do you like to do outside of work? 

I really enjoy all life has to offer. I love shopping, going to concerts, and trips to the beach and Las Vegas. I’m a green thumb and spend lots of time caring for my plants. I am a big sports fan: track and field, basketball and football. Back in the day, I got a chance to meet with one of my favorite San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Rice!

Tell us a fun fact about you! 

My family just welcomed baby Xavier, my latest great-grandchild! 


January Winner – Juanita Aguiar

Juanita chose to not be featured on the blog, but we would like to thank her for her hard work and dedication to our clients, vendors, and staff. Juanita works as an Authorization Specialist in our Purchase of Service Department. She is known for her ability to balance a challenging workload with efficiency, patience, and professionalism. 


February Winner – David Ledesma 

David Ledesma is the eternal optimist, seeing the positive in every situation. He is a Consumer Services Coordinator in our Foothill Mountain Adult unit. David’s clients and their families know that they can always count on him for amazing service and support. His teammates had these kind words to share about him. “David is a pleasure to work with around the office. He possesses a sense of humor that is appreciated by all. Best of all, we know we can go to him for great advice, work-related or personal.”

Wanting to get to know him better we asked David a few questions. Here are his responses.  

What do you like most about working at IRC? 

I feel totally blessed to be working for IRC. I have worked in the field of disabilities for twenty-five years and have always admired the work of the different Regional Centers. Working for IRC, the Foothill Mountain Adult team, and our IRC families, is something I look forward to every day.  

Tell us about your position and what a typical day might be like.

When I am in the office my time is spent completing paperwork, answering the phone, and communicating with my colleagues. Collaborating with my coworkers is an important part of my job. As the saying goes, “listen to everyone and learn from everyone because nobody knows everything, but everyone knows something”.  

My caseload is in outlying areas, and it usually takes me far from the office. So, when I am in the field, I will try to visit a minimum of three to four families a day. Even though I stack my meetings I try to make sure that I give my families ample time to discuss any of their concerns or just give us time to catch up. 

How do you think this award reflects your personality and work here at the agency?

I am deeply honored. It is always my hope to try and bring a positive atmosphere wherever I am. To be given this award tells me that I am doing something right, whether it is my dry, sarcastic humor or just giving an ear to listen. 

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Outside of work, I spend time with my family traveling, drinking coffee, reading, looking for fountain pens, and attending Sandals Church in Riverside. 

Tell us a fun fact about you! 

Those in my unit know about my love of pens and my recent love of fountain pens. When I was a child my family would attend local city fairs and festivals where the local business would give out marketing pens. After the festival, my dad, brother, and I would sit and share our loot with each other. Now don’t tell my wife, but I have four banker boxes full of these types of pens. It wasn’t until recently that my officemate asked me about upping my pen collection to something a little bit more collectible. That was the start of my fountain pen addiction. Something about slowing down to take care of something in this fast-paced world that is centering for me. During meetings, you will often see me writing with a fountain pen with the chosen ink of the week.  


February Winner – Christine Habal

Christine always exceeds expectations when it comes to her role as a Client Support Technician in our Medicaid Waiver Department. She is knowledgeable, savvy, and approachable. Here is what her colleagues told us about her. “Christine knows all of the Medicaid Waiver programs. When she prepares our files for adding and re-certifying clients, the information is always accurate, up-to-date, and thoroughly researched. And she is always willing to take time away from her own tasks to help others.”

Christine, pictured with her husband, Armand.

To get to know Christine, we asked her a few questions. Here’s what she shared with us. 

What do you like most about working at IRC? 

I really enjoy the people I work with, the relationships I have built here at IRC, and the variety of job duties I have. That, and there is always something new to learn.

Tell us about your position and what a typical day might be like.

I work on two main Home and Community Based Services Medicaid waiver programs: 1915 (c) and 1915 (i). I help answer questions for my peers. We always have challenging cases that require collaboration with multiple people in my unit and I enjoy figuring out the answers to our challenges. I also enjoy being a sponsor and training new staff. 

How do you think this award reflects your personality and work here at the agency?

I really enjoy helping people and doing the best job I can. I am touched that a person, or people in my unit, think the work I do deserves this award. I just want to say thank you so much for your support.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

I always want to be with my family. My husband and I taking our kids places and doing things together is the best, Our families highest priority is going to church and serving God the best we can.

Tell us a fun fact about you! 

I attended Bible College at my church. I took a break for a while to help while our kids are in school but I look forward to going back soon to complete the entire course.

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Community Engagement

Inland Regional Center's Community Engagement Unit can be reached at [email protected]

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