Listen to the recording:
Joining Team Lally in this episode is Keoni Ford the President and CEO of DIBS Hawaii, Dry Ice Blasting Service. Keoni tells us about his background, growing up in Hawaii.
He talks about what DIBS Hawaii is and how he got started in the business. He then goes on to discuss what Dry-Ice Blasting is how it works and how it has been adopted in manufacturing being a fairly new innovative technology.
Keoni gives advice to future entrepreneurs, about having the right mindset and how to deal with any negative experiences in business. He also talks about how the business has succeded and how their focus is on the type of clients they have and the expertise they have gained.
Also in this episode: Quotes of the day, Tips of the week, special events, this week’s Open houses and Coming soon listings.
Who is Keoni Ford?
Keoni Ford is the President and CEO of DIBS Hawaii, Dry Ice Blasting Service. He hailed from Waianae. He is known to be a man of strong entrepreneurial skills in business and strategic planning.
He will be sharing with us the amazing story behind the company’s success and the advanced innovation technology that empowers the company to provide the best environmental cleaning solutions in the facilities services industry.
Read word for word from our episode with DIBS Hawaii below
Team Lally Show with Keoni Ford
Dibshawaii LLC / Ka Hoku Ala LLC
Announcer: It’s time to enter the world of real estate in Oahu with Hawaii’s only true real estate radio show, the Team Lally real estate show. Grab a pen and get ready to take notes! For the next full hour, Hawaii’s premier real estate leader, Adrienne Lally and Attilio Leonardi will bring you the latest in real estate news and real world strategies on how they can guarantee to sell your home at a price and deadline you agree to! Or they’ll buy it! Now, here are your hosts, Adrienne and Attilio!
Adrienne: Welcome to the Team Lally real estate show, home of the guaranteed sold program, or we’ll buy it. If you have any questions, just give us a call at 799-9596 or you can check us out on the web at www.teamlally.com.
Attilio: Well hey everybody, this is Attilio. Hey! Real quick, we’re not giving any legal or tax advice. There! Disclaimer, done! I want to share this with you guys. There is a miracle drug. It’s the key to health, wellness, and longevity and there’s a doctor who prescribes it to every single one of his patients. And! If you take this miracle drug, often, you will live a longer, healthier life, your medical costs will be lower, your sleep, you will sleep better at night! And your workdays will be more productive, your mod will improve, and your risk of developing any chronic disease will drop. It works for just about everyone who takes it, young or old, and if done correctly, it has few or no negative side effects. Every dose is 100% effective, even small ones! It’s the most powerful, readily-available drug in the world. And it’s free! This medical drug is called—
Adrienne: I feel like we need like a drum roll, with all that buildup.
Attilio: I know! And we’re going to tell you right after this break—no, I’m just kidding. That’s what they do on the TV and the movies.
Adrienne: It’s called exercise!
Attilio: It’s called exercise.
Adrienne: Just do it.
Attilio: That is the miracle drug. Anyway, I got that information uh, Newsweek uh, they’ve got a magazine on the rack at Safeway right now and it’s a whole special issue about fitness. And that is the opening paragraph in this magazine and this is not anecdotal information that, oh yeah, you know, old-wives’ tales, urban legend, any of that stuff, this is all backed by scientific research and study and gathering data. So, one more thing. There’s a new diet sweeping the nation, have you heard about it? It’s called eat less and exercise more!
Adrienne: (laughing) And well, what’s the website for this diet?
Attilio: The website for detailed information and how to participate in this, in this new diet, is called www.getoffyourbuttanddosomething.org.
Adrienne: (laughing) Go check it out!
Attilio: Go check it out!
Adrienne: Alright, so, I’ve uh, I’ve got some, well just really some quotes, this is big ideas on leadership, we just had this—
Attilio: The book!
Adrienne: We just got this book, it’s uh—
Attilio: From who?
Adrienne: Glen Pyuria.
