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Gail Sage, McElroy’s commercial construction sheet-metal foreman, celebrates 40 years with McElroy’s on January 11, 2024.


Construction Gail Sage: 40 Years of Trusted Skill

January 11, 2024

“With Gail Sage on the job, you can trust in superior craftsmanship that will be done on time,” said McElroy’s president, Dan Beal. “Gail’s been shaping and installing sheet metal for 40 years, and he’s still remarkably energetic. Gail works as fast on the last minute of the day as he did on the first.” On January 11, 2024, we celebrate Gail Sage’s 40th anniversary with McElroy’s. Gail is a sheet-metal journeyman in commercial construction whose proven commitment to being there and being his best is legendary. We’re very proud that Gail has been on our team for 40 uninterrupted years – an amazing run that we look forward to seeing extended!

Building a Work Ethic

Gail grew up in Dover, Kansas, and attended Mission Valley schools. He was active in several sports – football, basketball and baseball – but wrestling was his favorite. “It was an individual sport and you could be successful at any size,” Gail said. “I won a few medals.” In school, he liked shop classes: woodworking, welding and vocational agriculture. “Dad was an accountant who did some farming, so I helped with livestock, hauled hay and cut cane. I also had a job at the gas station, back when they were full-service. I pumped gas, checked fluids, changed tires and such.” Gail understood early that working hard was simply a part of life.

Gail Sage, McElroy’s commercial construction sheet-metal foreman, fastens a reducer onto a large, rectangular air duct.Bending Metal

After graduation, Gail wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. He delivered drywall for his uncle’s business and worked in concrete one summer. Then he decided to take heating and air classes at Kaw Valley Vo-Tech. “About two years out of high school, I saw that McElroy’s was looking for an apprentice in their sheet metal shop,” Gail said. “I applied and got on board helping the journeymen. I didn’t know much about sheet metal, but I enjoyed fabrication – bending metal and working with my hands. I just came to work every day and did my job to the best of my abilities.”

Loving Tough Projects

Gail quickly built solid skills and a trusted reputation. Once he was a journeyman, he was appointed the leader on increasingly complex projects. “When I came to work for McElroy’s in 1991, Gail was leading a massive job for the AT&SF railway,” said Dan Beal. “McElroy’s was building huge exhaust hoods for four locomotive load-testing bays inside the Santa Fe shop facilities. It was a tough project, but Gail loved it. As fast as I gave him a piece of 48-inch round duct, it was up in the air, installed perfectly. He’s a great role model – smart, efficient, and energetic with a friendly, positive attitude.”

McElroy’s commercial construction sheet-metal foreman, Gail Sage, places flexible ductwork above a ceiling.Working Hard

Jimmy Thomas, McElroy’s commercial project manager, also got his start working with Gail. “Beginning in 2005, I spent five years putting up sheet metal in the field with Gail,” Jimmy said. “He was working circles around me, and he still goes 100-percent all the time – the hardest worker I’ve ever seen.” At the time, Gail was leading a variety of big projects at Kansas State University. “We worked on the Beach Art Museum, and the football stadium’s north end zone, coaches’ facilities, and locker rooms. Gail worked fast, but he took the time to teach me, and he let me learn by doing. I don’t remember Gail ever being mad at anyone. If he was upset, he’d just take it out on the ductwork!”

Powering Through

One thing everyone notices about Gail is his fitness. To be able to keep up the pace he does after four decades in construction is remarkable. “Other folks talk about going to the gym and getting their workouts in,” said Gail. “My job has always been my exercise. If I’m feeling a little flabby, I just work a little harder, or a little faster. I like to start early and keep moving.” Co-workers like Dan and Jimmy noted that it’s not unusual for Gail to power right through breaks and even lunchtime. That was okay with them though. If they kept up with him, when they’d gotten everything done together, they could clock out with their eight hours a little early.

Gail Sage, McElroy’s commercial construction sheet-metal foreman, applies duct gasket tape to a large section of rectangular duct.Training Technicians

“We love to pair Gail with up-and-coming apprentices,” said Wade Jueneman, McElroy’s vice president of engineering and commercial construction. “If just a little bit of Gail rubs off on an apprentice, you’re going to have a better worker. Yes, Gail works incredibly fast – but his speed is also because he’s so experienced and smart. Gail’s always thinking of ways to get as much done as he can in the best way that he can. I hope Gail can train a lot more apprentices before he finally retires. It’s hard to imagine any other sheet-metal technician reaching the bar Gail has set.”

Working for Fun

When you ask Gail what he does for fun, his answer is simple: “I work. I have some acreage down by Lebo, near Melvern Lake. I run some cattle, build fence, maintain the property and otherwise enjoy the outdoors – including fishing in my pond a little.” Gail’s daughter, Erin, lives in Harveyville, Kansas, and works remotely for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. His son Justin has a job with Exxon and lives near San Francisco.

40 Exceptional Years!

“McElroy’s has been good to me, and I’ve always had a good time working for them,” Gail said. “The company treats me fairly and keeps me busy. Although McElroy's has grown a lot in recent years, the family values here remain the same. Dan Beal and his wife Paula are good people, working to make things better for the entire team. In fact, everyone at McElroy’s is simply working to put out a good product to everyone’s best ability.” We appreciate you, Gail Sage. And we know that we can always trust you to put your hard-earned skills, and boundless energy to work for our customers. Thank you for 40 exceptional years with McElroy’s!

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