After completing a boilermaking apprenticeship and three years of a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering, I went to the Gold Coast and played football for a year and a half.
Deciding early in 1954 that my future lay elsewhere, I returned to Brisbane and commenced making open web joists and balustrading under a domestic dwelling at Hawthorne. A fortnight later, council evicted me and I moved to very dingy premises next to the Shafston hotel at east Brisbane, with less than 100 pounds in my bank account, I started on the open market.
A year later, I built premises at Didsbury street after convincing a bank manager that I had 10 men, and my ex foreman Roy Christie, (who had been my supervisor at Evans Deakin during my apprenticeship, joined me and remained with the company until his death some 44 years later.)
Gay Constructions continued to grow, with some minor set backs ie: lack of funding (it is a fact of life that most Australian companies at origin point are underfunded.) However, with good workforce, many of whom had worked with me during my apprenticeship years, I was able to grow the company to the point where we became successful, and one of the major players in steel fabrication in the state.
By the end of the sixties, we were constructing major projects in shopping centers and serious mining projects with staff numbering over 100 including management, clerical staff, drawing office and ironworkers.
From the outset, the Gay Construction motto was “undertake and perform”. I live by this slogan, and endeavored to run the company in that way. Over the years, reliability became a cornerstone. Once Gay Constructions gave an undertaking, people recognized we would do our very best to comply. This sentiment is well received and an essential to continued business relations.
In the middle of the 70’s I started Purlin industries (today Stramit) because the Queensland engineering operations were constantly overlooked in relation to supply by the southern manufactures.
A company is only as good as the people who operate within, and I have to say those who followed me have maintained similar ideals which have engendered in the marketplace recognition of our skills and reliability.