David Keim is only 27 years old. Yet he has been a crew foreman at Quality Structures Inc. in Haven, Kansas, for the past six-plus years. “I try to lead by example” is the way Keim describes his management philosophy. That attitude is a big part of his success, according to Josh Nowlin, who nominated him for NFBA’s Crew Foreman of the Month. “David always leads by example,” Nowlin says.
Everyone can think of a foreman who may be technically proficient but has a hard time slowing down enough to teach crew members how to do things the right way. That’s not the way Keim operates. “He has a tremendous amount of patience for new crew members as they are learning the job. He is one of the best to train a new member,” says Nowlin, the sales and marketing manager at the company. He goes on to say that Keim “bleeds QSI culture and sets the standard in quality and customer service.” As a result, Keim quickly climbed the company ladder to become “one of the most successful foremen in the history of QSI.”
Keim grew up on a small farm in Haven (population 1,237), which is located northwest of Wichita. He officially began building things in the eighth grade, doing roofing and other odd jobs. He went on to build houses for a local company before ending up at QSI. “The company gave me an opportunity to be a foreman when someone moved away,” Keim says. “I accepted that offer. It’s something I wanted to do.” He enjoys the process of building something that looks good and makes the customer happy. He also enjoys working outside, despite the harsh weather conditions. “It’s better than being cooped up at a desk. Every day is different,” he remarks.
When asked about a challenging project, he mentions a five-sided storage building. It had to be built with five sides because of setback requirements, an alleyway on the property and limited space. The customer wanted as much room as possible, and that configuration resulted. He said the design took some imagination, but the customer was happy with the result. An incentive program offered by QSI has helped motivate the crew members to get projects done more quickly than they might have done previously. Keim says he always sets a goal in the morning, and the crew works toward that goal all day.
“QSI offers great pay and great benefits. Everyone is looking out for you. It’s everything you need,” Keim says of his employer. He expressed gratitude that he was able to attend the Frame Building Expo a few years ago in Louisville, Kentucky, where he enjoyed talking with different vendors and seeing the different products available. “I enjoyed meeting new people.”
Keim, who is married and has two boys (ages 15 months and 5 years), grew up Amish and spent lots of time with horses. Today he enjoys training horses as well as fishing and hunting. His knowledge of horses may help him construct post-frame equine facilities. “I know what horse people want,” he says. “I grew up with horses.”
Keim’s commitment to leading example has earned him praise from the company where he works and also from customers, according to Nowlin. “David is constantly receiving testimonials from the customers that he builds for. He has proven to his peers that he is committed to them and every job that he builds,” Nowlin adds. “He takes a tremendous amount of pride in his work, has an eye for detail and is driven to succeed in everything that he takes on.”