City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 121516
Tracy Colunga Named Innovation Team Director
Alejandra (Alex) Basquez
Director of Human Resources

Today City Manager Patrick H. West named Tracy Colunga the Director of the City’s Innovation Team (i-team). Ms. Colunga brings more than 10 years of professional experience with the City of Long Beach, including eight years in a management capacity.

“Ms. Colunga is a trusted community leader who will lead our efforts to research and develop solutions to help move our City forward,” said Mr. West. “She will be a great resource and partner to the community and to our City departments."

Ms. Colunga has served as the City’s Neighborhood Relations Officer since 2015. Under her leadership, the City has garnered $3.1 million in federal, state, and private grants to work with residents to co-create human-centered solutions that improve safety and livability. She spearheaded the development of Safe Long Beach Violence Prevention Plan, the City’s Language Access Policy implementation and most recently My Brother’s Keeper Long Beach Local Action Plan implementation. In addition, she oversees the Long Beach Human Relations Commission and the Long Beach Gang Reduction and Intervention Program. She administered the U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Grant for the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department from 2007 to 2012. She started her career with the City of Long Beach as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator in 2006.

“I'd like to thank City Manager West for entrusting me to continue the amazing work of our Innovation Team,” said Ms. Colunga. “I look forward to working with residents, businesses, and the entire Long Beach community-- especially our dedicated colleagues in City government-- to develop innovative solutions that achieve meaningful results.”

She is replacing John Keisler, who was promoted to the position of Director of Economic and Property Development.

“John has done a fantastic job as the City’s first i-team Director,” said Mr. West. “We are excited for him to increase economic opportunities for our residents, entrepreneurs, and families in his new position.”

Ms. Colunga holds a Master’s Degree of Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. She was a part-time lecturer in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for five years and recently joined the faculty as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Masters of Social Work Program. She is a longtime resident of Long Beach.

Ms. Colunga’s appointment will be effective January 3, 2017, although the transition of duties will begin immediately to maintain continuity of the i-team’s work.

The i-team was made possible by a three year, $3 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015. Since its inception the Long Beach i-team has attracted approximately $750,000 in outside funding to support economic development initiatives such as the City’s new business portal for entrepreneurs BizPort, the Harvey Milk Park Project, and the Economic Development Blueprint project in partnership with the City’s Economic Development Commission.

About the Innovation Team

Bloomberg Philanthropies believes city leaders need a dedicated focus on innovation – and began investing in city hall innovation teams (i-teams) in 2012. The City of Long Beach is one of nearly 20 cities around the world that is participating in the program. Launched in 2015 by Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach’s i-team works closely, and supportively, with their colleagues across city government — offering them a different set of tools and techniques to innovate more effectively. In partnership with these colleagues, the i-team aims to deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve by building empathy for the people impacted by it and then work quickly and creatively to co-create and test solutions that deliver meaningful results for residents. For more information on the City of Long Beach Innovation Team, please visit or follow them on Twitter @iteam_longBeach and Facebook