Shelby Barrowdale, owner of Gila Monster Construction (GMC), has been into construction all his life and all around the U.S. and Mexico. He grew up here in Globe, where he mostly got into trouble.
“Work in construction probably saved me from that,” he says. “I learned some discipline and structure.”
The business is off to a big start. In what has become a familiar story, GMC is “super booked”. Completing a roof a week for the past couple of years, the company is currently booking two weeks out. For interior remodel work, it’s March. For Shelby Barrowdale, it feels good to be filling a community need.
“We intend to stay in Globe and provide quality, honest service to the community,” he says. “Help teach people how to do construction, provide jobs.”
The Origin Story
Shelby Barrowdale grew up in Globe with five siblings. His mother, Belinda Allinson was a butcher at Safeway. Jhawn Barrowdale, his father, owned Tri-City sanitation and still does.
Shelby enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family. He did not play sports in high school. Nor was he impressed by any teacher.
“I was always business-minded, but I lacked direction,” says Shelby. “I didn’t have the right product for sale.”
After high school graduation (GHS 2009), Shelby Barrowdale followed many of the men in his family into construction – his maternal grandfather, great uncles, brother-in-law, stepdad. He got his start doing industrial construction – copper mines and powerhouses. He specialized in electricity.
For ten years he traveled around the U.S. and Mexico, working and learning the trade. His early jobs had him digging holes for the electricians. A decade later he was the senior project manager for Rural Electric. Along the way he built a personal portfolio of single family homes and multi-unit rentals.
“I read Robert Kiosaki,” Shelby laughs. “Basically, I read real estate books. Saved earnings. Invested. Leveraged.”
As Covid took hold it became difficult to find workers for his real estate renovations. Having fulfilled his aspirations in industrial construction, Shelby Barrowdale returned to his hometown, Globe, and got a General Contractor’s license.
Gila Monster Construction LLC opened in July 2020 as a general contracting service. Today the team consists of 8 roofers and 2 interior remodelers, half from his days of industrial construction. GMC does provide all services, but their focus is on roofing.
“You do what you have craft-available to do,” says the small business owner. “It’s a good fit for us. We’re geared up and trained for it.”
GMC recently leased the Dream Pole construction lot and has plans for “rebranding of the business” pending approval by the city.
Shelby Barrowdale is married, has two young sons and over 2000 facebook friends. As for real estate, he sold off his investments earlier this year and is now building one spec house at a time in the Alhambra subdivision.
“To change gears, there is a lot of learning to do” he muses.
The transition from industrial to residential construction was difficult, he remarks, but worth it.
“It’s more personal than the industrial world is,” he says, “I do like that.”
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.