Keith Horniman, Pilot’s Building Maintenance, thanked Brian Eltis, Complete Supply, for the introduction last week. It was a week ahead of schedule, but nonetheless – thank you! Before getting into the exciting world of commercial janitorial, Keith wanted to give a glimpse of his background and how he got there. He showed a picture of his family. He and his wife, Shiela, have been married for 48 years! They have two daughters and 4 grandchildren. His oldest grandson is a junior at Texas A&M University, his younger grandson is a senior at Plano West High School, and he has twin granddaughters; one of which does school and competitive cheerleading and the other one is a golfer and has recently started playing in the North Texas Junior PGA tournaments, which he says has been fun to watch!
Keith was born and raised just outside of Chicago. He lived near the river out in farm country. As a kid there was plenty to do, but still had an urban feel to it. When he was 16, his father was transferred to Detroit. He arrived in Detroit as the US automobile industry was at its peak. They had just started introducing the muscle cars and since many of the kid’s fathers worked in the auto industry – it made the high school parking lot a ton of fun! He then attended the University of Michigan where achieved an BBA and MBA in Finance. Fun fact, Keith has continued to hold his U of M season tickets for football since attending school there. He and his family enjoy going up for a few games each season – Go Blue! Keith started out his first year in college in the engineering school. That first summer he was offered an engineering internship with Burroughs, a large company that produced most of the adding and banking machines at that time. Although it was a great experience, he learned he did not want to be an engineer! He then transferred to the Business school where he finished his degree. And interestingly enough; four years later, Burroughs called again and offered him a position in their Finance department. He spent most of his career in the telecom industries. In 1976, he left Burroughs and went to work for a company that was later bought by Northern Telecom, which moved them to Texas in 1980. Keith and his wife were excited to move south to get out of the cold, but the day they moved in it was 113 degrees! But they stuck it out and are all still here in Texas.
Keith stayed in that industry until 1988, when he was recruited by the President of a company he had worked for previously. In fact, like Brian Eltis, they both had been fired from the previous employer, except not for gossiping! His friend was working with some European investors who wanted to start up a chain of retail music and video stores here in the United States. Neither had any retail experience but figured they would learn it! Over the next 3 years, they built the business with over 8 acquisitions and ended up with 500 stores across the south and east coast, 1 video distributor (which in those days was VHS, not to date himself), and developed 2 super stores, one in Dallas and one in Atlanta. In 1994, after seeing an influx of bigger corporations in the music and video industry, they sold the business to Blockbuster.
His background has provided him with the following corporate experience lessons:
- Learn from history, but always be looking forward to anticipating problems
- Easier to solve a problem if you are in front of it
- Be proactive, not reactive
- You can never solve a problem by running away from it
- Sometimes the best deal is the one you don’t do
After extensive traveling through Europe, and the East and West Coast required from his previous job; Keith decided it was time to look for a smaller company that allowed more time for family, leisure travel, and, of course, golf. It was then, in 1995, that he purchased Pilot’s Building Maintenance. Again, he knew absolutely nothing about the janitorial business, but saw a company that would provide immediate income and finance itself. Pilot’s has 37 years of experience cleaning corporate facilities, multi-tenant facilities, medical offices, schools, banks, and warehouses.
What We Do:
- Office Cleaning
- Resilient & Stone Floor Maintenance
- Carpet Cleaning (for current customers only)
- Day Porter Service
- Window Cleaning
- Special Clean Ups
What We Don’t Do:
- Residential Cleaning
- Low Bid Projects, as these typically don’t conform to our corporate culture
Pilot’s Building Maintenance is a service company, pretty much anyone with a customer is a service company – unfortunately there are a lot of companies out there today that don’t understand that. At its peak, Pilot’s Building Maintenance was cleaning over 2.5 million square feet per night. They cleaned UTD (University of Texas at Dallas) for 20 years and all of Ericsson’s facilities for 15 years. Now though, he is in downsizing mode and concentrates more on corporate facilities and single owner buildings, in the 25,000 to 150,000 square foot range, that are willing to pay for high quality service. They compete by providing this high-quality service every night! They partner with their customers to understand with individual and unique requirements. They do not do ‘site unseen’ quotes. Their goal is to always exceed customer expectations by being part of the solution, not the problem. This philosophy results in customer retention, most of their customers have been with them for years. Keith feels it is always better to keep a customer than to find a new one! They do this by hiring competent, trustworthy, and productive staff. Most of their recruitment comes from current employees. They pay higher wages, pay them on time, and treat their employees with respect. They also have very low employee turnover. Most of their employees have been with them for over 20 years. This enables them to send the same crews to a customer’s facility each night, which provides consistent quality and enhanced security for their customers.
Lastly, Keith wanted to send a special thanks to Brian Eltis, Complete Supply. Brian provides all the janitorial supplies for Pilot’s Building Maintenance. He provides great service and product information. Remember, a lead for Pilot’s Building Maintenance is also a lead for Complete Supply! Keith has also served on the board for the Boys & Girls Club for over 20 years. Pilot’s Building Maintenance cleans all their facilities and provides all their consumable supplies. He provides those supplies at cost so that the Boys & Girls Club can have more funds available for their programs. He can’t express how much Brian helps with that, he knows he is selling some of those items at a very low margin for him as well and it is greatly appreciated!
Remember, with your DEA membership you not only have lead generation, but you also have access to great service providers. It provides a great place to find quality service that you can depend on!
Leads for Pilot’s Building Maintenance:
- Corporate Facility Managers
- Medical Offices
Also, make sure to join Pilot’s Building Maintenance and Infused Oils & Vinegars as they co-host an Open House on August 29 at the new Infused Oils & Vinegars location!
Find out more about Pilot’s Building Maintenance here!