Greg May: Building Pride
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN JOSE — When Greg May started helping his father renovate houses in his early teen years, he didn’t realize he was taking his first step on a lifelong career path. “When I was 13, my dad started buying houses, fixing them up and reselling them, and later he went into construction full-time,” he remembers. “I got my first taste of the trade helping him on the weekends and during the summer. Later, while I was in college, he asked for my help with a big project he had in Atherton, to which I agreed. I only planned to take a year off of school, but as it turned out, I never went back.”
In the end, Greg says the construction trade suited him better than anything he might have done with a college degree. “I’ve enjoyed building things since childhood, but I’ve also always liked math and science, which is why I went to school for chemical engineering. However, the thought of going to the same place for work every day and wearing a lab coat just didn’t appeal to me as much as working outdoors and putting homes together.”
Today, as owner of May Construction Inc., Greg says his favorite part of his job is the satisfaction he gets from doing good work and pleasing his customers. “I enjoy making people’s dreams come true by taking their ideas and bringing them to fruition. It’s a great feeling to step back, look at the finished product and hand the keys to the client knowing I’ve done something I can be proud of.”
A lifetime resident of San Jose (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Debbie), Greg divides his time outside of work between family, sporting activities and volunteer work. “I love to golf, as does my wife, so we try to get out on the course once or twice a week,” he says. “We also do a fair amount of traveling. Plus, we have five kids and three grandchildren, so we all get together a lot for birthdays, holidays or just because.” Greg is also active in his church and municipal communities. “I’m congregational chairman at our church, as well as a board member of Silicon Valley Group of Thrivent Financial, which is a Christian-based financial investment firm whose profits go back into the community.”
In his professional career, Greg espouses the importance of honesty. “I’ve found that customers really appreciate it when I’m honest and upfront with them,” he says. “Even when we run preliminary numbers for a client and don’t have a lot of data to work with, we try to give the most accurate estimate possible. A lot of contractors are more concerned about getting the client to sign the contract and plan to deal with the details later, but I would rather work through these things upfront so everyone is on the same page, which makes the client feel more confident.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Greg says he’d devote more time to community involvement, but he’d also check off a few bucket list items. “I’ve always wanted to play Pebble Beach, as well as spend a month in Italy. My wife is Italian, and we’ve been there before, but we’d like to go back and do a longer, more slowly paced vacation.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Forbes Mill Steakhouse in Los Gatos.
Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Sitting in the backyard with my dad when I was three or four years old. The soil around us was very rich in clay, and he would cut out pieces of it and carve little cars for me.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A night owl.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
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A: Bacon and eggs with a side of fruit.