A Tradition of Craftsmanship

Our crew is a team of craftsmen, some of whom have been working together for decades to create special places for clients. Some of us are closer than family. At one point one of our job sites included four father-son teams working side by side. We believe that innovation stands on the shoulders of tradition. We are expert in the fundamentals of our trade and know how to use them to craft solutions to state-of-the-art problems. We take pride in our ability to produce a fine result and have fun in the process.

“The men on our job were, without exception, skilled professionals. They worked as a team, worked hard, exhibited taste and judgment, and are an unequalled resource.” ~ Lawrence Lasser, Client
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Who We Are

John G. Early, whose family began summering in West Tisbury in 1922, made the Vineyard his home in 1972. After receiving his BA from Cornell University and completing two tours of duty with the Peace Corps in India, John returned to the island for a few months of R & R before returning to what he hoped would be a career in international development. When it became clear that global politics would not be conducive to this plan, he thought he would do a little construction while deciding his next move. He got a job with Xanadu Builders, an island contracting firm working on a large waterfront project in Chilmark. After the ownership of that firm changed hands several times, John reorganized the Company in 1975 as John G. Early Contractor & Builder. Two Xanadu alumni making the move with John were Len Butler and Glenn Andrews, both still with the Company in senior supervisory roles. Since then John's life has become inextricably bound to the Island, its people and its service institutions.

Equally dedicated to serving his clients and his community, John was elected to ten terms on the West Tisbury Board of Selectmen where he served for 30 years (1976-2006). He was also an appointed member of the Martha's Vineyard Commission for twenty years and has been a member of the West Tisbury Volunteer Fire Department since 1972 where he holds the rank of Deputy Chief. He has served on several non-profit boards and is currently Chairman of the Martha's Vineyard Housing Fund, President of Island Elderly Housing, Inc., Co-Vice President of Vineyard House and Director of the Edgartown National Bank, as well as a member of numerous town and regional committees.

Len Butler, one of the founding members of the Company, has been associated with John and Glenn since 1972, having learned carpentry skills, work ethic and pride in a job done right from working with his grandfather and later with a third-generation Island builder. Now a Senior Site Supervisor, Len has held every fine craftsman and site supervisory role on the way up and has always focused on passing along both skills and values to the younger generation of our team. He is particularly good at coordination and logistics, but really shines at solving unique construction problems posed by the complex structures we build. His favorite challenge was a "neo Victorian" home in Oak Bluffs that tested his design and woodworking skills and he is especially proud of executing the parabolic roof structure of the grand entrance foyer of an Edgartown home. A devoted father and grandfather from a young age, Len is his talented children's biggest coach, fan and boogie boarding companion.

Jed Conlin, a quintessential finish carpenter, has been with the Company since 1978. His attention to detail is legendary in the Company where he has become the "go to" guy for resolving tricky problems with interior finish work, particularly those involving hardware. When he is not working, Jed enjoys sailing his catboat, Chester, with his wife and their dog, Nevis.

Scott Stearns has been a Project Manager with us since 2008 after working on-Island in project management and site supervision roles for five years and running his own construction company for another five years, all of which contribute to his particular skill of scheduling and managing jobs and details. He also has experience in property management. He particularly enjoyed overseeing the construction of an extremely complex dairy and cheese making facility now producing local organic cheese. Scott, his wife and two your daughters rejoice in what the Island has to offer and he gives back by serving on the Community Preservation Committee in West Tisbury.

Steven Donovan was a self-employed builder on the Island before joining the Company in 1999 as a Lead Carpenter on a large Chilmark residence. Now a Site Supervisor, Steve's strength is assessing problems and building consensus around solutions to get the job done. His focus is quality and he is always aware that a project is not just a building or a house but a client's home. Steve also served for several years as the coach of the MV Regional High School hockey team.

Jack Hughes, as cantankerous as he is capable, has been a Carpenter/Foreman with the Company since 1984. Skilled at everything we do but estimating, Jack particularly enjoys the creative side of the work and teaching others how to do things right, better or elegantly. His favorite project was the challenge of installing an elliptical tension ring supporting the rafters in the stairwell of a large West Tisbury residence and he takes particular pride in the beauty of a round outdoor shower designed by Hutker Architects and built by us as a donation to the first Houses on the Move auction supporting affordable housing on the Island.

The Company would not run without Holly MacKenzie who has been our bookkeeper and administrator since 1999 and has supervised the financial affairs of the company through several periods of rapid growth during which the business needed to implement new systems in order to keep up with itself. She has two delightful daughters who have been part of the Company as long as their mother has.

Other longtime employees include Keith Maybury, a highly skilled carpenter and site supervisor, Lewis Waring, one of our most expert finish carpenters, Erik Ropke and Bob Hennessey.