Attilio: Wait, what’d you call my momma? Glen Pyuria. Japanese!
Adrienne: I have a hard time with those Japanese names.
Attilio: Your Caucasian co-host, say any kind of local words or names. That’s your tip for today.
Adrienne: Okay. Yes, it’s an excellent tip. So, this is on uh, the ABCs, do you know your ABCs? Do you?
Attilio: I, not the one, I, I know my ABCs but I don’t think that’s the one you’re talking about.
Adrienne: Okay, so, “Getting people to behave as you want is as simple as ABC.”
Adrienne: “Activate behaviors, so you want to set clear expectations, inspire, and teach. You want to be behave as you’d like others to do. Serve as a model for desired behaviors.” And lastly, “Commend. Praise examples of desired behaviors. If the desired behavior fails to manifest itself, you must re-activate.”
Attilio: So, and then—
Adrienne: As simple as the ABCs.
Attilio: Give them, what’s A?
Attilio: Activate. B is?
Attilio: And C?
Attilio: That’s it!
Adrienne: That simple!
Attilio: So, Glen Pyuria, for you guys who may not recognize the name, he teaches a local style leadership course, uh, he was a local boy, born and raised in ___ and he was running uh, doing marketing or it’s like, he’s just doing something big with KTA, which is a grocery store on the big island that, believe it or not, he says it’s, I think it’s like one of two or three locally-owned grocery stores left in the state of Hawaii. And they’re still successful based on the things that they learned and/or brought into that organization.
Adrienne: And we’re going to be having him on as a guest in one of our coming shows, so.
Attilio: Yeah, we got a chance to sit with him for about 3 hours in uh, local-style leadership but it was more like local-style sales.
Adrienne: It was like actually, it was all day. It was like from 9 until, what, 4 o’clock.
Attilio: Yeah, all day. It was awesome, he’s very entertaining speaker, I’d highly recommend him if you need a keynote.
Adrienne: Alright, so, do we have uh, we have uh, a tip of the week!
Attilio: Tip of the week! I think it’s Janyce.
Adrienne: We have a tip of the week from Dream House Drafting.
Attilio: We have uh—
Adrienne: Janyce Myrland.
Attilio: Janyce, are you there?
Janyce: Yes, I am, good morning!
Attilio: What’ve you got for us today?
Janyce: Hi! So, just wanted to share that this is the time of year when lots of people are doing projects around their homes and it’s certainly being encouraged in all the magazines and stuff, that this is the time, so, just as a precaution, everyone needs to know that in the city and county of Honolulu, you are required to get building permits for changing of windows and doors.
Attilio: What about changing your mind?
Adrienne: (laughing) You must get a permit for that, too.
Janyce: Oh, definitely! (laughing) Especially when you have a business partner.
Attilio: My, my kids, if it was up to my kids, I’d be getting permits all day long! Changing their mind all the time. But do tell.
Adrienne: Permit for everything. Yeah, so, windows and doors. You have to get a permit, that’s, what about like a screen door?
Janyce: Well, a screen door is usually added, it’s not part of the structure. Uh, it’s not getting a header like I’m thinking of a door or window would uh, get, in case I should explain the terminology. Every opening in a home is not supposed to be uh, having the roof rest directly upon it. There is supposed to be a beam above your windows and doors and these are what we call headers. So, therefore, uh, it’s a structural issue and if you’re changing the width or even if you’re just swapping out for what’s there, the city wants a permit. But, a screen door, like a security screen door, those are usually added onto the outside. They’re not part of the actual structure of the wall.
Attilio: Yeah. Well one of the things that I do know, though, I’m in the Villages of Kapolei, and uh, they do have what uh, what do they call it? Design requirements?
Adrienne: Oh, yes, the Design Committee must approve. Of the color.
Attilio: Yeah, so my, my security screen door, I didn’t have to get a permit for it, but I did have to get a stamp of approval from the design committee at the Villages of Kapolei.
