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The Working Life: Tom Crandall

He has built a career as a construction supervisor, most recently overseeing the renovation of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Tom Crandall, a construction supervisor for Armstrong Associates, says he likes “problem solving and coming up with creative, efficient ways to make a job happen on deadline and on budget. That’s my job.”
Tom Crandall, a construction supervisor for Armstrong Associates, says he likes “problem solving and coming up with creative, efficient ways to make a job happen on deadline and on budget. That’s my job.”  (Jenn Kennedy photo / www.kennedypix.com)

There always seems to be a renovation or new building in the works in Santa Barbara, which bodes well for Tom Crandall, a construction supervisor. A minimalist with words, Crandall has a calmness about him that undoubtedly serves him well in overseeing dozens of workers as the one who has to answer at the end of the line.

For Crandall, construction is in the bloodline. All of his uncles were carpenters, as is his son. He left his native Rapid City, S.D., for Gillette, Wyo., where he worked summers in the oil fields as a derrickman and winters in construction.

”It was just too cold and I was hungry, so I moved to California,” Crandall said.

He settled in Lompoc for several years before moving to his current residence in Solvang.

Crandall worked his way up to construction supervisor, a position he now holds with Armstrong Associates, a local firm that provides a broad range of building, consulting and construction services.

Crandall is currently finishing a ground-up project for Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on the Eastside with Garcia Architects. He acknowledges that the project offered certain challenges, which he enjoys.

“I like problem solving and coming up with creative, efficient ways to make a job happen on deadline and on budget,” Crandall said. “That’s my job.”

The new building will have 8,500 square feet, compared with 4,300 in the old church. Additionally, the church was on the city’s list of buildings with historical value, which limited the amount and type of allowable changes. The building around the façade, which had to be carefully propped up during construction, was demolished. Crews matched the design details, such as the corbels under the roof eaves and double-hung windows of the facade and previous structure.

Crandall names two local renovations as his favorites to date. The first was the main branch of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, and the second was the overhaul of San Ysidro Ranch.

He said he works best under tight deadlines and thrives on the high-energy environment of a humming job site.

When asked what type of person makes the best hire, he said, “I need someone with experience, of course, but even more important is feeling like they are in it for more than a paycheck. They need to know the process is important and take pride in their work.”

Crandall initially said his favorite part of any job is the beginning because he enjoys laying out the plans and strategizing the project. He added: “Well, I really like seeing the project come together at the end. And the finishes for a building — that, too.”

In his off time, Crandall loves to ride his custom-built chopper. He makes an annual 1,700-mile summer ride to Sturgis, a popular South Dakota mecca for all things biker.

Noozhawk contributor Jenn Kennedy can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to see more of her work.

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