A lifelong body shop owner has stepped into a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates in Maine. Shawn Moody, owner of the 11-store Moody’s Collision Centers, announced his candidacy in late November.
Moody, 58, previously ran as an independent in 2010, when Maine’s current governor, the outspoken and controversial Paul LePage was elected to his first term in office. Moody has since registered as a Republican, one of five currently in the race. Of the 16 candidates currently on the ballot, he probably has the least political experience. His opponents include the current sate house minority leader, state senate majority leader, the Maine Senate President, and a former commissioner at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on the Republican side.
There are also ten Democrats currently running, along with a half dozen or so third-part and independents. Maine will hold its party primaries on June 12, 2018.
While he is effectively an outsider, Moody does have some powerful allies in his campaign. After the 2010 election, Gov. LePage named Moody to the boards of trustees for the University of Maine and the state’s community college system. His campaign includes a number of LePage associates, including Republican strategist Brent Littlefield (who ran LePage’s 2010 and 2014 campaigns), LePage advisors Sean Ingram and Michael Hersey, former House Minority Leader Joe Bruno and, notably, Lauren LePage, an attorney and the current governor’s daughter.
Although he ran against him in 2010, Moody says that the current governor has “worked tirelessly and passionately to get Maine’s fiscal house in order.”
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“I look at myself as the guy who is going to take what he’s built, and build upon it,” Moody says. “We will continue to reduce government waste and invest the money to allow the economy to grow, which ultimately benefits everybody.”
Moody opened his three-bay first body shop in Gorham, Maine, when he was 17 years old and still a senior in high school. “I was self-employed before I was old enough to vote,” Moody says.
In 1988, he bought an adjacent junk yard that he quickly transformed into one of the leading auto recyclers in the country. That operation was sold to LKQ in the early 2000s in a deal that included what would soon be valuable stock options. Moody worked for LKQ, helping the company transition new acquisitions, the leveraged the financial windfall from the deal to expand his collision business.
In 2008, Moody bought a small auto salvage/auction company that he later sold to Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA). Both LKQ and IAA both operate under lease agreements on Moody’s Gorham campus.
Now with 11 locations, Moody’s has established a central resource management operation to handle background office activities, human resources, IT, payroll, and other functions. “We’ve reduced our overhead,” Moody says. “Our sales are up 17 percent this year, but overhead is up just 1 percent. We have a very lean and efficient administrative structure now.”