Shawn graduated from Stanford University with an M.A. from the Food Research Institute. He owned a landscape company for many years, as well as a construction company and has extensive management experience. After he and his wife inherited an olive orchard in Provence and got acquainted with olives, they decided to plant an olive orchard, then start a milling business in the Santa Ynez Valley. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Olive Oil Council from 2005 to 2007.