- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Chuck McKenna
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Don and Howard Shaw established Shaw Electric, a family-owned and -operated company, in 1944 based on honesty and professionalism. The pair served primarily residential clients from the beginning, but today Shaw Electric has emerged as one of the leading commercial and industrial electrical contractors in the Midwest.
All in the Family
Although the company has grown significantly, the Shaws have focused on keeping things in the family. “My uncle who initially owned Shaw Electric sold the company to another contractor who couldn’t make the payments,” reveals Steve Shaw, vice president of Shaw Electric. “When the company was his again, he was already retired so my brother, Robert “Bob” Shaw Jr., stepped in to buy the business.”
In an effort to keep Shaw Electric in the family, Bob Jr. tried to take the reins. “The City of Davenport wouldn’t let him run the business because he needed the credentials and experience to pass the master electricians test, so our father, Robert Shaw Sr., took the test and him and Bob Jr. took over the company,” recalls Steve.
Steve joined his father and brother in 1983 and has been with Shaw Electric ever since. “My mother has also been a big part of Shaw Electric from the beginning,” shares Steve. “Now we have the third and fourth generations working in the business, including my daughter, Sarah Shaw and my niece and nephew.”
Local Contractors with Global Perspective
Shaw Electric remains dedicated to the local market in Davenport, Iowa, but has delivered projects across the U.S., from New York to California and even Mexico. “We’re Davenport electrical contractors with a global perspective,” says Steve. “We’re located right on the Illinois border and locally, we serve about a 150-mile radius of Davenport. We’ve reined ourselves in a little bit with the recession, but we have booming industries here that have helped keep the boat a float so-to-speak.”
The company has grown alongside a strong farm economy and agricultural development in Iowa and surrounding states, supporting some big-name clients such as John Deere and the Hy-Vee grocery store chain. “Over the last few years, we’ve done really well because we’re fortunate to have large agricultural development,” explains Steve. “From ethanol plants to processing facilities, agricultural based products are always in need.”
With a steady farm economy in its backyard, Shaw Electric has forged strong relationships with some of the most trusted companies in the industry. “We started in residential electrical contracting, but over the years we’ve diversified into commercial and industrial plant work,” shares Steve. “The commercial environment is more stable than residential and we’re full service which attracts big-name clients.”
Shaw Electric has also added industrial automated systems to its lineup in recent years. “Our in-house engineering and automation group continues to provide manufacturing systems,” adds Steve. “This type of service is especially valuable in our area for industrial production and health care expansion.”
“The health care industry is one of our largest sectors,” continues Steve. Where power reliability and safety are the highest priority, Shaw Electric delivers. In West Burlington, Iowa, the company responded to the Great River Medical Center’s demand for power distributed safely and efficiently throughout the building, installing close to 400 hospital bed units. “We get the power where the customer needs it, so they can go about saving lives,” adds Steve. “We’re also proud of our work at the Trinity Health Care facility in Livonia, Mich.”
Aside from health care clients, Shaw Electric is also in the midst of numerous projects with the Iowa-based Hy-Vee grocer. “Hy-Vee is well-known in this area and they’re undergoing significant expansion throughout the Iowa and surrounding states,” notes Steve. “We’re building new stores, doing electrical replacements and renovations and adding gas stations and convenience stores adjacent to existing sites.”
Steve admits its Shaw Electric’s diversity that has allowed the company to enter multiple markets, support big industry in the Midwest and ultimately, survive the economic downturn. “We have several divisions that help us offer a wide range of services, including Industrial Automated Systems (IAS),” explains Steve. “IAS performs expert engineering of computer interface operations and automated systems for large-scale industrial plants.”
With strong, local industry and the fourth generation of family ownership in line, Shaw Electric is wired for the future. After 69 years, Shaw Electric has emerged as an electrical excellence leader, remaining true to professionalism and high quality service.
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