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Meet Keith Dorn of Affordable Environmental Services in Garland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith Dorn.

Keith, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was living in Missouri in the late 80’s when I saw an ad in the newspaper offering good hourly pay, per diem and a hotel room in Irving, Texas for anyone who wanted to get licensed to remove asbestos. I had no way of knowing it then, but that one opportunity grew into a career spanning the last 3 decades.

At that time, the asbestos abatement industry was very new in Texas and everyone was still trying to figure out which removal methods would become industry standard and which would prove too costly. Because of this, there were a lot of opportunities for people with good ideas and work ethic to climb the ladder and get higher paying jobs.

It wasn’t long before I was promoted to supervisor and started running the jobs myself. Over the next few years I got better and better at pushing labor until I was directly responsible for abatement projects in the millions of dollars. During this time my personal network continued to grow with contacts from all sides of the industry.

The company I was working for at the time took notice of my growing reputation and offered me the opportunity to move out of the field and into the office as an estimator. After years of learning how to efficiently push labor I was nervous to make the transition and almost passed up a great opportunity. Thankfully, I accepted the offer and began learning the business side of things.

Over the next 10 – 15 years as my experience and network grew, I was promoted a few more times. By the early 2000’s I had made it to the top of the ladder as the president of the same company that gave me my first supervisor position.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Of course not. Life is full of uncertainty, hardships and failures. How you move past these failures is what determines whether you will ultimately become successful or not.

I mentioned before that I almost passed up the opportunity to move into an office position as a young man. The truth is, I was scared. I had never been anything but a laborer. The business aspect was foreign to me and I believed those positions were meant for people a lot smarter than myself. I decided to muster a little courage, believe in myself and set honest expectations with everyone about my limitations. Which is a philosophy I still live by today and it is the driving force behind my business.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Affordable Environmental Services story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a family-owned and operated, full-service environmental cleanup contractor specializing in asbestos removal, mold remediation and lead abatement for clients of all sizes. We work with everyone from homeowners to multi-billion dollar companies such as American Airlines, Bell Helicopter, Dallas Market Center and many others. We have also been featured on the DIY Network show Texas Flip ‘n’ Move a number of times and were voted best abatement company in DFW by for the last two years.

While the work we do for our commercial clients varies quite a lot, the residential projects tend to center around the same few renovations. Removal of popcorn ceiling texture and old asbestos floor tiles are the most typical requests we get, but drywall removal and mold remediation are pretty typical as well. We also offer asbestos testing with 1 day turn-around on the test results.

I’m proud to say that we have earned a reputation of honesty and professionalism with clients of all sizes for two reasons. 1) We never use fear to sell our services and 2) everyone on our team puts customer service above all else. While there are many contractors in this industry who will use scare tactics to win a single contract, our philosophy is to create value for the customer first and foremost so they will trust us with any future work. That philosophy has worked well for us and we get great feedback from our customers, as evidenced by our 5 star rating on several review boards.

We are always happy to provide free consultations with no obligation, so we can honestly discuss the situation and provide real options to solve people’s problems. Even if those options mean hiring someone else or doing the work on their own.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Well…. I haven’t won the lottery. But I also haven’t caught a deadly disease. So, I’d say luck is on my side in that regard.

As far as my career and business go, the last 30 years contained more hard work than luck. That may sound less than humble, but who would you rather hire to handle potentially dangerous materials in your home or office? The guy who hasn’t had any major catastrophes because he’s lucky or the guy who has 30 years of experience and knows how to avoid catastrophe?

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