Building for Generations

Celebrating 40 Years

For forty years, Wright-Ryan has been building Maine’s great spaces – built environments where Maine’s people have lived, worked, learned and thrived for generations. Throughout 2024, Wright-Ryan will shine a spotlight on the team members, partners and projects that have been integral to our success over the last four decades and highlight all the ways in which we will continue to build for generations to come.

Four Decades of History

Wright-Ryan was established in 1984 by Tom Wright and John Ryan, two childhood friends who shared a belief that creating a relationship-based firm where people cared about each other would unlock excellence. We have since grown to include more than 100 team members, with expertise that spans both commercial and residential construction. Throughout the last four decades, Wright-Ryan has been committed to a signature focus on innovation, sustainability, and long-lasting partnerships.

Wright-Ryan Discussions Begin

Childhood friends on Cliff Island, John Ryan and Tom Wright begin forming what is now known as Wright-Ryan through many conversations and discussions.

Company is Established

The year Wright-Ryan is officially formed as a company, kicking off with a residential project in Cape Elizabeth. In the same year, Wright-Ryan welcomes two team members who are still with the company today.

Construction of 140 Main Street in Freeport

Wright-Ryan’s first large commercial framing project, at 25,000 sq. ft., and one-time home of the Frye Boot Store in Freeport.

Growing the Team

Wright-Ryan moves offices from 62 Hampshire Street to 10 Danforth Street. By the end of 1989, Wright-Ryan had grown to employ over 30 carpenters.

A Recalibration & A Commitment

During the Savings & Loan Recession, Wright-Ryan focuses more directly on general contracting and residential work. Tom and John commit to enduring throughout the recession.

Completion of Children's Museum of Maine

The Children's Museum of Maine was Wright-Ryan's first project acting as Construction Manager, which cemented construction management as a cornerstone of the company’s delivery methods and service offerings.

Completion of University of Southern Maine Ice Arena

Wright-Ryan's largest project thus far, completed on a very tight timeline and a key milestone project. Through the strength of our team, Wright-Ryan completed the project (consisting of 51,000 square feet) in less than 6 months.

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Beginning Strategic Planning

2002 marked Wright-Ryan's first foray into strategic planning which became an annual exercise – a touchstone for the organization and set the company on a path to success. From this strategic planning, a redesigned logo and a new tagline emerges - "Building Maine's Great Spaces".

Commitment to Sustainability

In the early 2000s, Wright-Ryan further committed to focusing on green business practices in the field and office. As part of this focus, the company hosted a community event at University of Southern Maine with acclaimed environmentalist, Hunter Lovins.

The Next Chapter

Tom Wright moves on from Wright-Ryan, signaling another recalibration of the company as Wright-Ryan enters its next phase.

Completion of Cranberry Ridge

Cranberry Ridge was the first home in the Northeast to receive the LEED Platinum designation. Wright-Ryan partnered with Freeport Community Services to host open house weekends to educate the public on incorporating sustainability into their own homes and raised $40,000.

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Establishing Wright-Ryan Homes

Following the assignment of a General Manager for Wright-Ryan's residential work, Wright-Ryan Homes is officially established as its own division, signaling an intentional focus on residential projects.

Growing the Team

Over the course of 15 years, Wright-Ryan grew from roughly 20 employees in 1993 to 90 employees by 2008.

Diversifying Through Change

Throughout this challenging era of the Great Recession, Wright-Ryan regrouped and emerged as a stronger organization, diversifying and preparing for future expansion.

Building for Our Community

Focused on our local community, Wright-Ryan volunteered skilled labor and donated resources to build the entirety of a Habitat for Humanity House.

Honored for Historic Preservation

Wright-Ryan received three Maine Preservation awards for work at the Healy Terrace in Lewiston, the Hedge and Roger Williams Halls on the Bates College campus in Lewiston, and the Knox Hotel in Thomaston.

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Completion of the Press Hotel

Wright-Ryan completes construction, serving as Construction Manager, to convert the former headquarters of the Portland Press Herald into the Press Hotel.

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Wright-Ryan Becomes 100% Employee-Owned

Wright-Ryan becomes employee-owned, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the company and continuity of the team.

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Completion of Village Centre

One of the largest Passive House developments in North America, this project was designed and built to Passive House standards while keeping the critical importance of cost control in balance to meet the standards of an affordable housing development in Maine.

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Rapid Expansion and Growth

From 2017 onwards, Wright-Ryan's employee-ownership leads to a new level of success - forming the strongest team in the company's history and tackling some of the most challenging and rewarding projects to date.

Celebrating Women in Construction

Wright-Ryan works to create and support opportunities for women as a core element of its commitment to fostering a new generation of leaders. In 2017, over 45% of all women at Wright-Ryan serve in senior leadership positions and female team members represent nearly 15% (14.7%) of Wright-Ryan's total workforce. This figure far surpasses the national average. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, women represented only 9.1% of the total employed workforce in the construction industry in 2016.

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Dedicated to Our Local Community

In 2019, Wright-Ryan Employee Owners participate in United Way of Southern Maine's "United We CAN" food drive and sculpture contest as part of Wright-Ryan's Employee Giving Program. This event helped bring more than 26,000 meals to greater Portland!

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Navigating COVID-19

Wright-Ryan navigated rapid change in an unsteady environment. Remote work became the norm for those who could, and the company adopted new protocols to keep the teams safe and effective in the field.

Public Launch of "A Monumental Welcome"

Coinciding with the public launch of A Monumental Welcome, a fundraising campaign for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Wright-Ryan announced its role as Construction Manager serving Elliotsville Foundation, in partnership with a Wabanaki Advisory Board, to help realize the vision for a visitor contact station in the Monument.

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Building for Generations

Wright-Ryan looks ahead to the next 40 years and how the company will continue building for generations to come.

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With over forty years of industry expertise, our team has continued to push the envelope, finding innovative ways to deliver high-performance buildings to our clients and communities. Hear from members of the Wright-Ryan team on our pursuit of innovation and watch all existing episodes below.

Our Legacy

Throughout our history, Wright-Ryan has emphasized trade expertise, sustainability, and community. We believe employees are our most valuable asset, and in 2016, we proudly became a 100% employee-owned company. In the same year, we completed work on the Village Centre Apartments project in Brewer, Maine – serving as Construction Manager (CM) to Community Housing of Maine. Village Centre is one of the nation’s first, and largest, Passive House certified, multifamily affordable housing communities. In 2023, Wright-Ryan was announced as the CM serving Elliotsville Foundation, in partnership with a Wabanaki Advisory Board, to construct the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Our legacy of expertise, sustainability, and community will carry through our work for the next forty years as we continue to build for generations to come.