Dave Keith: The Remediator
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SANTA ROSA — A longtime construction professional, Dave Keith saw the burgeoning mold remediation industry as a chance to utilize his expertise to help those in need. “I have a family background in construction and development, so I’ve basically been involved in the field since the fourth grade,” he explains. “As the public awareness about mold and its effects began to rise in the late ’90s, I realized it was an area I could specialize in that would allow me to help people who were having mold problems in their homes.”
Dave’s first foray into professional mold remediation was a joint venture with his brother, who brought along his own pertinent experience as an insurance agent handling water and fire damage claims. “In 2002, my brother and I started a mold remediation company that was very successful—so much so that we ended up selling the company. The sale included a five-year non-compete clause, so I took a break from mold removal and started running a web company. Once the non-compete period ended, I went into partnership with my dad and started doing mold remediation and fire damage restoration, as well as general construction and remodeling.”
Today, as owner of NorthBay Environmental, Inc., Dave says his favorite part of his job is reassuring stressed-out customers. “Dealing with mold, water or fire damage is a lot different than doing general construction, in that it’s not something you plan for. It’s more of an emergency situation, and in many cases, the client’s home is inhabitable, so there’s a lot of anxiety and stress involved. That’s why I like going in and reassuring the customer that we’re going to take care of everything for them.”
A resident of Santa Rosa, Dave expresses his appreciation for life in the Sonoma County area. “I’ve lived for short stints in Southern California and the Reno/Tahoe area, which were both nice, but Sonoma County has a special place in my heart. It’s where my roots are, and I have a pretty large extended family, so there’s a real sense of support and belonging. This is home to me, and I love living here.”
Outside of work, Dave’s favorite thing to do is spend time with his family, including his four children and one grandchild. “Everybody is local, so we get to see a lot of each other,” he says. “As a parent, it’s great when your kids become young adults, because your relationship with them is quite different than when they were kids.” Dave also enjoys active hobbies like wakeboarding, hiking, playing competitive indoor soccer and working on his property. “I have a three-acre piece of property and I’m constantly doing things with it, like building a barn, tending to the garden or putting in a sandbox for my grandson.”
In regard to a personal philosophy, Dave says it’s all about integrity. “I’ve always believed that working hard and doing things right pays off. For me, there’s no such thing as a shortcut. Whether I’m working on my own house, a friend’s house or a client’s house, I treat it the same and always try to do a quality job.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dave says he’d split his schedule between home improvement and world travel. “I would probably start another home project—fixing up my house is still one of my favorite things to do. At the same time, I want to travel more after I retire, so I’d do some of that as well.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Scotland, because of my family heritage. I read in a history book that the Keiths ruled Scotland for 200 years, so it would be neat to find a castle where my ancestors lived.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Pittsburgh Steelers. My family is from near Pittsburgh and I’ve always been a diehard Steeler fan.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Sports memorabilia. I have a lot of autographed jerseys, helmets, balls and photos.
Q: Music or talk radio?
Q: What’s your favorite style of music?
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A: Blues rock, especially stuff that not everyone has heard of. Some of my favorite players are Eric Gales, Chris Duarte and Stoney Curtis.