Submitted by Connolly Brothers
Around the time that the world started hearing about an invention called the telephone, Connolly Brothers was founded in 1880 by brothers Steve, Greg, Thomas, and Michael Connolly of Beverly, Mass. Early projects included road work, shipping gravel to North Station for the completion of Boston’s gateway to the north, a residential project for Ernest Longfellow (son of the renowned poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), and work for the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass.
Following World War I, Greg Connolly, son of the founder, returned a war hero with a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. About this time 100 years ago, the Connolly team embarked on some 80 projects across the eastern U.S. with renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.
Beyond such historic work, however, Connolly’s history is punctuated with resilience in the face of more than a century’s worth of change. The Great Depression provided a significant challenge, and Greg Connolly worked tirelessly to keep the company afloat, and to keep local workers employed. While the finish line was unclear, he was driven to make sure that the business survived until brighter days might unfold for his sons, Stephen III and Peter Connolly. Greg was successful in his mission, and when both of his sons returned from the service following World War II, Connolly was heavily involved in numerous public construction projects.
The work ethic that drove Greg to keep the company alive during lean times clearly spread to his children. The day after Stephen Connolly IV returned from service in the Navy in 1971, his father, Stephen Connolly III, woke him up at 6:30 in the morning to tell him, “Get up! It’s time to get to work.”
Many changes have taken place at Connolly since that time. After taking the reins of leadership from his father in 1988, Stephen Connolly IV moved the firm’s offices and, more significantly, took the company in a bold new direction, migrating Connolly from a mix of residential and commercial work to commercial, industrial, and institutional projects only – with no residential work.
Today, Connolly is a leading New England construction management firm serving private commercial, industrial, and institutional clients with comprehensive construction services, from planning and design to real estate development. Connolly’s current project work includes corporate headquarters and offices; tech, lab, and manufacturing buildings; recreation and leisure facilities; nonprofit and educational facilities; and retail spaces, including dozens of auto dealerships.
In 2020, Stephen Connolly IV passed the torch of leadership and ownership to current Connolly Brothers President and CEO Stephen “Jay” Connolly and Vice President of Real Estate and Development Thaddeus Minshall. Throughout the generations, Connolly’s history is marked by a commitment to construction management, development, and planning and design work of the highest quality. Part of the recipe for Connolly’s longevity is the understanding that this family business is building not just structures, but lasting relationships with fellow business owners who entrust the firm with one of the most foundational components of any company’s ability to thrive: an environment conducive to facilitating their business.
For each construction project accepted and business tenant served, Connolly Brothers’ leadership continues to maintain that “building more than structures” means planning, designing, building, developing, and managing any property the company is involved in with the same level of care they would devote to their own commercial properties. While completing projects earns money, at Connolly, completing them the right way earns respect.
After more than 140 years and through five generations, much has changed, but some things remain as they were in 1880. Connolly Brothers is still dedicated to integrity and to a clear, simple goal: delivering work of such high quality that it is asked back for its clients’ next project – even if that project may not surface until a future Connolly generation can complete it.