Connecting with their community, banking partners key for couple’s success
Dave and Diane Keiter had a vision when they opened Yellow Van Cleaning & Restoration in 1981. Sure, they had visions of clean homes and businesses. But it was more than that, more than being the best cleaning company they could be.
“My vision was to bring dignity to the service worker,” Dave said. “By that I mean, we wanted to take the cleaning industry and move it up, lift it up higher, both in earnings potential and just in recognition of a true craft that’s out there.”
That vision led Dave to join several national and international boards within the cleaning industry. He assisted in the creation of standards for the industry, and took it to a new, higher level of professionalism and respect.
“I’m currently the president of the International Cleaning and Restoration Association that teaches people how to do the work and evaluate the work of cleaning and restoration of buildings and homes,” he said. “We actually have a hands-on operation that allows people to be evaluated at the technical and intellectual level that allows us to go out and see if someone understands the material. We’ve taken that to a new level of evaluating performance.”
Dave’s methods seemed to be working. After opening Yellow Van Cleaning & Restoration in Kearney, Neb., in 1981, the Keiters expanded their business by opening Yellow Van branches in Grand Island, Neb., in 2002, and another in Hastings, Neb., in 2010.
Today, Yellow Van – with a staff of 48 – offers services in everything from carpet and air duct cleaning to fire and water damage restoration.
Connecting and giving back to their communities
Dave is a golfer. He said after 36 years in the cleaning business he is finally able to golf regularly – several times a week, in fact. It’s his passion, and he and his wife, Diane, have taken that love of golf and created a foundation to give youth a chance to learn and participate in the sport.
“We currently teach about 3,000 kids the game of golf, kindergarten through 5th grade. It’s called SNAG: Starting New At Golf,” Dave said.
Diane and Dave have also chaired the United Way, which Dave says is a vital way for his immediate community, Kearney (where his family lives), to grow and move forward.
“We have a unified community that I think is very unique,” he said. “It’s a small community, and it embraces us, not only our business, but Diane and I personally. So for us it’s all about giving back.”
In addition to forward-thinking methods used in his cleaning business, Dave credited his banking partners with his continued success.
“For us, it’s a symbiotic relationship,” he said. “If you don’t have good financing and solid leadership in the financial institutions, businesses won’t have that confidence. That’s really what it is – that trust – and that is what I value most about my relationship with First National Bank – they’ve got my back.”
Trust is another trait that stands out for the Keiters.
“Trust is the one thing that we seek to develop with our clients, and I think First National has done that as well,” Dave said. “It’s having your back, and not everybody has that mindset in business. Sometimes it’s a get or be gotten mentality, but when it comes right down to it, it’s about having trust that your banker is going to look out for your best interest.”
Dave said he’s had a chance to personally get to know the people at First National Bank in Kearney and Grand Island, and the bank’s commitment to the communities in which they work is perhaps what impresses him most.
“To me, that is probably the most important part of banking – that bankers are real people, they’re community-minded people. I can’t express enough how fortunate Kearney is to have First National, because they are an incredible asset to the community.”