Four Port Commissioners and staff honored two long-time Port of Redwood City employees at a luncheon this week, Rita Artist, executive assistant/clerk of the board since 1999, and Santiago Talamantes, lead maintenance worker since 1996, both of whom retired this month.
"No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden for another," Port Executive Director Mike Giari said of Artist. "For the past 17 years, Rita's role as executive assistant has lightened my burden. Rita has not only assisted me and staff but also a total of nine commissioners, our five current ones and four others who previously served."
Effective assistants are the real gatekeepers in the world, Giari added. "Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. That describes Rita. Anyone who has tried to do minutes from a meeting might take them for granted. But believe me, it takes a talent like Rita constantly exhibited to listen at our Port Commission meetings and write an accurate summary of what was said and the actions taken."
Giari lauded Artist for her role in many Port public events. "Many times going beyond her job description and beyond an eight-hour work day, Rita was a significant cog in the effort to put on public events at the Port. And she was a champion in arranging for the Port's annual art contest for school children".
Giari also commended Talamantes for his nearly 20 years at the Port. Giari said, "He served the Port for so long he was like a fixture - always there, always taken for granted and never disappointing.
"Santiago probably knows every inch of this Port better than anyone, as he and Jorge Ganzoza teamed to provide what I consider an exceptional maintenance staff. The word maintenance fails to accurately describe the complexity of duties and responsibilities that Santiago carried out for the Port, always professionally, diligently and completely."
Giari told commissioners at the luncheon - Chair Dick Claire, Dick Dodge, Ralph Garcia, and Lorianna Kastrop - "I for one can attest that it will be difficult if not impossible to fill Rita's and Santiago's positions with the caliber of hardworking employees that they have been."