Company Background

Shay Family Shot WebsiteLowell Shay founded Shay Construction in 1998 after more than 20 years in the high-end residential construction industry. During that time, Lowell realized that client objectives were frequently compromised by contractors with limited interest in overall quality and design, and profit maximization as a primary goal. This experience, coupled with a desire to continue a family history of design and construction in the Philadelphia area, inspired Lowell to form Shay Construction.

In August 2002, Shay Construction hired, Dixon Shay, Lowell’s nephew, to assist in the growth and administrative development of the company. Prior to joining Shay Construction, Dixon practiced corporate law in the District of Columbia office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. Shay Construction recognizes that proper accounting, contracting and communication are an integral part of every project. Dixon’s addition to the firm helped ensure that Shay Construction’s project administration and accounting practices were equal to the quality and professionalism of its craftsmanship. During his time at Shay Construction, Dixon has been largely responsible for overseeing the operations of Shay Construction, as well as running many of Shay Construction’s projects, including several projects on Nantucket Island.

In keeping with the family nature of Shay Construction’s philosophy, Gillian Shay, Dixon’s wife, joined the business in 2003. Since that time, Gillian has served as Shay Construction’s project administrator and bookkeeper. Gillian’s professional background, organizational skills and attention to detail are integral to Shay Construction’s success.

In January 2014, Dixon took over sole ownership of Shay Construction and its operations. Under Dixon’s leadership, Shay Construction remains committed to optimizing design potential and overall craftsmanship, achieving maximum value for clients and delivering superior project management services.

Philadelphia Area Legacy

The Shay family has a strong Philadelphia legacy.  Dixon’s great grandfather, Howell Lewis Shay, practiced architecture in the Philadelphia area in the early to mid 1900s with the firms Trumbauer and Associates, Ritter and Shay and Howell Lewis Shay & Associates. Among Howell Lewis Shay’s contributions to local design and architecture are several Philadelphia landmarks including the U.S. Customs House, the Packard Building, the Drake Hotel and the plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

William Dixon Shay, Dixon’s grandfather and namesake, also practiced architecture in the Philadelphia area with the firm founded by his father, Howell Lewis Shay & Associates. He specialized in campus planning and his architectural achievements include the fraternity quadrangle and several other academic buildings at Dickinson College and the library at the University of Delaware. The Independence Garden at the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania was dedicated as a memorial to William Dixon Shay following his death in 1962.


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