Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 8

cover story

Community Leader
in the Good Land
Pictured left to right: Eric
Onnen pictured in one of his
fleet of busses. Eric accepting
the Man of the Year award
at the 2018 Goleta's Finest
Awards Ceremony. Eric
photographed at his home
with his daughter, Samantha
and wife, Kelly.

W H E N E R I C O N N E N rolled into Goleta in the late
1970s to attend UC Santa Barbara, the Iowa native knew he
never wanted to leave. So for the last 41 years, Goleta has
been Onnen's home. And even though he and his wife, Kelly,
have a new grandchild-their first-in Arizona, he doesn't
have plans to relocate anytime soon.
"Once I got to Goleta, my No. 1 priority was staying in the
area," he said, noting he was first introduced to the community during a weekend trip to look at colleges. "I just
loved it here."
Onnen initially was drawn to Goleta's outdoor lifestyle. "It
was attractive to live that way," he said, adding that he still
loves everything about Goleta, including the "way it looks,
feels and smells."
Onnen says he relishes the decades he has spent giving back
to the community, as well as the long-standing, lifelong
relationships he's formed.
A 33-year member of the local Rotary Club, he also has
served on the board of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce,
has been a member of the Goleta Planning Commission,
and was elected to the City Council, serving one term
that included a year as mayor. "It's a fundamental of
this community," Onnen said about giving back.
Prior to co-founding his own business-Santa Barbara
Airbus-he envisioned that he'd follow in his family's
footsteps and become a butcher.

He worked at a local meat counter during college and for
some time after. It was there he began developing those
community relationships.
"The people are so warm...and I got to know a lot of people,"
Onnen explained. "That was when you helped customers at
the counter. You always saw everybody on special occasions.
"It was a supportive and satisfying experience to do business on that level."
While working in the meat business, Onnen met his wife
of 37 years, who was a flight attendant. Her home base was
in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but the newlyweds lived in Goleta.
Needless to say, Onnen spent a lot of time on the road getting Kelly to and from LAX.
During a trip to visit her family in Canada, Onnen took a
bus service to get to the airport to fly home. He realized
California-Santa Barbara County, to be precise-needed
something similar.
"It kind of slapped me in the face," he said, noting that Santa
Barbara Airbus' service to and from LAX is still the basis of
the company that has grown from being operated out of a
spare bedroom in the couple's condo and no paid employees
to what it is today.
Founded in Goleta in 1983, the company employs 60 people
and has a fleet of more than 20 buses, motor-coaches and
minivans.

B Y A P R I L C H A R LT O N , N O OZ H A W K

8

GOLETA MAGAZINE

GoletaChamber.com


http://www.GoletaChamber.com

Goleta Magazine 2019-2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Goleta Magazine 2019-2020

Contents
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 1
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 2
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - Contents
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 4
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 5
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 6
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 7
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 8
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 9
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 10
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 11
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 12
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 13
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 14
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 15
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 16
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 17
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 18
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 19
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 20
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 21
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 22
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 23
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 24
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 25
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 26
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 27
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 28
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 29
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 30
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 31
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 32
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 33
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 34
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 35
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 36
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 37
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 38
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 39
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 40
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 41
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 42
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 43
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 44
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 45
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 46
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 47
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 48
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 49
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 50
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 51
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 52
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 53
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 54
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 55
Goleta Magazine 2019-2020 - 56
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sbsccc/goletamag202223
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag202021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag201920
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletatravelguide2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletatravelguide2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletatravelguide2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/goletavalley/goletamag2015
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com