Thomas Daly: Building a Livelihood
By James Florence, Senior Writer
MILL VALLEY — Daunted by the prospect of a career spent behind a desk, Thomas Daly left his home country to build a new livelihood in the United States. “I was working an office job back in Ireland and I hated it,” he remembers. “Prior to that, I’d spent some time in the U.S. playing for a Gaelic football team, so I decided to return to New York, where I got a job building high-rises. After a few years, I went to Alaska to work on the oil pipeline, and from there I went to Australia to work on another. Eventually, I returned to the U.S., where I settled in Marin County, got my contractor’s license and have been working for myself ever since.”
Today, as owner of Thomas A Daly Construction, Thomas says he enjoys his job’s combination of physical work and mental challenges. “I love that I get to be outside working with my hands every day. Plus, I like that fact that I’m always learning new things. As a contractor, you never stop learning because every job requires a different set of solutions.”
A resident of Mill Valley, Thomas likes to spend his free time staying active. “I’m a member of Bay Club Marin in Corte Madera, where I spend a lot of my time swimming and working out,” he says. “I also play a bit of tennis and squash on the weekends, and occasionally indoor soccer, though I’m getting a bit old for that.” Thomas also likes to travel on a regular basis. “I have family and a small farm in Ireland, so I like to go back there a few times a year. My wife usually books us a trip to somewhere like Spain or Portugal while we’re there. I enjoy going to different places and meeting different people.”
In regard to a professional philosophy, Thomas believes in providing the same level of quality and service he’d expect for himself. “I try to perform every job as if I was working on my own house,” he explains. “When doing estimates, I always recommend what I think is best for the customer’s particular circumstances. Overall, I believe in giving my customers quality work for a fair price.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Thomas says he wouldn’t. “I would close the lid on my own coffin,” he laughs. “Retirement isn’t on my horizon—I’ll keep working until I drop. I enjoy my time off, of course, but I like having work to come back to, and that will be the case as long as I’m in the world.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both. I go to bed around midnight and I’m usually up by 6am.
Q: Coffee or tea?
A: When I’m the U.S., I drink coffee, but when I’m in Ireland, I drink tea, which is what I was raised on.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: I have two: The Cantina in Mill Valley and The Mayflower Pub in San Rafael.
Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: Mostly biographies and history books, especially anything about the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Q: If you could talk to anyone living or dead, who would you choose?
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A: Abraham Lincoln. I’d like to hear what he has to say about what’s going on in this country today.