June 30, 2021
Before him, many men in Nick Pendleton’s extended family were craftsmen. Some were simply handy with the endless projects associated with home or auto upkeep, while others — including his father, a general contractor — were professionals.
Regardless of their day jobs, they were all mechanically inclined and enjoyed working with their hands,” Pendleton remembers. “Growing up around that, I learned to enjoy it too.”
Pendleton graduated from Camarillo High, in Ventura County, and attended Moorpark College. After his dad passed away in 1998, he moved with his mom to the Washington D.C. area, where she had family. His uncle, a carpenter, helped get him a job in 2002 with Mauck Zantzinger & Associates, a general contractor specializing in high-end custom homes.
“I worked in the field as a carpenter for about three years,” he remembers. “Then they moved me up to project management. I understood the drawings, and I think they saw in me the willingness to take on a more managerial role. I had always envisioned that this field is what I would go into.”
Pendleton also picked up good relational skills from a pair of early mentors, he says. “I do try to be diplomatic and fair with all parties on a project. Problems come up, and getting bent out of shape on a job site is not productive — it’s not going to help solve the problem.”
After more than 15 years with Mauck Zantzinger, Pendleton moved back to Ventura. “It’s always felt like home,” he says, adding that his weekend go-to is setting out on his mountain bike in the Los Padres National Forest backcountry or in Sycamore Canyon, near Point Mugu. These days, he rides a Specialized Epic Evo on serious trails. On a big job site with a lot of acreage between project buildings, you might spot him on a custom ride cobbled together with spare parts and a basket.
“Life is work and some downtime and weekend trips to the backcountry are necessary,” he says. “I try to escape civilization for a bit when I can.”
Careerwise, he knew exactly what he wanted to be doing when he returned to California. He scouted out the architects who were building the best custom homes in the region to ask which builders they liked working with. Giffin & Crane was on the shortlist. “Santa Barbara was where these kinds of projects were happening,” he remembers, “and I knew I didn’t want to work in L.A.”
Pendleton came aboard in 2018 as a project manager. Giffin & Crane Executive Vice President Derek Shue said Pendleton’s experience back east played a big role in the decision. Plus, Giffin & Crane is similar in size and structure to Pendelton’s former employer.
“I like the high-end residential market because the clients are in the position to build things the right way,” Pendleton says. “And I’ve always appreciated being able to build historically significant buildings true to their original design and being able to work with these architects in Santa Barbara. If you like building well and working alongside extremely talented people in a beautiful setting, this is the place to do it.”