“Tireless effort, good management, and close conformity to a high
standard of ethics is the key to our success"—founder John F. Shea
A Long and Storied Past
The history of J.F. Shea Construction began when its founder, John Francis Shea, started an ambitious plumbing company in Portland, Oregon in 1881. As Portland grew, so too did the plumbing company, expanding its scope into pipelines and infrastructure projects like the Portland Seawall, sewers and tunnels. When John’s son, Charlie, took over the business he brought with him a reputation for taking on complex projects. From the mid-1910’s until his death in 1942, he led the company through some of the country’s largest and most challenging engineering projects—the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Oakland Bay Bridge. The company is now in its fourth generation of family leadership.
In the late 1950’s John, Edmund, and Peter Shea worked to establish the company as a leader in heavy construction specializing in large-diameter tunnels, pipelines, flood control and hydro-electric power dams. During this time, Shea was involved in constructing the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tunnels and stations, as well as water transmission tunnels across the nation. During the 1970’s and through the 1990’s, Shea teamed with other American contractors to complete large diameter tunnels for sewage containment in Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta, water transmission in Southern California, and underground rail transit projects in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City. Shea was also instrumental in digging highway tunnels across the United States. Because of their extensive experience in the tunneling industry, Shea became a pioneer in the development of the Tunnel Boring Machine, or TBM.
Water Treatment and Storage
In 1999, the company acquired Advanco, Inc., a well-respected and experienced water project constructor. The acquisition led to an expansion into Southern California water treatment and delivery projects, as well as large water treatment, waste-water, water-purification, and seawater desalination projects.
In 1956, a Redding, California based infrastructure division was formed to work on the many highway, bridge and paving projects in the coastal Northern California area, eventually expanding into Oregon. A Pennsylvania-based bridge division was also started in 2004 to pursue the many bridge and transportation infrastructure replacement and restoration projects in the region.
The Shea Culture
When asked what he thought was the key to his success, founder John F. Shea answered, “Tireless effort, good management, and close conformity to a high standard of ethics.” This response inspired the company’s stated core values of honesty and integrity, respect for the individual, teamwork, and competitive spirit. These are not just buzzwords for the company brochure, but words Shea puts into action each and every day. Words that inspire and guide the company through all work decisions. Words that J.F. Shea Construction lives by.