Employee Spotlight: Shane Curl

“I have worked with Shane for almost four years now, and that entire time he has been my primary mentor, and a great one at that!

Shane has done it all, and his loyalty is unmatched. He has been working with the O’Brien family for the last 25 years, and in that time, he’s built everything from high rises, tilt-up warehouses, schools, hotels, restaurants, breweries, and more.

Shane embodies O’Brien’s Core Values in all manners. I can trust Shane to do his job and to do it well. He always provides help and solutions when asked, even outside of work.

Shane is one of the biggest advocates for collaboration and delegation, as he tells me all the time, ‘You can’t do it all, you have to delegate.’ At the same time, if I need help or advice with a task, especially in regards to completing physical work or estimating, Shane is the first person I speak to.

Shane is innovative, and he has a truly brilliant mind. He’s still learning and using new tech every day, while I’ve seen so many others show so much hesitation to adapt. Also, if there’s any sort of issue that requires a creative solution, like how to shore up a building from the exterior to perform interior beam and joist repairs, he’s my man! His experience combined with the mind he has developed throughout his life is truly amazing.

Shane’s future is rock solid, and largely up to him. Shane has worn a lot of hats, including senior project manager and general superintendent, so I know he can do whatever he sets his mind to!”

— Tim Welsh, Project Engineer, Cannon Beach Office

Shane and his dog Havana, enjoying the beach air.

Shane displaying the torso-sized fish he caught.

Q&A with Shane

My great-grandfather was a machinist who worked for all the railroads, and a lot of people in our family have always liked to build things. I’ve always really enjoyed building and working with my hands. As a kid growing up, I used to tear things apart to rebuild them. It’s that interest in seeing how construction works that carried me from high school woodshop class to working as a laborer until an apprenticeship opened up.

I’m a problem solver, and everything I do in this job is something new. I love working through challenges and that’s what this industry brings. It always keeps your mind moving in a new direction at all times. Everybody says they think I have a photographic memory, but it’s not, it’s just that when you’ve got the passion for it you remember it as much as possible because you want to learn. That’s how I’ve always felt about building. I remember the first wall I ever framed because it meant something to me.

I’ve had some serious challenge projects in the past. One of them was the Portland Relief Nursery in Saint Johns. It was for parents who were recovering drug addicts, people with 2-year-old kids who needed a chance to get themselves on a better path. The job was lacking in funds and put together on a very tight budget. I worked around the clock, reaching out to all our suppliers and vendors about donations and doing anything I could do to get the job to be successful. We even got the union involved to donate a play structure for the kids through the apprenticeship. I got them to build it, bring it over, and crane it in! Sometimes you get these jobs that are doomed to fail, but we got the job done and turned it into a success for the kids and for the community.

Cannon Beach, where the company started. I built this complex under Pat’s company, and when Keeley branched off we took over the top office and that was our starting point.

I came to the coast for a job with Pat in 2004, and really fell in love and wanted to be here. I did the project and we kept getting new ones. I was working hard and turning over jobs early, and we were doing everything we could. We got a really good reputation and pretty soon we just took over the whole coast. And we never left.

I live in Garibaldi on the Miami River. We always like to try new eateries when they open up, and we like to go to the beach and enjoy the scenery and go on hikes. We’ve got an RV and we like to go on road trips. I’m a workaholic and I drive by it every day, but I never really take the time to look at the beach. You gotta stop sometimes and take the time to appreciate it.

We do a little bit of everything here, so you learn a lot. In Portland on those big jobs you never really get to be involved in the community, but here on the coast I enjoy marketing with all the different smaller towns because everybody talks. With projects like schools and fire stations and hotels on the coast you really get to be a part of the community and get to know the owners more.

This year I’ve been trying to just enjoy life and find more time to spend with my wife between a busy schedule and a lot of work. I’ve been trying to separate more from work and find that quality home life balance with my family. Then on the work side it’s great knowing that we’re getting into the JATC Program, after I’ve always been pushing for more involvement in apprenticeships. I really like to educate our new kids and different people coming up and show that we’re here for growth as well as bringing employees up like I did. I started at the bottom as a laborer and worked my way all the way up, and it’s great to see more people do that. You learn a lot along the way.

This is a great company that you can grow with as far as you want to take yourself. It’s up to the individual. We have all these tools, education, training, and great leaders that can mentor you. Take advantage and reach out. Don’t just sit idle and wait for it to happen. Be involved, go after what you want, and sky’s the limit.