NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Distribution and Manufacturing
president and owner
Keene Building Products
From starting Keene Building Products in his basement more than 10 years ago, Jim Keene has had the courage to not only take a chance on starting his own business, but he continually focuses on how to make the business better every day.
The company makes envelope and noise control applications. When Keene, who is president and owner, started the business in 2002, there was a compelling need for someone to make products for noise and moisture control. The company filled that void well and is currently at a point where it has greatly added to the market in technique and product development through creative “Keene Ideas.”
The creative juices flow freely at Keene, whether it applies to its website design, sales approach in the market or a creative way to finance an acquisition. Keene employees think in a positive, juxtaposed and innovative way.
When you think about building envelope and noise control applications, you probably only think about noise reductions in hotels and apartment complexes or drainage and erosion control, but Keene has other ideas. The company is currently working on products that will utilize its existing technology in everyday applications.
Even with the most creative ideas, Keene understands that it is critical to be close to the company’s customers. You will routinely find him working with customers, helping them install products. This activity has allowed Keene and the company to be trusted business advisers and helps identify new and more innovative products.
Keene is not complacent about the success of the company. He plans to remain committed to Greater Cleveland. To continue growing as a company, he hopes to branch the large filament fiber company into other areas in construction and target consumer goods and packaging. His major goal is to grow sales 25 to 40 percent each year by adding new systems and acquiring complementary companies.
How to reach: Keene Building Products, www.keenebuilding.com