Meet the Makers
Our staff comes from near and far, drawn together by a shared passion for craftsmanship, unique design, and creative problem solving. We came to work for a company that values integrity and that rewards personal responsibility and initiative. With such an eclectic grouping of talents and personality quirks (you know, creative types), you can bet we have fun. When an interesting new design challenge presents itself, we huddle together, spontaneously, like minnows around a piece of bread. We pool ideas and pick each others’ brains for the sheer pleasure of it. So whether you’re looking to fill your space with repurposed lighting and furniture, or starting from scratch with a custom design, our team can make it happen. Come put us to work!
Dan is our Contract Manufacturing Guru (Manager), orchestrating projects from the earliest developmental stages to freighting out final products. It’s all about defining challenges and finding creative solutions. Dan maintains the supply chain and organizes workflow when hes not drawing on his skill for industrial design and CAD drawing custom variations. Before joining Conant in 2007, Dan studied studio art with a focus on metals, then went on to pursue a career in hand crafted lighting, furniture, and architectural details.
He spends his free time with his wife, two young sons, and five chickens. He’s also an avid vegetable gardener, mountain biker, and reader of science fiction.
Joel manages all things Production (like a boss). He ensures that we have the people, equipment, and plans to get projects completed on time and on budget. More than that, he leads by example in demonstrating efficiency. He’s the eyes and ears of the workshop, overseeing project progression, ensuring an effective environment, and facilitating makers in all of the needs they encounter. Before his time here at CM&L Joel was an Imperial Storm Trooper on planet Tatooine, stationed outside the Cantina in Mos Eisley, primarily looking for suspicious droids. Joel also has NAVY fighter pilot experience in the Persian Gulf, operating under the name “Maverick”, alongside fellow pilots “Ice Man,” “Goose,” “Jester”and “Viper.” Some might say he’s a “Top Gun.”
In his spare time, Joel appreciates the finer things: gator wrestling, crocheting, origami, and unsanctioned drifting races.
Jesse is the mastermind behind coordination here at Conant Metal & Light. She keeps everything in good working order, enabling everyone else to do their jobs as well as they possibly can. Driven and direct, Jesse sees the heart of the matter in all situations and instinctively knows how to answer each impasse. She’s passionate about the work we produce, and is thrilled working with such creative and talented individuals each day. She is the mother of an extraordinary 6 year old daughter whom she loves infinitely.
Outside of work you can find Jesse driving fast on dirt roads, getting her butt kicked in ballet class, and speaking/reading Italian. She’s pretty indoorsy, but will drive 2+ hours for good espresso. You can always tell Jesse is at her best when she’s singing!
Kyle Sikora is imbuing our colorful team of makers with fresh creativity and intensity. Kyle graduated from MECA (Maine College of Art) with a BFA in Sculpture. From the get-go, Kyle has been capable and comfortable, clearly demonstrating his level-headedness in the shop. Outside of working with CM&L, Kyle explores the boundaries of animal sculpture and costume making. Dress shoes with protruding gorilla thumbs, stoic faces carved from pine, and giant metallic beetle sculptures occupy the landscape of Kyle’s imagination and portfolio. On a personal note, Kyle practices the martial art of Brazilian Jujitsu!
See his personal work HERE.
Sarah specializes in welding here at Conant Metal & Light. She learned the art of welding and working with metal from her uncle, a sculptor, at the age of 15 while she lived with him for the summer. Since then, her talents have developed tremendously through studying art and art history in college, and studying at the Advanced Welding Institute in South Burlington. She’s also taught welding for Rosie’s Girls, which is a trade based day camp for middle school girls and a program of Vermont Works for Women over the last 6 summers.
Outside of the work environment Sarah loves to bake, and being from Wisconsin, she can whip up a pretty mean hotdish!
With a life-long passion for the many forms of artistry and visual expression, a degree in Graphic Design, and experience in the realm of shipping and receiving, Ian’s a funky-shaped puzzle piece Conant has been missing. He designs rad advertisements for local and national publications , captures the essence of our finished work in restaurants and residences and in our studio with his stellar photography skills, is the voice of CML in social media and our blog, ships your orders, and remains an active presence in the showroom. Needless to say, he’s always got plates spinning and has managed to not break any. Ever positive, loving, and genuine, Ian is always pumped about something, leaving good vibes in his wake.
Outside of work, you’ll catch him on adventures with the love of his life (Olaf, his greyhound of course) and chilling with friends. You’ve probably spotted him around town biking, longboarding, going to shows, or something in-between. He’s constantly drawing and finds playing music and singing to be a euphoric experience. Currently, Ian is working on a Graphic Novel about Vikings and preparing to launch a hip/urban clothing business.
Steve is our multi tasking chief executive officer. While his focus is sales and creative problem solving for national and international accounts, he does everything from treasure hunting, to hand drafting and getting dirty in the workshop. He’s a fast walker, a whistler, and an optimist. Steve continues to be fueled by the same passion for making and the same commitment to ideals which launched him into business at age 23. His ceaseless energy keeps him plugged in to the local arts scene and engaged in community building. Our business is located in the historic Soda Plant, a large complex which Steve owns and rents out to over 20 budding artists and artisans.
Work has woven threads throughout Steve’s life. He and his wife Mags (an art teacher for 40 + years) live in the house they purchased as newlyweds. In it, a telegraph insulator chandelier hangs over the dining table, a clawfoot tub fish tank graces the living room, and “repurposing opportunities” abound in the basement workshop. Steve and Mags are the proud parents of two lovely, creative daughters.
Craftsman, inventor, mad scientist? All of the above describe Jonathan. He is a maker of fine jewelry, artillery, toys, and theatrical costumes. John is hungry to know how things are made and work. He’s the kind of person who learns about electricity by conducting voltage experiments in his living room. John’s mechanical mind and encyclopedic knowledge of antiques, make him an invaluable part of our production and restoration team.
Jonathan also gardens, paints, plays guitar, and crafts steam punk ray guns. His work was recently displayed at Shelburne Museum.
Tyler is a creative visionary who sees the potentiality of objects. It’s not junk on the roadside; it’s a lathe chuck table lamp, an ice tong pendant. He’s the kind of person who walks a 300 lb barge hatch five blocks uphill from the lakeshore because it has “patina”. That drive and creative ingenuity make him our go-to resource for funky repurposing projects, everything from huge sculptural installations, to “one off” products using found materials. His aesthetic blends oversized industrial elements with playfulness and humor.
When not at work, Tyler builds life-sized animal sculptures and rides his bike in search of treasure (which sounds like a line from a children’s book). He also mentors a Somali boy through the King Street Center.
See his personal work HERE.
Santiago works quietly, carefully, and with intention—a great asset to our production team. Metal fascinates him, a medium that can be cold and hard or completely fluid. He loves the process of shaping it, seeing the transformation from ultimate potential to permanence, solidity. With a degree in environmental studies and a minor in studio arts, Santiago’s career has followed an alchemical process of its own, spanning everything from glass blowing and jewelry making to bald eagle conservation and fire dancing. He also currently holds art workshops for adults with developmental disabilities.
Santiago lives with his girlfriend Audrey, their cat, and 25 guppies. In his spare time, Santiago alternates playing his five different musical instruments.
The Conant shop and showroom wouldn’t be complete without a four-legged friend or two roaming around.
Josie prefers to travel and frequently supervises site visits with owner, Steve Conant.
Josie is a rescued Pound Puppy.