Shaw Brothers was founded in 1977 by two brothers, a backhoe and a handshake. Jon and Dan Shaw grew up in the construction field, working almost full-time for their father while in high school. They decided that right after Dan’s high school graduation they would work for themselves and build a company the way they wanted. They had already learned to work hard but they wanted to build their reputation as professionals doing quality work. This included their signature “fleet lineup” where they would take the extra time at their shop or job site to line up their equipment in an orderly fashion, to demonstrate their attention to detail and their attitude that professionalism is worth the extra effort. Their belief for success was to treat the customer the way they would want to be treated. The end of the ’70s was spent learning how to manage this successful business.
With their feet now under them, Jon and Dan spent the 1980’s growing their business, buying newer and better equipment, and building their reputation as extremely hard-working contractors providing quality work. Shaw Brothers began the decade focusing on residential foundations and small utility work. They developed the “package deal” for builders where they would provide the foundation, utility trenches, driveway, and lawns allowing the builder to focus solely on the building construction. They began leasing gravel pits and by 1984 started construction on a new shop and office. By the end of the 1980s, the economy was booming and because of the enormous amount of commercial work, Shaw Brothers transitioned from residential construction to commercial construction. These bigger projects were more complex and needed better planning, bigger equipment, and a lot more material. This was a perfect fit for two brothers who relished the new challenges and had made a hobby of finding the right equipment for the job at the best price. They had also already decided that having their own aggregate source would be a key ingredient in the future success of Shaw Brothers.
During the 1990s Shaw Brothers continued its success and became recognized as a premier commercial earthwork contractor in Southern Maine. Not only did sales triple during the decade, but they significantly increased the aggregate sources by adding 3 major gravel pits. They continued buying new or late model equipment and made it a point to research and try any new equipment or attachment from anywhere in the world if they would make Shaw Brothers more efficient. This included bringing the first self-propelled mobile crusher to New England in 1996. And again, Shaw Brothers had reinvested in its future by securing the aggregates, equipment, and people necessary to continue its growth and success into the next decade.
The timing of the economic boom in the early 2000s (and infrastructure boom in Southern Maine) could not have been better timed for Shaw Brothers. They were awarded their biggest projects to date as part of the Maine Turnpike Widening as well as their first design-build project on Interstate 95. They expanded gravel pits, began adding GPS technology to the equipment which increased accuracy and efficiency and added more mobile crushers. Shaw Brothers also decided it was time to get into the paving aspect of earthwork by purchasing a small asphalt production plant in Scarborough, Maine. During this decade, volume doubled, Shaw Brothers was awarded its first 10 million dollar project (Gorham bypass), and the equipment fleet expanded. With the larger crews, more equipment, and more maintenance, Shaw Brothers had outgrown its headquarters for a second time. So, the company purchased 100 acres of industrial land less than 2 miles from its current offices in Gorham. Over the next 5 years, this property would become Shaw Brothers’ campus and would include its offices, its shop maintenance facility, its new asphalt production plant, an aggregate crushing system, and a paved aggregate laydown area able to store up to 1 million yards of crushed materials.
The 2010 decade was another boom for Shaw Brothers with a lot of its profits being reinvested back into the business. After building its new headquarters in 2011, Shaw Brothers added 2 major gravel pits and then 3 years later added 2 more quarries. They also purchased and installed a new state-of-the-art Astec paving plant and a year later, the largest stationary crushing plant in the State of Maine. Shaw Brothers was now at the point where the company could start giving back in a substantial way to the community and in 2015, owners, Jon and Dan Shaw set up the Shaw Brothers Family Foundation to do just this. Though Shaw Brothers had always been donating to local community non-profits and had previously given a riverfront park to the Town of Gorham, the Foundation would allow Jon and Dan to give back on a much bigger scale and in ways they felt were most important. The primary objective of the Foundation was to acquire and preserve farmland for the future. This included a pristine piece of property on the Presumscot River. This foundation also provided the conduit to give more substantially to many non-profits including a million-dollar gift to Maine Medical Center.
The Shaw Brothers success story has continued into the 2020 decade with all-time peaks in volume-limited only by the size of the workforce. Looking to the future, Shaw Brothers has built its own solar farm to supply 100% of its power needs and additional power to sell. The company is looking at electric trucks, charging stations, more GPS, and anything else that will keep it at the forefront of its industry. Jon and Dan Shaw continue to be committed to running one of the premier site work contractors in Maine with the best crews, top-notch equipment, and unlimited aggregates resources to complete any project on time. And the story continues …