Adrienne: I get all sorts of letters from gentry and their designs. They just like to give you fines!
Janyce: The color you’re putting it, whether, what the design of it is.
Attilio: Yeah they just, they have a whole bunch of stocked library photos of uh, Adrienne’s house. For what not to do for their design community, in her, in her neighborhood. They’re like, “Pull up the Adrienne file!”
Adrienne: They, they do have a file on me! (laughing) They don’t like all the bikes on my felt Linai.
Attilio: Yeah, and all the shoes and the—
Adrienne: And the shoes! (laughing) I’m all like, “Well why do you, why do we have a Linai if I can’t put all my shoes and my bikes there, like?”
Attilio: Every time you, every time you go to her house, it’s like, she’s having a baby’s first birthday like every single day. There’s like 58 pairs of slippers in front of her door.
Adrienne: Yeah, we do have an issue with shoes.
Janyce: Just a party house, that’s all.
Adrienne: It’s fun!
Attilio: Yeah, she has to get extra insurance because all the door-to-door salespeople keep tripping on her front Linai and—
Adrienne: Well it is a strategy to keep them away!
Attilio: Breaking their heads open on her door.
Adrienne: They’re like, “Oh, it looks busy there.”
Attilio: It’s like uh, you’re thinking about, it’s like a bear trap, you just have like 59 pairs of slippers in the front of your door. Anyway! That is Janyce Myrland.
Adrienne: Dream House Drafting.
Attilio: Dream House Drafting. Thanks, Janyce!
Adrienne: Permits, get your permits on your windows and doors!
Attilio: Yes! Alright, so if you have uh, if you have uh, if you want to get ahold of Janyce—
Adrienne: You can give her a call at 206-7107 or check her out at www.dreamhousedrafting.com. She helps with all sorts of permitting and design, after-the-fact permits—
Adrienne: Yeah, just give her a call.
Attilio: Brand-new construction.
Adrienne: She can, she can help you.
Attilio: She’s very calm too, if you’re having like a bad day, you should just call her and listen to her choice. Very calm.
Adrienne: Alright, do we have any other tips of the week, or are we taking a break?
Attilio: Well, you know what? I think, let’s give uh, let’s give a property management tip of the week. We’re probably going to have Myron coming on, giving a legal tip of the week, oh, but you know what? Myron, lets’ go with Myron. Myron is up!
Adrienne: With his legal tip of the week.
Attilio: Hi, Myron are you there?
Adrienne: Kamihara Law.
Myron: Yes, I am! Hi, good morning.
Attilio: God morning! What’ve you got for us today?
Myron: Well uh, I, I wanted to let everyone know, you know, with uh, the kids moving out for graduation and uh, with a lot of changes happening during the summer time, uh, what a great time to, you know, review your trust. Here at Kamihara Law, we review all of our clients’ trusts, uh, every 3 years and, but you know, if you want to take the initiative on your own, it’s, it’s a good tip to review your trust in your own, should something life-changing occur, like buying another property, uh, or having another baby, uh, and so, the legal tip of the week is, uh, the trust is not done, you know, just after the first time uh, or just after the first time you establish it, right? It’s a work in progress and life-changes, right? And in order for the trust to be effective, it has to address all these changes and so the tip is, always review your trust or have your attorney uh, review your trust, uh, every couple years. So, that uh, you are totally protected. Uh, with the work that you, you started.
Attilio: Yeah, last thing you want is your relatives fighting over your yo-yo collection!
Myron: Right! Right, right. (laughing)
Adrienne: I think it’s like, you’ve got to treat it like a, almost like a living document, right? It’s not like you have it done and then that’s it.
Myron: Yeah, I mean—
Adrienne: You’ve got to make sure to revisit it and make sure that everything is still the way that, you know, that you want it because things happen in life.
