|"The reason Maloney is run like a family is because it's run by a family."
W.J. Maloney Plumbing is proud to be a family company with deep roots in the Phoenix area. Founded in 1964 by William Joseph Jr. and Mary Kathryn Maloney, the company is now helmed by their daughter, Kathryn Maloney-Langmade.
Customers tell us that they like doing business with us because of our values: that we work hard, treat others honestly and fairly, and always look for a better way to do something so that we create the most value for the best cost. We believe these values - that we strive to uphold daily - come from our founders. And that being a family business means treating our employees and customers with a respect and friendliness that goes beyond mere business relationships.
We'd like to share a little of our history with you, the story of how W.J. Maloney Plumbing grew from a home-based business to a premier Phoenix area plumbing contractor.
William Joseph Maloney: "The Duke is Here"
For people who've worked with us for decades, William Joseph Maloney, Jr. was W.J. Maloney Plumbing. His four older sisters gave him a royal title when he was young, proclaiming "Here comes the Duke" when he entered the room. The nickname stuck, so plumbers and customers knew him simply as Duke.
Duke was born in 1929 in Omaha, Nebraska, the 5th child of William J. and Anne Maloney. His father was a plumber and Duke learned the trade from him. He was raised to be a hard worker, both as a plumber and a builder. During high school, the family moved to Idaho, where Duke met Mary McDonald. The following years took him back to Omaha to finish school and attend college, then to California where he worked as a union plumber until he was drafted during the Korean war. After serving, Duke returned to Omaha where he met Mary again, as she traveled through on a trip. Duke and Mary were married in 1954.
Duke personally trained many of the foremen at W.J. Maloney and, although president of the company, he was known for working in the field, and showing up to company meetings in work clothes. A project manager once described Duke as "a hardworking Irish plumber" and that description is apt. His work ethic and drive to do it right are still the foundation of our company values, the legacy he left to us when he passed on in 2006.
Mary Kathryn McDonald was born in Cottonwood Idaho, in 1932, the daughter of Joseph Bernard McDonald and Catherine Mary McDonald. Her father was a dry land farmer and rancher. Mary went to a one-room schoolhouse for the first grade. Always a good student, she attended Forest Ridge HS, a Catholic girls boarding school in Seattle. In 1954, she graduated with a BS in Home Economics from the University of Idaho. She had served as President of Delta Gamma Fraternity and Junior Class Officer - as well as being a member of the prestigious Spurs & Mortarboard honor society.
When Mary went to a family reunion in Minneapolis in 1953, she extended the trip to see Duke in Omaha. They were married in August, 1954, and moved to Idaho to become farmers for the next ten years. During this time their first two of three children were born: Mary Ann Maloney and W.J. (Billy) Maloney, III. In 1964 Kathryn Joan (Kitty) Maloney - now President - was born.
W.J. Maloney Plumbing Begins
1964 - 1970
Duke's Father and Mother had retired in Phoenix; Duke and Mary decided to leave the farming life and pursue a business here.
Duke transferred his California plumber's license to Arizona and wanted to begin construction on an apartment complex. But he had not lived here long enough to take out a building permit, so his father, at 75, took the city plumbing test, passed it, and got the permit.
Duke hired an architect and began the work on the Squire Apartments, which took only 6 months to complete.
Duke and Mary began W.J. Maloney Plumbing as a sole proprietorship in 1964, working out of their home at first.
From the beginning, W.J. Maloney Plumbing was a union business, as Duke hired plumbers from the local hall.
Duke learned estimating from Al Nelesen, made contacts among the building contractors, won the contracts and even trained the foremen. Mary did the accounting, payroll and job costing.
The company did the plumbing for many of the area schools and office buildings, and eventually tenant improvement work lead to residential plumbing as well.
Duke and Mary incorporate the business as W.J. Maloney Plumbing Co., Inc.
The company had grown, both in reputation and size. Duke and Mary bought the property where we still reside. At the time there was a small house on the property, that had been used by a roofing company, and an old building that we used for a warehouse. C3 zoning allowed us to run trucks in the yard. It was a new beginning.
We opened a plumbing parts store that Mary worked in every Saturday.
W.J. Maloney Plumbing was outgrowing the old warehouse and Duke built the new one that we still use.
The company took another big step, winning the plumbing contract for the original Phelps Dodge high-rise on Central, working with a contracting company, Rauenhorst, later to become Opus West. That was a pioneering job as well, because it was the first time we built prefabricated plumbing units for each floor and installed them
It was the beginning of larger projects for W.J. Maloney. The cities of the Valley were growing and so were we, helping - in our way - to shape the skylines and infrastructures of Phoenix and other communities.
Duke built the building where you still find us - thought we've renovated since then, remodeling the Commercial Plumbing offices entirely in 2008.
Kathryn (Kitty) comes to work at the company.
After completing a BS in Business Administration from Colorado State University, Kathryn Maloney moved to San Francisco to work in advertising. She then returned to Phoenix to work with J. Walter Thompson and earn her MBA from Thunderbird in 1994 - she graduated on her 30th birthday and went to work for printing giant RR Donnelly.
Kathryn becomes Vice President.
January 24, William J. Maloney, Jr. (Duke) passes away at age 76.
Mary assumes Presidency. Her values - "Take on as much as you can do and do it well" - continue to guide the company.
Kathryn becomes President of W.J. Maloney Plumbing.
In May, Mary hands the baton to her daughter who first learned the business from her working at the shop in her youth. Mary is still active in the business as Treasurer-Secretary.
On to the Future
We invite you to look over the list of clients and projects that we have had the honor to work on in this valley. All of us at W.J. Maloney - including some of the original foremen that Duke trained - are proud of the many buildings in the valley skyline that we have helped to raise, working with some of the finest general contractors in the country.
As the legacy continues to pass through our family, we look forward to the next generation of hard, rewarding work.