Santa Barbara native Rudy Raygoza started working for Pyramid Tile & Marble straight out of high school. Toward the tail end of his 17 years with that company, Raygoza drove to Oxnard three times a week to ITT Technical Institute, where he took night classes in computer-aided drafting and earned undergraduate and advanced degrees in business administration. In early 2017, he responded to a Giffin & Crane employment ad, landing the job in the spring of that year. He hit the ground running and has really been put to the test since the fire and flood of this past winter. We caught up with Raygoza to talk briefly about his work in Montecito’s disaster area.
What’s the range of your responsibilities? My responsibilities have been to assess the damage, strategize with my team to create a game plan, and to execute that plan while at the same time being the person that clients can count on through this difficult process. Working for many years all over Santa Barbara, I am aware of the immaculate architecture in this town. When I was able to get to the storm-damaged homes in Montecito, my heart sank. The damage was so tremendous that I was truly left speechless.
What challenges have you experienced? At first we were having difficulty finding areas where we could take the mud and dirt. Many [processing yards] were only taking clean dirt, and most of what came down the mountain has lots of debris and boulders in it. We have been sifting the debris from the clean dirt. Another challenge was trying not to haul things away too quickly since the boulders and dirt on the properties could possibly be used for future storm protection.
Have you seen an upside to working in the disaster area? It can be difficult to find anything positive through these hard times. One thing I have noticed, however, is that subcontracting companies are able to put differences aside and work together on the same projects to help out this community. I believe we all understand that we are all in this together.
Giffin & Crane General Contractors Inc. has been building custom homes in Santa Barbara since 1986.