Shawn O’Malley: 20 Years of Craftsmanship

A Life of Learning – Shawn O’Malley celebrates his 20th work anniversary with McElroy’s on November 16, 2020. He has come a long way in the plumbing trade since he was working summers for his father at $1.25 an hour. Shawn will tell you that no matter how much he has learned over the years, “… there is always something new to learn. You’ll never know it all.”

O’Malley’s Plumbing – Born in Manhattan, Kansas, Shawn moved to Topeka in sixth grade. He went back to Manhattan every summer to learn the plumbing trade in his father John’s business, O’Malley’s Plumbing. “My grandfather did the books,” Shawn said, “and I helped by digging ditches, getting parts, sweeping up – whatever was needed.” Shawn learned from those days that he enjoyed the variety that a plumbing career offered. “One day we’d be down in a ditch repairing a broken main, and the next day we’re in the kitchen of some mansion. It was always something different.”

The McElroy’s Team – Shawn had worked a few years as a plumber in Topeka when he got the opportunity to join McElroy’s. “I found McElroy’s to be a very family oriented company,” Shawn said, “and what really impressed me was the team spirit.” Shawn said teamwork is a major advantage at McElroy’s. “A customer will call who has already tried other plumbing companies, and nobody can solve their problem. At McElroy’s we collaborate on a challenge. If one person can’t fix it, somebody else can. There’s nothing our team can’t handle.”

Craftsmanship: A Group Effort – Shawn is always honing his skills. “Craftsmanship is a core value at McElroy’s,” Shawn said, “and we’re all helping each other improve each day. For example, Junior Barajas and I frequently give each other tips.” Shawn has one key suggestion for new people learning the trade. “Give it your best shot, and never be afraid to reach out for advice. There’s always somebody back at the office or out in the field who can help.”

Family Time – Shawn’s wife Michele earned a Secondary Education degree from Kansas State University and went on to graduate from the Washburn University School of Law. Michele and Shawn enjoy supporting their children’s activities. Their 11-year-old son Gus is active in scouting and their 12-year-old daughter Clare plays first-chair string bass for the Kansas City Youth Symphony.

Shop Time – Shawn still favors a pursuit he learned at O’Malley’s Plumbing. “We’re going fishing today,” his father would announce. Then they’d tell grandpa, the company accountant, that they were on “shop time.” Next time you have a great day on “shop time,” Shawn, show the McElroy’s team your pictures of the “really big catch!” McElroy’s appreciates your dedicated service, Shawn O’Malley. And remember, our team always has your back.

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