Myron: It’s called a living trust for a reason, right? And so, uh, you know, while you’re living, you’re able to control a lot of things, but you can’t control anything come uh, the grave, as they say, so uh, you know, should life-changes happen, call your attorney, call me, uh, or uh, find an attorney to review your documents regularly like uh, like myself and Vlad. We, we review all of our clients’ things, regularly, follow-up with our clients, making sure that uh, you know, the trust that we established 3 years prior is still uh, working uh, for the intentions uh, their original intentions or maybe they’re changing intentions uh, 3 years later.
Adrienne: Well I’ve got a little testimonial for Myron. I had my trust done maybe, I don’t know, like, 7-8 years ago, and he’s helping, he’s, he’s reviewing my huge bag of documents.
Attilio: Giving them a tune-up!
Adrienne: I don’t think I’ve looked at them since I had it done! Honestly. Thank you for that.
Myron: That’s not uncommon though. You know, and so uh, I think it’s important, probably one of the most important tips because you know, you spend all that money to establish it and if it’s never reviewed then it makes no sense, right, so uh, yeah, good tip for your listeners.
Adrienne: And, and thank you for helping me, Myron. I appreciate it!
Myron: Oh, no problem! I actually wanted to give a testimony to you guys, too. I had someone who listens to your show over in Hawaii give me a call so uh, you guys are reaching out and, and reaching people.
Attilio: Aloha to our people on ___! Thanks, Myron!
Adrienne: Thanks, Myron!
Myron: No problem. Have a good weekend, goodbye.
Attilio: Alright, so that’s Myron with uh, Kamihara Law. Uh, give him a call, they make, they make, they’re kind of like those doctors on Little House on the Prairie! They make house calls, they call you, they’re uh—
Adrienne: Very personal.
Attilio: Local boys. They, they uh, they’re actually out on the west side so if you don’t want to meet with an attorney in downtown Honolulu and figure out, get all stressed out trying to find parking, they can come to you or they have other offices that are in convenient locations. What’s the number for them?
Adrienne: You can give them a call at 352-6417. That’s 352-6417 or check them out online at www.kamiharalaw.com.
Attilio: And, what other pearls of wisdom did you want to share with people today?
Adrienne: Are we going to talk about our property management tip?
Attilio: Oh, yeah, yeah! Property management, so we highly recommend Hawaii Pacific Property Management. Duke and his team. Check them out, what’s the number for them?
Adrienne: You can give them a call at 445-9223 and then also they’ve got some really great reviews on uh, on Yelp, so you can really see first-hand how they take care of their clients. Now, they also have some negative reviews. But let’s, let’s speak to that, the negative reviews.
Attilio: Negative reviews. So, this is what you want to look at reviews. If, if it’s all positive, something stinks in Denmark. If it’s all negative, something stinks in Denmark.
Adrienne: There’s an issue, yeah.
Attilio: What you want to see is a lot of positive reviews, but for those of you that have that—
Adrienne: I think that their, their negative reviews are coming from the tenants because—
Attilio: Negative reviews are like uh—
Adrienne: Duke and his team, they’re doing their job.
Attilio: No, negative reviews are like uh, raunchy drunk Uncle.
Attilio: Everybody has one of those in their family. That’s just life! You’re going to have those, you know?
Adrienne: Every once in a while, you get a grouchy drunk uncle.
Attilio: Grouchy drunk uncle, he has nothing better to do, goes on Yelp.
Adrienne: We had a grouchy drunk uncle too. Yeah.
Attilio: Yeah. No, I have one for real. His name is beep! And he lives in beep! And every, he’s like clockwork, we see him at every baby’s first birthday, graduation, wedding.
Adrienne: Okay, so back to the property management. They’ve got a rent guarantee, so basically if they don’t rent your home in 30 days, they’re going to pay the rent.
Attilio: He crashed into a coconut tree in front of my house the last time he came over.
Adrienne: Your drunk uncle?
Attilio: No, back to the property management tip of the week. (laughing)
Adrienne: Yes, property management.
