History in the Making
"Tireless effort, good management and close conformity to a high standard of ethics." This is what a biography of John F. Shea, founder of J.F. Shea Co., Inc.,
credited his success to. This statement still represents the philosophy of the Shea Companies-family owned and managed for four generations. Formed in 1880, J.F. Shea
is one of the oldest and largest privately held companies in the country and is now enjoying its second century of operation.
The company has established itself as one of the acknowledged leaders in the construction industry and has worked on projects that include some of the most recognized
construction achievements in the history of this nation. At the same time, it has strengthened its position by diversifying into a number of related industries, including
heavy construction, material production, residential construction, commercial property development and venture capital. This story of remarkable accomplishment can be
attributed to firmly established traditions that will remain an important part of the company's history of growth and prosperity well into the 21st century.
John F. Shea founded J.F. Shea Plumbing Company in Portland, Oregon. By the turn of the century, the company had expanded into plumbing installation
for large buildings and sewer construction.
John Shea established a partnership with his ambitious son Charlie, and J.F. Shea Company was born. Younger sons Gilbert and Edmund Shea joined
the company shortly thereafter.
J.F. Shea expanded its operations, building the Portland Seawall on the Oregon coast and the Owyhee Irrigation Tunnels in Idaho. This period also marked the
company's first foray into California with the construction of the Mokelumne Pipeline, located in San Francisco's East Bay.
This decade signaled a new era of accomplishment for J.F. Shea. In 1933, the company moved its headquarters from Portland to Los Angeles.
A number of ambitious projects were started including pier work on the Golden Gate Bridge and tunnels for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Metropolitan Water District
in Southern California. Dam projects included the Long Valley Dam in California and Hoover Dam in Nevada, which upon completion reigned as the world's largest dam.
Gilbert and Edmund Shea assumed leadership of the company after Charlie Shea's death in 1942. During World War II, J.F. Shea contributed to
the war effort by aiding in shipbuilding and canal projects. After the war, the company resumed its dam and tunnel work.
In 1958, stewardship of the company was handed to John, Edmund and Peter Shea, the sons of Gilbert and Edmund Shea. To date, J.F. Shea Co., Inc. had completed over one
billion dollars in heavy construction projects. In 1957, Redding Sand and Gravel was formed to supply concrete aggregate for the Clear Creek Tunnel project. Shasta Electric Inc.
was founded in 1958 and became a full-service electrical contractor for the heavy industrial market.
Within the company, this period is known as "The Decade of Diversification." Phenomenal success in the tunnel and dam business over the past 40 years
gave Shea the financial base to broaden its interests. With the creation of Shea Homes, the homebuilding industry became its first area of expansion. Today, Shea Homes is one of the
most prominent homebuilders in the nation with operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, the Carolinas, Texas, Washington, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. The Venture Capital Division, founded in 1968, has proven extremely
successful, providing start-up capital for several top American companies. Today, the Venture Capital Division is a significant part of J.F. Shea's capital structure.
The company's tunnel business continued to grow as Shea expanded its strategy of diversification. Shea Properties was formed in 1972, originally to manage a small real estate portfolio. Within a few years it expanded into development and asset management of residential and commercial properties. The company also acquired gunite equipment maker Reed Manufacturing.
J.F. Shea's extensive tunneling projects kept the company busy throughout the decade. Continued growth in the real estate industry provided opportunity for both the Shea Properties and Shea Homes Divisions. Working as partners, the two divisions developed several master-planned communities in California. During this time, Shea Homes enjoyed record sales.
In 1997, the company purchased California-based Mission Viejo Company, a master planned community developer. This purchase included land in Mission Viejo and Aliso Viejo, California, as well as Highlands Ranch in Colorado, one of the most popular communities in the country. In 1998, Shea Homes acquired UDC Homes (which included the Shea Communities Division), giving it a strategic foothold in the high-growth "active adult" market. Diversification efforts continued as Shea Mortgage was formed along with new home design centers in each division. In addition, Heavy Construction acquired Advanco Constructors.
The 21st century brings yet another decade with continued opportunity for the J.F. Shea Companies to grow and prosper. Building upon a 120-year tradition of integrity, quality and financial strength, the J.F. Shea Companies plan to aggressively pursue opportunities for growth in their markets and opportunities that improve their products and services.