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!
Ian’s position didn’t exist before he started here at Conant Metal & Light. 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, he’s that last funky-shaped puzzle piece Conant has been missing. He does a little bit of everything – 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 and chilling with friends. You’ve probably spotted him around town biking, longboarding, going to shows, or something in-between. He’s an animal lover with a bad case of puppy fever! 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.
Renee is an extremely talented decorator with an eye for visual merchandising, home fashion, and furniture design. She can put unexpected combinations of things together and make it seem like they were made for each other (i.e. the grouping in the storefront window). Originally from the coast of Maine and holding a fine arts degree from Syracuse University, Her taste for things classic and current result in stunning displays of pattern and texture in each design she creates. Renee is smart, sophisticated, and sassy. Makes you laugh and keeps it real. Loves getting inspiration from home and trade magazines and has a vast knowledge of designers and décor trends.
Renee returns to coastal Maine to spend time with family, and loves the great outdoors. Whether conquering a mountain on foot, leaving cycling tracks on the road or trail, or getting centered with some yoga, she is always cracka-lackin’ and enjoying life.
Andrea, our newest Sales Professional, comes to us with interior decorating skills she acquired during her eight years at the Darien Design Center in CT and often calls upon her knowledge of kitchen and bath design that she learned at the Blodgett Supply Company in VT. Her expertise spans from furniture selection, to window treatments, to custom cabinetry and everything in between. This all encompassing experience provides a deep understanding of each visual element in synchronization, establishing the ambiance and personality of a space. She’s always appreciated quality craftsmanship in all of its many forms and “having decorated every room in the house, is now excited to have a specialty; especially one that affects the entire story, your overall mood, and literally how you see the world.”
Andrea lives with the light of her life, his dog, and her two cats in the South End of BTV. With a vibrant social life and a passion for Burlington’s dining scene, she is your go-to when you need to know what to do/where to eat/and what’s on the haps. Andrea is in her element when outdoors, and enjoys yoga, swimming, gardening, hiking, and of course working on her own house projects.
At the close of his bachelor’s degree, Ben came to us with an ache in his hands not to type essays, but to make things. He was so committed and passionate about learning the skills of our metalworkers that he offered his labor for free. We thought that was a pretty solid sign of dedication, and decided to hire him (legally, with pay). He comes in every day with an extreme hunger to learn, and is developing rapidly into a creative force of his own. Has a passion for creative marketing, is a talented blacksmith, an expert canning jar cutter, and his desire to learn and teach is inspiring. Ben has a story about his pieces because he researches their history and even strives to find more meaning behind the explanation. Smart and sensible, creative and imaginative. Someday he would like to teach everyone with a willing ear what he has learned about hand skills. He occupies his free time by reading books about craftsmanship, and rock climbing in the great outdoors.
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.
Jack is industrial designer and development director for some of our most exciting accounts. Educated at Rhode Island School of Design, his credits include projects for the Smithsonian, Vermont Arts Council, Boston Children’s Museum, University of Vermont, and Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation—more than 45 years of design experience. Working in metal, stone, wood and glass, he has crafted flutes for major symphonies, kaleidoscopes for Hollywood’s best, awards for International events and architectural building blocks for the next generation of great architects.
Jack’s home, a reclaimed barn filled with family fun, is where he and his wife, Linda, created their most noteworthy treasures — two very creative children, Abby and Izak.
Dan is our production manager extraordinaire, ensuring that we have the people, equipment, and plans to get projects completed on time and on budget. Drawing on his skill for industrial design and CAD drawing, he also specializes in custom sales. It’s all about defining challenges and finding creative solutions. Before coming to 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 three chickens. He’s also an avid vegetable gardener, mountain biker, and reader of science fiction.
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.
Chris is our resident jack of all trades: metalworker, UL specialist, in house IT guy, purchaser, receiver, shipper, machinery maintenance man. Got a problem? See Chris. That’s if you can catch him—he’s breezing by, key belt jingling, humming bluegrass or Bach. With his self-starter personality, passion for learning, and resume ranging from furniture restoration to hotel maintenance, it’s no wonder Chris wears so many hats. He’s also a blacksmith with 28 years of experience under his belt.
He opens up the shop each morning, cruising here in his 1953 Willys Jeep (weather permitting). When not tinkering to keep the jeep on the road, he’s playing guitar, sailing, or learning celestial navigation.
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.
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.
As official Greeter, Jack’s passion is collecting hugs, pets and cookies from visitors and Conant employees alike.
Both Josie and Jack are rescued Pound Puppies.