- THE MAGAZINE
Dave Keiter is the owner of Yellow Van Cleaning Services (Kearney, NE).
How would you best sum up the last 50 years (or the time that you’ve been a part) of the carpet cleaning/restoration industry?
There are many people who I consider to be giants over the past 50 years in our industry that have paved the way for my success. But at the time that I met them they were just normal people that were helping me find my voice, my unique ability in an industry that did not contain rules for engagement. I am humbled to say that many of those people were, in my mind friends, but today I regard them as giants in our industry.
When I entered this industry after college, I saw a wonderful horizon of opportunity in the cleaning and restoration Industry. The rules were just being written and I enjoyed the thought of being at the beginning of the birth of an industry. I saw an opportunity to bring dignity to the service worker. I saw an industry that with great leadership and systems was one that could challenge me to become the very best in developing my skill in management with a lifetime of growth and opportunity.
In your opinion, what have been some of the most significant events and milestones to impact the industry over the past 50 years? What about some of the most significant people?
In central Nebraska, we had to travel to the teachers and schools run by the suppliers. Ralph Bloss of Steam Way International was by far the single most influential person in my business success. Ralph had vision beyond the present as he was able to see the industry’s direction with wonderful clarity. Ralph had the gifts of knowledge and reason that seemed to flow from his daily life. He had a great insight into connecting people with resources. He gave more than he consumed. Ralph gave without pausing for his equality. He knew his success would come from those he served.
Our industry has benefit from great organizers and connectors like Larry Cooper, and his wife Tryna, who gave to our association PCUCA (now PACR) and our industry over 40 years of leadership. And the many educators that came to teach me more about the art of craftsmanship in the cleaning industry: Jeff Bishop, Jim Holland, Ruth Travis, Barry Costa, Steve Toburen, Joey Picket and the many other great teachers who truly walked the talk.
What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?
I really thank the suppliers who continued to do the research to bring about the tools of our industry. Without their commitment to research and development we would not have the success we enjoy today. Companies like Adco Pro with Larry Haack, Interlink Supply with the Hank brothers, Jon-Don with Nick Paolella and all the people employed in our product and equipment industry that requires the leadership to be forward thinking.
The people who teach us how to sell our services from Bill Yeadon, Joe Polish, Zig Ziglar, Howard Partridge, Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill and the many others who taught me how to market my company either in person or by their books of knowledge. All gave of themselves to move our industry forward.
Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?
Looking back over my 30-plus years I begin to see a trend of wonderful selfless giving that makes me very proud to be a part of our cleaning industry. Thank you to the many giants I call friends who have guided me toward my success in this industry. (And) kindest regards to ICS on your 50th Anniversary.