Everyone has a story. The story of David “Homie” Mulcahy, a custom metal manufacturer and fabricator in Utah, is truly like no other.
Growing up in East Los Angeles – Highland Park to be specific – Mulcahy easily found trouble and found himself in and out of jail before he was 20 years old. His father died in prison as a result of being involved in gang activity. Once he wrapped up a final stint on probation, his mother gave him a one-way ticket to Salt Lake City to live and work with his brother. Mulcahy’s brother left Highland Park about three years before that after being shot in a gang-related incident.
“The first year in Salt Lake I just hated it,” Mulcahy says. “My brother was working for Ray Keller (Construction) and I started the second day I was there. I eventually took a liking to metal and it took off from there.”
Becoming A Craftsman
Mulcahy mastered his craft at Ray Keller Construction, handling the sheet metal work on Latter Day Saints church buildings in all 50 states. He carried on with a company he founded with a partner called Retro Design. “When I left Ray, I wanted to do work on specialized panels, concealed fasteners,” he says. “Copper, zinc, rusted steel and that’s what we did.”
After enduring some tough economic times with the rest of the country in the late 2000s, Mulcahy started Retro Custom Metals in 2010. With some financial backing from a couple partners and a certified membership in the Drexel Metals Association of Regional Manufacturers, Mulcahy had an opportunity to showcase his talents. He was the first DM-ARM certified manufacturer in Utah and he works with several DM-ARM certified contractors.
“I had a pretty good reputation in and around Salt Lake,” Mulcahy said. “We developed a profitable cut-and-drop business. The tools from Drexel Metals allowed us to compete against the traditional fixed-in-place panel manufacturers. The first machine we had, I ran miles of panels. Retro is now the ‘go-to’ metal roofing supply company in Salt Lake and the surrounding area.”
Retro Custom Metals has also developed its own metal roofing details that hide all fasteners. “It’s a true concealed fastener roofing system,” Mulcahy says. Mulcahy also made a name for himself working on roll formers, getting them to manufacture panels to spec. He says barrel roofs have become the rage in Utah and there are five curving machines in Utah. All five owners call Mulcahy to operate their curvers when they get orders for barrel roof panels.
“I have a couple guys guiding the metal in and a couple guys carrying the curved panel out,” he says. “It’s an art form.”
Paying It Forward
In addition to his ever-growing reputation as a fabricator, Mulcahy has developed a reputation as one who has shared his good fortune with those sincerely looking for a high-speed, one-way ticket out of trouble. He is quick to admit he’s been fortunate to get to this point in his professional life.
Family and friends were involved in racing when Mulcahy was growing up and he was always attracted to the sounds and speed. He worked mostly with Keith Spangler, a long-time friend and driver on the SRL Southwest Tour.
“Keith is like a brother,” Mulcahy says. “He kept me out of a lot of trouble, so sponsoring him is a given.
Mulcahy’s love of auto racing and growing business have allowed him to become a major sponsor for his friend. He is also funding a program, with help from the Salt Lake City Police Department and Drug Enforcement Unit, to help troubled children get involved in racing. It’s a Gang Alternative Program.
“We’ve got one 15-year-old girl, Jeanille, who is racing a sprint car,” Mulcahy says. “I was good friends with her dad and he, unfortunately, killed himself. Thank God for her grandparents. Her grandfather, Jimmy Waters, is a racing legend in Utah. As long as she stays out of trouble, keeps a 3.5 grade point and works on her car, we’ll make sure she gets to race.”
Mulcahy would eventually like to grow the program to the point where he could sponsor several cars for troubled kids, trying to keep them on the right path, just as so many have done for him through the years.
Recognizing Mulcahy’s “pay-it-forward” mentality, Drexel Metals became a racing sponsor this season. Drexel Metals provides roll forming equipment, as well as coil, testing and business support to Retro Custom Metals.
“Doing business is more fun when you’re working with people you like, trust and respect,” said Brian Partyka, executive vice president of Drexel Metals. “If you’ve got good products and you’re working with people you like, business can be pretty simple. Not only is Homie doing great things for us, but he’s doing great things for his customers and for his community through the racing program. Drexel Metals is a big believer in paying it forward. Homie’s got a great story and we’re happy to be a part of it.”