Donna Shirey, CGR, CAPS, CGP
President of Shirey Contracting Inc., Issaquah, Wash.
Year company was founded: 1982
Number of Employees: Six
Who started your company? Riley Shirey founded Eclipse Construction in 1982 as a sole proprietor. I joined the company in 1987, which is when we changed the name to Shirey Contracting and created a new logo and branding.
When and how did you choose this career? My first husband and I hired a contractor to build a custom home for us. Both of us worked on the house and liked the process so much we created a company that did land development and multifamily and spec houses.
What did you do before becoming a remodeler? After college, I taught physical education for three years, had two children and formed a construction company with my first husband. After our divorce, I formed a company of four delis in downtown Seattle. Then, in 1987, I joined Riley’s company.
As you were growing up, what did you want to be? Until high school, I wanted to be a ballerina. I was “en pointe” at age 7. After that, I wanted to become—and became—a teacher.
How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved? There are more women working in this industry.
What is the most unusual project your company has completed? We have a tremendous staff with a lot of experience in carpentry, which allows us to take on projects that are very unusual. In the mid-’90s, we built a house that was designed at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s company. This was a custom home. For five years, the clients looked for a general contractor who had all the abilities to build this house. We were recommended by one of our subcontractors.
What is your favorite item in your office? My computer. I love my computer! The next thing would be the commercial espresso machine.
What is the best advice you’ve received in your career? Plan, plan, plan and set goals.
What would you like to bring to QR’s advisory board? Innovation and wisdom.
What are your professional affiliations? The American Solar Energy Society, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, The Building Industry Association of Washington, NAHB, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, E-Woman Network, Structural Insulated Panel Association, Northwest Eco-Guild
What other career accomplishments would you like to mention? Our company has been a leader in the green, energy-efficient industry since 1987 when we started building with structural insulated panels. This was before “green” had a name. We have worked diligently to save energy in all the projects we have built. Also, in 2005 I was president of our local MBA when we became the largest home builders association in the country.
Please mention any recognition you or your firm has attained. Most recently, NAHBR chair 2010 and NAHB Green Building Advocate/Remodeler 2009.
What motivates you every day? Mostly, I love remodeling and helping clients make their lives better. I also have staff that relies on me.
If a movie was made about your life, who would be cast as you? Susan Sarandon