Andrew Vonnegut grew up in Monterey County, where the family business was a steel fabrication company, located along Highway 101 just south of Salinas. Vonnegut left home to attend UCSB and the University of Minnesota, but he had learned enough about the trade growing up to recognize a good deal when he saw one.
In 2012, he and Kim Kotnick purchased Delta Welding and Fabrication, which had already been in business 20 years. Today, its seven ironworkers and three managers operate out of large shop next door to Channel City Lumber, in Goleta. Like many top-quality trade shops along the South Coast, Delta prefers to do business locally. “Most of our projects are in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Montecito,” says Vonnegut. “And we have a number of projects in Hollister Ranch and do some select work in the Carpinteria and Buellton areas.”
We caught up with Vonnegut to get the latest on Delta.
G&C: Talk a bit about the transition happening now.
Vonnegut: Kim and I recently sold Delta Welding to one of our former employees, Peter Doctors, and his wife, Kimberly Garden. Peter is a civil engineer who had been working with us for a few years. He has an ideal background and personality to lead Delta, and the transition has been really easy because he was already involved with most of our projects and clients.
What strengths do Peter and Kimberly bring to the company?
Peter is a civil engineer, and structural engineering is a subset of civil. We would not have considered selling, but Peter is in many ways a much better fit for the company than I ever was. As I understand it, there are very few engineers running companies like this. Peter loves to build things, not just design them, so it’s a natural fit and an advantage for Delta and our clients. Kimberly is a super-talented business and marketing professional — a great asset for the business.
Are you going to work as a consultant?
Yes, for as long as Peter and Kimberly want me to or feel that I can add some value. I love building things and plan to stay in the trades even if in a different area than steel.
Thinking back, when did you first work a Giffin & Crane project and what was the nature of the work?
Our first Giffin & Crane job was a combination of structural and architectural steel in Sycamore Canyon. We knew of Giffin & Crane’s reputation and had been trying to work with them for some time. We finally convinced them to give Delta a chance, and since then we’ve worked together on numerous projects. We appreciate Giffin & Crane’s high-quality work, attention to detail, and professionalism. We have been fortunate to work with them from the design stage through execution — this benefits the owners and everyone else involved in the project.
How would you describe Delta’s working relationship with G&C over the years?
Every construction project has challenges and problems to solve. Giffin & Crane staff are experienced, committed, professional, and solution-focused, which really makes them stand out in this industry and a pleasure to work with.
Thanks, Andrew, and good luck.
Surrounded by oaks, the outdoor living room of this French farmhouse (pictured) enjoys mountain views and a seasonal creek, notes designer Elyse Pardoe. The property’s ambiance is rural and quiet, yet shops shops and restaurants are just a short walk away, she adds. Such are the perks of geography and climate while making a home in Santa Barbara, and Pardoe has an experienced eye for bringing together sophisticated architecture and design, inside and out, with the region’s natural beauty. Her company, Hall Pardoe Design — founded with her mother, Jill Hall — offers design/build services, interiors, and staging. We caught up with her to talk about the family’s multigenerational artistic bent and finding peace in the chaos of a creative life.
G&C: What drew you to design early on?
Pardoe: I grew up surrounded by design. My grandmother was an artist and had an array of artist friends that peppered my thoughts with ideas. My mother started out in set design and later moved to interior design. We joined forces and continued to do building and interior design together.
What has been your favorite work-related field trip or vacation?
I am incapable of choosing one. My two favorites were a trip to Italy and a trip to France with my mother, exploring every tiny and large detail of design.
What is your favorite public space in Santa Barbara?
Architect Britt Jewett’s office building.
Another location you find pleasing to the eye?
Post Ranch, Big Sur.
Where do you find design inspiration outside of work?
Everywhere in nature, so I can steal ideas and bring as much of what I feel there indoors.
What do you most like about your job?
Manifesting the ideas in my head and seeing them come to life.
What do you most dislike about your job?
Witnessing the waste of materials.
If you had to go back to pick another profession, what would it be?
I had another profession before design, working with children. I would have to say, I would return to that.
What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful amongst the chaos of creativity.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Finding balance in all things in life.
What is your greatest fear?
That we as a people will not learn to care for the planet properly before it is too late.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Meandering through nature as if I had no responsibilities.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to sing on key.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That is a difficult one. I am a constant work in progress and embrace growth immensely. I also know that there are two sides to many “flaws” that enable the desired side, and if given up, one must lose both sides.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to listen and interpret a clients words and apply it in a way that meets their desires.
What is your most treasured possession?
My grandmother’s books.
Which living person do you most admire?
My husband who has morals that seem somehow outdated these days and the patience of a saint.
What do you most value in your friends?
Who is your favorite fictional character?
I’m stumped. I think my mind is drawn to real life characters.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Also, a difficult one. I am hard pressed to select a few. Anyone who is genuinely kind is a hero to me.
On what occasion do you lie?
Possibly when the truth would be too painful for someone to hear.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What word or phase do you most overuse?
Can’t say I have one.
What is your motto?
Be authentic in expressing yourself in every area of life.