January 15, 2024
Planetwide, you’ll likely find nobody better suited than Bibi Taylor to harmonize the seemingly disparate worlds of wild-river fly fishing and high-end construction management. She’s got both in her blood.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Taylor’s simultaneous exposure to the construction industry and fly fishing came early as her artist parents launched a house-painting business primarily so they could suspend operations each summer to take family trips to the trout rivers of Montana.
Those childhood learning experiences in nature — and getting dragged to job sites at a young age — would inform how she performed in the modern-day work world.
“I love being outside, and fly fishing,” Taylor says. “It’s kind of like meditating — you focus on everything around you at the moment. Same with managing construction projects — things are always changing, requiring attention to the details and creative problem solving.”
After her parents split, Taylor’s mom took over the painting business. “Being a single mom, she had to make it work,” Taylor remembers. “She had a project in Santa Barbara” — painting a 1917 Reginald Johnson villa owned by music and film icon Burl Ives — “and ended up staying.” Over the years, Taylor says, her mom got more into specialty finishing, including on a few Giffin & Crane projects, and created a niche for herself.
After graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 1990, Taylor moved to Santa Barbara to work with her mom. During summers, she worked with her dad, a licensed outfitter, as a fishing guide in Montana and Wyoming. It’s a lifelong craft she still practices today, with her own kid and his friends.
In 2002, Taylor upped her career game with a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University. Right away she landed a job in corporate finance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good fit, she said. “I hated it.”
Her first taste of construction project management was at Lazy Acres on the Mesa as the high-end grocery store grew its appeal, she remembers. “I got my foot in the door as a project coordinator alongside one of the owners, who became a mentor.” For several years after, she worked as an independent contractor on large residential projects, finding her own niche.
While rewarding, the constant hustle was also challenging. Wrapping up a large project in 2019, she decided to search for a position with the “best general contractor in Santa Barbara,” she says. Giffin & Crane was at the top of the list.
“Giffin & Crane is known for quality workmanship, relationships with top subcontractors, and its longevity and solid reputation,” she says. Unsolicited, she mailed a letter to company headquarters. Six months later, she got the call. Taylor came aboard as a project manager in October 2019.
Now as a senior project manager, she looks forward to opportunities to provide guidance to others breaking into the industry. Taylor still draws inspiration from her contractor mom, now retired, who taught her the ropes, and enjoys paying it forward.
“I love this industry,” she says. “Being a part of a team that creates something long-lasting for others to enjoy is challenging and so rewarding.”