George Keefe is the CEO and founder of GLOBAL Encasement Inc. (GEI), an international, Pro-Planet corporation that provides green coating solutions for tough building challenges, such as roof restoration, weather/waterproofing buildings, and safe in-place management of solid hazardous materials. Also known as Encasement Guy, Keefe is a contractor, consultant, coach, lecturer, author, and technical writer. His expertise stems from over 40 years of hands-on worldwide job site experience with the coatings, painting, specialty contracting, indoor environmental remediation, risk management, and specification writing industries
Mr. Keefe founded, GLOBAL Encasement, Inc. (GEI), a pro-planet company in 1994. He developed green coating encasement systems for application over asbestos and lead-based paint at a time when there was a worldwide backlash against the use of asbestos as a building material. He often found himself on job sites where there was an overreaction to asbestos, even though the useful building material was in good shape doing what it was originally intended to do. He found the same with Lead-Based Paint and solid PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that are also major health issues when released into the environment. He knew all these materials and others could be easily and safely in place managed with tested green coatings.
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Before we begin, our readers are interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to be where you are today or was it something you were led to? Share with us your journey.
George Keefe: I always loved coatings and what they could easily do to improve the looks of a surface. As I moved from being a simple house painter to owning my own businesses it was a natural progression to learn what more coatings could do to improve and enhance surfaces while protecting people and the environment.
Tell us a bit about your current focus. What is the most important thing that you’re working on and how do you plan on doing it?
George Keefe: The most important thing to me is caring for the environment both in people’s lives and in nature. This is in business as well as my personal life. So getting the word out, promoting green solutions to help solve everyday challenges with simple products and techniques tops my list of priorities. I’m accomplishing this with my online courses, social media, blogs, a book, and continuing to do interviews educating all on the benefits of green coatings encasement.
Some argue that punctuality is a strength. Others say punctuality is a weakness. How do you feel about it, please explain.
George Keefe: I always believe in being respectful of people and their time. I’m keenly aware of the finite amount of time each one of us has and just as I don’t want to waste any of my time I believe in not wasting anyone else’s. I live by the motto “If you can’t be on time, be early”.
How important is having good timing in your line of work and in the industry that your organization operates in?
George Keefe: Good timing is always important and just like 2 sides of the same coin I also believe in not rushing in. Making important decisions without all the facts and circumstances may lead to counterproductive results and overall losses. So it’s timing with good information that can lead to success.
The thing with good timing that is important in what we do is getting the word out which has changed so much in the last 20 years especially with the internet. The message has stayed the same, it’s the marketing that has changed. So good timing with marketing strategies and staying current is crucial as this space is constantly changing.
Most often this is a multi-pronged strategy that works hand in hand with the overall message.
Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, states “Timing is everything in life, and it’s particularly crucial in entrepreneurship. People often equate success with luck, but it usually comes down to impeccable (and carefully mapped out) timing”. Do you agree with this statement? Please answer in as much detail as necessary.
George Keefe: Good timing in many cases refers to just getting in the game and making some well-educated guesses. If you are off the mark, quickly make timely corrections taking emotions out of the equation, and keep correcting until you dial in the right combination for success.
As a leader/entrepreneur/CEO, how do you decide when to put the pedal to the metal and when to take a break? How do you time the key moments in your career?
George Keefe: I usually try to keep an even flow of systematic activity. That can slightly change depending on the projects that come in or are presently on the table but usually not by much. If calculations with time and budgets are correctly made then there is a continuous and steady run of activity with not many peaks and valleys.
Branson also states “If you’re starting to feel like you’re just going through the motions and losing sight of why you started, it might be time to take a break”. But how do you decide when to take a break?
George Keefe: Longer breaks for me are usually planned in advance such as with a vacation. Otherwise, I keep to a steady work schedule with breaks and downtime planned into the day. This process allows me to rest and take breaks before they become necessary.
“Timing can be everything when starting up. It can be the difference between building a thriving business and not” How has good timing helped you achieve success in your career or business? Are there any particular examples from your career that you would like to share?
George Keefe: For me who was already in the coatings industry, I saw an overreaction to dealing with solid hazardous materials and realized there was a better, logical, way to handle these sometimes complicated situations than full removal and replacement of them.
Which is the simple in-place management of these potentially hazardous materials with the right coatings, combining 2 disciplines – coatings and solid hazardous materials management. At that point, I seized an opening in the market that was encouraging the costly methods of full-blown removal and replacement of those materials.
In addition making sure our coatings were environmentally advanced, green. This was also timely as more people were being made aware of the environmental impacts of products, especially harmful ones.
“When you’re thinking of starting up, ask yourself: ‘Is the community I want to serve ready for this idea?’ It could make all the difference!” Would you like to add anything to this piece of advice for all the aspiring entrepreneurs?
George Keefe: First, you need to decide what is your personality. Is it one that likes tangible or intangible things? A tangible personality is one that likes to be able to touch, see, feel something physically. Where an intangible personality is one that likes things such as stocks, bonds, insurance etc. Things you can’t necessarily touch. Once you determine your personality you need to pick something you like as it is more difficult to truly accel at anything we don’t like. In addition, you may want to look beyond it being a job or career and treat it more like a calling. Starting a business requires much time, patience. focus and most of all persistence. It is even more of an uphill climb if you are trying to do it in a field that doesn’t feel good or inspire your passions.
COVID forced many businesses to adapt fast, some did so successfully, others failed, it was a lot due to good or poor timing. What are some of the big lessons you’ve learned during the pandemic?
George Keefe: We are an international company that working worldwide often didn’t allow us to be in some locations that could benefit from what we offer. So fortunately we had already welcomed and embraced virtual meetings and platforms such as Skype and Teams. This accelerated with others coming onto those platforms during the pandemic. The biggest lesson was to keep embracing new ways to connect with people and companies as they become available.
Your insight has been incredibly valuable and our readers thank you for your generosity. We do have a couple of other bold questions to ask. What fictional world would you want to start a business in and what would you sell?
George Keefe: Spiritual Guidance selling a chance at enlightenment.
Before we finish things off, we would love to know, when you have some time away from business, what is one hobby that you wish you could spend more time on?
George Keefe: Doing walkabout with my wife – wandering, meeting, and experiencing more nature, people and cultures.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank George Keefe for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with George Keefe or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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