Mike Isaac (right) joins the community stroll at the June 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony of the North Jameson Walking Trail. | Credit: Macduff Everton

Sure, countless clients have taken comfort in the fact that Mac Brown Excavating has been around since the early ’80s. They can also feel good about supporting a business forged and maintained by a longtime Santa Barbara farming family. But what it really comes down to is that Brown, his stepson, Mike Isaac, and their dirt-moving crew have their customers’ health and longevity in mind each time they fire up a piece of heavy machinery. Just read the company’s mission statement:

“Ask any doctor and they will all tell you that sleep is imperative in order to live a happy and healthy life,” it explains. “We at Mac Brown Excavating take every precaution to make sure the job is done right and in a timely manner so you can sleep better at night.” 

A Mac Brown operator demos a pool in Montecito.

But doing a good job ahead of schedule is just a portion of the reason why Giffin & Crane calls on Mac Brown with regularity, said Isaac, who started with the company full-time around 2001 after growing up in the trade. “We just try to offer everything we can,” he said. “General contractors really enjoy having one subcontractor cover as much as possible.”

In that respect, Mac Brown has grown its offerings considerably since those early days of helping fellow farmers dig drainage ditches. There’s plenty of grading, of course, from flat driveways to hillside removal, plus storm drains, utility trenches, and various feats of demolition, such as making swimming pools disappear. “We do anything and everything that takes a tractor,” Isaac said. 

They also give back. Recently, Mac Brown made a generous in-kind donation to the construction of the North Jameson Walking Trail, spearheaded by the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade. As one of about a dozen community partners on the four-week project in Montecito, Isaac sent a backhoe and one of his best operators to grade the new trail, haul dirt and decomposed granite, and help set the large stones bordering the footpath where it meets Olive Mill Road.

Mac Brown first worked with Giffin & Crane about 15 years ago, razing an old house to make way for a mansion in Montecito’s Cima del Mundo gated community. Since then, as Mac Brown further expanded into custom residential construction jobs, they’ve put each other on speed dial. 

“Giffin & Crane is one of our best customers,” says Isaac, who grew up in Carpinteria, where the company is headquartered with dozens of pieces of heavy machinery. “We work well together. Once you’ve fostered that relationship over the years, there’s no surprises on the job site.”

And that helps everybody sleep better at night. 


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