Kudos! Today's High Fives

“Be proactive. Get involved. Deliver on your promises. And make sure to have fun along the way.”

Name: Marion Thatch

Occupation: Marketing director

Home: Danville

Achievement: An employee of AMEC Geomatrix, an Oakland-based environmental science and engineering consulting firm, has been named Marketer of the Year by the San Francisco chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, which advises marketers in the architectural, engineering and construction fields. She attributes her success to promoting key technical staff and developing strong client relationships.

“I’m not sure how I feel about receiving extravagant birthday tributes. Well, better that than the alternative.”

Name: Robert Commanday

Occupation: Music critic

Home: Oakland

Achievement: Just turned 86, Commanday remains active as writer, educator and occasional choral conductor. A leading music critic in The City for more than four decades, he had served as president of the Music Critics Association of North America. A decade ago, he created San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV.org), which has become a major online publication, serving classical-music artists and audiences.

“As we move into our 60th year as a service club, I want this to be the best year ever, and with your help, we can do it.”

Name: Pete Nannarone

Occupation: Professor, retired police commander

Home: San Carlos

Achievement: Nannarone was recently installed as the president of the San Carlos Rotary Club at the organization’s annual black-tie appreciation dinner at the Hotel Sofitel. His primary goals for the group — one of the city’s first service clubs — are focusing on community involvement, communication within the club and fundraising for local scholarships.

“Our club members have delivered thousands of dictionaries to third-graders, provided millions of dollars towards college scholarships and other projects.”

Name: Eric E. Schmautz

Occupation: Corporate strategist

Home: San Rafael

Achievement: The community leader, who works at Wells Fargo Bank, assumed the voluntary position of president of Rotary Club of San Francisco for 2008-09.

“I am looking forward to my next 25 years.”

Name: Ruth Ann Swenson

Occupation: Singer

Home: San Francisco, Napa

Achievement: Earlier this month, at the final performance of San Francisco Opera’s summer season, soprano Ruth Ann Swenson received the San Francisco Opera Medal, the company’s highest honor. The event came 25 years to the month after Swenson’s professional debut in the War Memorial Opera House, when as an Adler Fellow, she sang the role of Despina in “Cosi fan tutte.” The singer, who just completed performing the difficult role of Ginevra in Handel’s “Ariodante” — and who recently has overcome breast cancer and chemotherapy — accepted the award from General Director David Gockley.

Giant arachnid named top public-art work

Big, bronze, and distinctively leggy, “Crouching Spider,” on view at San Francisco’s Pier 14, has been named one of the best public-art works in the United States by Americans for the Arts.

Created in 2003 by renowned artist Louise Bourgeois as part of a series, the sculpture was made specifically for exhibition in San Francisco. Its presence here is part of the Arts Commission’s Sculpture in the City program. Originally slated for an eight-month stay at Pier 14, the 27-foot-long work, on loan to the city by the artist, will now remain at the Embarcadero site through May 2009, the Arts Commission reports, citing positive public response to the metal arachnid.

Americans for the Arts is a nonprofit devoted to advancing the arts in the United States. Boston Architectural Center president Ted Landsmark and environmental artist Jody Pinto selected the honored art projects, 45 in all. The works, which were created or installed in 2007, were officially recognized at the annual Public Art Year in Review conference session, held last month.

Real estate agent pedals to the tune of $3,000

Abigail Picache, a Pacific Union GMAC real estate agent, pedaled 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in seven days, raising thousands of dollars for AIDS/LifeCycle7, an annual event benefiting people living with HIV and AIDS.

“Thanks to contributions of friends, family, colleagues and clients, I raised more than $3,000,” said Picache, who works from Pacific Union’s Opera Plaza office. “The money they donated supports the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.”

Picache, a college athlete who says she loves mental and physical challenges, already has registered to for next year’s AIDS/LifeCycle8 ride. “This has been a sublime experience. I feel compelled to continue my efforts in raising awareness about the effect of HIV and the growing need for services as the number of people living with the disease continues to grow.”

It’s not surprising Picache was named Pacific Union’s Opera Plaza Agent of the Month in May. Her 14 years of expertise span sales, marketing and negotiating in real estate, financial and technology industries.

Happy anniversaries

1860: Novelist Owen Wister was born in Germantown, Pa; the writer’s 902 novel “The Virginian” was instrumental in creating the myth of the American cowboy.

1911: Pilot Harry N. Atwood landed at on the White House lawn to accept an award from President William Taft, marking the first time a flight ended at the national landmark.

1945: Dr. Spock’s “Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care” was published. The Best-selling work has sold more than 50 million copies.

1951: Coming in first at the Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park, Citation, in his last race, became the most winning thoroughbred in horse racing. He earned $1,085,760 in his career.

1987: The second-longest game in All-Star Game history was played in Oakland, as the National League defeated the American League in a 2-0 shutout in 13 innings.

Send us your good news

We want to hear from you about Bay Area residents’ accomplishments and achievements. Do you know someone who’s done something good? E-mail kudos@sfexaminer.com.

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