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Real gone, man

image Matthew O’Leary (president) and ace worker James Anderson of GTT Fabrication, working on the Medina County Library

SAN ANTONIO - The initials “GTT” stood for the phrase “Gone to Texas,” used by many who did so in the 1800s. Those who upped and left their homes (many times to escape if they were in debt) simply wrote “GTT” on their doors to signify they were out of there to start a new life in the Lone Star State.





    The same is true for the O’Leary boys, who wandered the world as Air Force dependents. Their father retired out of Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento. With the cost of living and business prospects being so good in Texas, brothers Matthew and Kevin did the GTT thing and started GTT Fabrication in 2016.
    “We decided to start a fabrication shop out of the welding equipment that we had and the construction knowledge that we had,” oldest brother Patrick said.
    Matthew is the president and Patrick the vice president. Patrick still resides in northern California running O’Leary Exploratory Services (based in Idaho – don’t ask), but commutes to Texas every month to meet with clients and help out any way he can. From his west coast digs, Patrick keeps the books and does the estimating and makes all the phone calls.
    Even though the family moved all over the world with the Air Force (Patrick graduated from high school in Berlin), all things construction is built into everyone’s DNA. “Reading a set of plans is like breathing for us,” Patrick said.
    Dad got the boys involved with being mechanical and working on cars early on. Not only did Dad move to family to Alaska for an assignment, he built their house up there as well. Patrick recalls working with an uncle in his construction business in Montana. Even though no one really has any formal training in the construction trades, Patrick said “It’s in the blood” for the whole family. Further, they’ve worked with various contractors all their lives.
    “We like building stuff,” he added. “We’ve always been hands-on, get-down-in-the-dirt king of guys.” Thus, starting a fabrication business was a smooth transition for the boys. “A lot of our clients were begging us to do so,” Patrick explained.
    GTT Fabrication has three main divisions: a shop fabrication for items like connector plates for beams (GTT does a lot for in-town companies as well as shipping them out of state); pre-fab metal buildings; and structural steel that’s also shipped out.
    GTT picked Castroville because it has plenty of room and the land is inexpensive. Good thing, too, because the O’Learys want to expand on their existing shop. The San Antonio building boom has been very good to GTT Fabrication. “We want to grow,” Patrick said.”
    Currently, there are seven men on the GTT payroll.
    Matthew and Kevin are the main welders and run the operations in Texas. Matthew’s wife is an architectural
student at UTSA and does all the shop drawings for GTT.
    If Patrick needs help with an estimate, he dispatches Matthew to look into it. Otherwise, being remote hasn’t posed a problem for him. Having said that, once Patrick’s daughter graduates from high school, he too will paint “GTT” on his garage or front door in northern California and make the trek that so many before him have done and will join up with his two brothers.
    “It’s just better doing business in Texas,” Patrick said, stating the bottom line. After years of traveling around the world, the O’Learys have FSH: Finally Stopped Here.
    GTT Fabrication makes custom metal products, based in Castroville. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net