“Innovation is key. We have shortages. We are seeing difficulties getting people into the trades. So how do we innovate? How do we become more efficient at what we do, and not just throwing more people at it? I've always been keen on how we can leverage some of those efficiencies that we're starting to see happening elsewhere, like prefabrication and BIM.
Working with MCABC is a good way to be at the forefront of innovation and keep up with industry trends.”
Keith PearcePresident & General Manager
Kal-West Mechanical Systems Inc.
Keith has worked in the mechanical contracting industry since 2007, focusing on residential, commercial, industrial, and civil construction projects. In 2018, Keith became a partner at employee-owned Kal-West Mechanical Systems Inc. in Kelowna. Today, Keith is the President & General Manager.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Keith didn’t come up through the trades. After high school, Keith earned a diploma in business from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology before entering the workforce in construction sales. Keith would later also sit on the board of the Grande Prairie Home Builder’s Association. He first became involved in the Mechanical industry when he joined Victaulic in 2012.
The employee-owned Kal-West model suits Keith well – he believes in putting a lot of faith and trust in his employees. “If the work is getting done, then we’re good,” says Keith, noting that he doesn’t get bogged down by minor issues as he wants the business to be guided by the employees. “Pretty much everything that we do continues to build on a nurturing and welcoming environment for our employees”
Keith leads by example, which is evident in his willingness to help his team. “We do not believe in a “it’s not my job” attitude. If somebody’s down and needs a hand, then someone has to step in and give them a hand. I feel you’ve got to do that from the top down. If I’m not willing to jump in and help, how can I ask somebody else to?”
The fast-paced and complex nature of the industry is one of the many reasons Keith enjoys his work. “There is lots going on. It keeps you engaged, keeps you on your toes. You’re managing your people, you’re managing sub trades, sometimes you’re helping an engineer, owner or construction manager as well.”
Keith feels that MCABC can help engage youth and new potential tradespeople, and that one of the ways is through expanded education. “The trades training and education are critical. Whether it’s estimating, blueprint reading, project management, etc., continuing education in the mechanical contracting industry is what I’d like to bring out to the Okanagan.”