2023 Outlook – The Republican | Masslive – 2/19/2023
Scott Keiter started a construction company in Western Massachusetts during the height of the Great Recession in 2009 and incorporated as Keiter Builders a year later. It could have gone all wrong in that historical decline, but a decade in, business is strong, and Keiter is a strong community partner.
A Longmeadow native, Keiter began working in construction in high school and kept it up during the summers in college. After earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics from the University of Rhode Island, he returned to the region to work for area contractors.
When things got tough, Keiter got tougher, starting his own business — simply called Scott Keiter back then — to offer residential home renovations and small additions.
Keiter brought faith and clear direction to his work, and today, he is president and owner of the newly rebranded Keiter Corp., comprised of four divisions: Keiter Builders, the commercial and industrial division; Keiter Homes, offering residential construction; Hatfield Construction, providing site preparation work; and Keiter Properties, the real estate arm.
The corporation employs roughly 75 people, depending on the season, and they work in roles from administration to accounting and human resources to project managers, site supervisors, carpenters, laborers and operators.
“I did see the growth possibilities even back then,” says Keiter, who also holds a master’s degree in resource economics from the University of Rhode Island and is halfway through his studies for a master’s degree in business administration at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“I have always aspired to build a legacy company, something that is great,” he says. “I feel that our vision has been consistent, and I think we’re meeting our goals day after day and working hard. We have great people who work for us, and that is the key to our success. We’re really proud of that.”
Keiter says he aspires to be a leading construction company in all of Western Massachusetts, and by many measures, he is off to a good start.
He and his colleagues recently accepted a Super 60 award for growth and revenue from the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. For many years, the firm has also landed Best Building Contractor, Best Local Green Construction Company, Best Home Improvement Contractor, Best Builder and Best Home Improvement Contractor honors from area media reader’s choice awards.
Recent projects include building the McConnell Rooftop Observatory at Smith College, where the installation of incredibly specialized equipment required a great deal of precision; rebuilding the fountain at Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, which features decorative masonry and historical accuracy; and building a new home for pets and their owners at the Easthampton Animal Hospital.
“We’re very proud of what we build and want to continue building structures that bring value to our clients and are fun. We enjoy complicated projects,” Keiter says.
He also enjoys giving back to the community.
Keiter sits on boards and committees for area nonprofits, including the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. He’s also a member of an advisory board for Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. He is a corporator for Florence Bank and serves on the board for the New England Support Team, a group of contractors who are prepared to assist in a local or national disaster.
What got Keiter Corp. noticed in Northampton, though, were two sizeable donations to the chamber, made two years in a row, The donations made it possible for area residents to buy a $25 Northampton gift card and receive $50 in actual spending power.
The Keiter Cards sold out within days, and the feedback was overwhelming. Chamber executive director Vincent Jackson said he heard from many people who were pleased to be able to buy a card because they could otherwise not afford to shop. Some small business owners told Jackson they purchased the cards as employee appreciation awards.
“We are still receiving two to three inquiries a week about the Keiter Card, which suggests that it is being talked about by the people using it in the community—three months after we sold out,” Jackson added.
Keiter says his parents raised him and his siblings to show gratitude and not take things for granted.
“I started the business in my community, and that community has been a huge part of our growth,” he says. “I want to give back. I’m committed to doing what I can — and the business can — to give back some of that goodness.”
Despite the pandemic, Keiter says, “There’s no room to complain.
“Other industries really took it on the chin,” he adds, “Being in construction, we have been very fortunate. We’ve been able to continue to grow our business despite all the challenges that COVID brought. We continue to expand and grow. We’re excited about that.”
-Janice Beetle – Special to The Republican