From Pitching to Plumbing – Junior Barajas celebrates his 15th McElroy’s work anniversary on December 9, 2020. If not for a timely call from his former youth baseball coach, his celebration might be in Texas. “Doug Bass was my baseball coach until I was 18,” Junior said. “I once pitched against the three-time state champs and we lost 1 to 0. Doug remembered me as a hard-working team player.” Years later, Junior was laid off from his building maintenance job and planned to move to Texas. Doug heard about it and called Junior. “Doug knew all my family was here,” Junior recalls. “He told me not to move and said, ‘You’re starting at McElroy’s tomorrow.’”
Driver for a Day – Junior reported to McElroy’s at 7:30 the next morning as a delivery driver. But before that day was over, he was recruited by Charlie Campbell to move to the McElroy’s plumbing service department. “I already knew a little about plumbing,” Junior said, “but I had a lot to learn. That’s one of the great things about McElroy’s – someone will always help you grow. I learned a lot from Steve Hain and Shawn O’Malley, for example. Shawn and I still trade tips all the time.”
Learning Opportunities – “There’s always a lot of opportunity at McElroy’s,” Junior said, “and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” Junior likes being challenged to keep learning and adopting new skills and solutions. “There’s a lot more to plumbing than just pipes,” Junior explains. “You learn about water softeners, heaters, backflow protection and so on. Any time I ran into something I didn’t know, someone on the McElroy’s team could coach me.”
Stick-Figure Thank You – Junior enjoys working in service plumbing. “A customer could call any company. So it’s great when someone invites me into their home or business and I solve their problem. Happy customers are very satisfying.” In his truck, Junior keeps a drawing that a child made for him. It shows Junior as a stick-figure fixing their water heater. The hand-written note on the back says, “Thank you for fixen the wadr hedr. We can tak a bath now.” How great is that?
Family Support – Junior gives a lot of credit to his family for their support of his career: wife Raquel, son Carlos and daughters Noelle and Alyssa. “Every 10 weeks each plumber does a week of being on call for 24/7 emergency service,” he explains. “Sometimes that means missing a holiday or important family event. I’m thankful my family understands and supports that responsibility.” Junior enjoys a lot of camaraderie with his family and calls them his “strong backbone.”
The McElroy’s Way – “When I started, Shawn O’Malley and I were the young guys,” Junior said. “Now we’re the old guys. We’ve seen a lot of people retire and new ones start, and we’re all working to carry on The McElroy’s Way. For me, that means being confident of my abilities, learning and adapting, working quickly and cleanly, and always doing my best.” We at McElroy’s are glad you take pride in solving customers’ problems, Junior. And we’re very proud of you and your work. Thank you for 15 great years, Junior. We’re hoping for many more!