Attilio: So, uh, one of the things that we recommend is to get a rental analysis. Uh, the number one mistake that investors do, especially when they’re doing self-management, is they don’t raise the rent! Now you think you’re doing a favor for your tenant, but when it comes time to sell, you’re renting with the, 1989 rental rate, they have all their kids in school in the neighborhood, they work in the neighborhood, they’re involved in the community, now you’re getting ready to sell your investment property, their income and their expenses have all adjusted to your 1989 rental level.
Adrienne: And you’re not doing a good thing for the tenants.
Attilio: Now, when they go to look for a place to go rent, it’s going to be way out of their budget because you weren’t helping them maintain the discipline of market-level rates and you aren’t being a good investor and collecting the rent you should be collecting. So, anyway, that’s what a good property management company does, is they’re always uh, doing these rental analyses.
Adrienne: Making sure that you’re in line with the market. So—
Attilio: In line with the market.
Adrienne: Yeah! Give them a call, they’re do a rental analysis for you, no obligation. So, again, you can reach them at 445-9223. Check them out online at www.hipacificpm.com.
Attilio: Hey, and they also have a rent guarantee, if they can’t get your property rented, at an agreed upon rent within he first 30 days, they will pay the rent! What?! That is ridonkulous. That’s what Shrek said when they, he called them. Anyway.
Adrienne: Alright, I think we’re going to take a short break now.
Attilio: We are going to take a short break. Hey! Stay with us, when we come back, we’ll be talking with Keoni Ford, head of, I want to say Dibshawaii, like “Dibs, it’s mine!” Who will walk us through the successful journey of dry-ice blasting technology in providing industrial cleaning! Stay tuned!
[Music fades to commercials]
Announcer: The Team Lally real estate show continues.
Adrienne: Welcome back and thanks for listening to the Team Lally real estate, home of the guaranteed sold program, or we’ll buy it. I’m Adrienne—
Attilio: And I’m Attilio!
Adrienne: If you have any questions, just give us a call at 799-9596 or check us out on the web at www.teamlally.com.
Attilio: Hey, you know, I just was looking at my notes, this guy who has a business, he says if he’s interviewing you, he’ll say, if you need me to motivate you, we’re not hiring you.
Adrienne: Okay. And where is that coming from? You’re just like randomly looking at your notes.
Attilio: Just randomly looking—it was a podcast I was listening to and basically what he said was that grit, fire in your belly, motivation, nobody can teach you that, you either have it or you don’t.
Adrienne: You have to want it. Yes. That is true. So, speaking of grit—
Attilio: Grit! We know someone who’s got grit! He’s got a fire in his belly. I know! Because I work out with him almost every day over at Orange Theory and I’ve seen him on the rowing machine. Dripping sweat.
Adrienne: So, our special guest today is none other than the President and CEO of Dibshawaii. Dry ice blasting service.
Attilio: I was kind of thinking like that’s not the, those chocolate-covered ice cream balls that you get at the movie theater. That is dips.
Keoni: It is, because everybody loves ice cream in small bite-size pieces, so it’s memorable.
Attilio: Now that’s like, when you’re cleaning something, Dibs!
Keoni: And it’s also that too, so it’s this connection to a lot of things.
Attilio: That’s good marketing that you did, Keoni!
Adrienne: Okay, so he’s—
Keoni: Brilliant marketing at the time.
Adrienne: He’s going to be sharing an amazing story behind the company’s success and the advanced innovation technology that empowers the company to provide the best environmental cleaning solutions in the facilities service industry.
Attilio: Uh, he hailed from ___, he is known to be a man of strong entrepreneurial skills and business and strategic planning. Please welcome our guest, Keoni Ford, and by the way, do you know uh, like Henry Ford, you know, all the famous Fords? No relationship whatsoever. That’s a different Ford family line, right? Or are you related to Henry Ford?
Keoni: Not the Henry Ford. There, there might be—
Adrienne: Probably a Henry Ford in your line.
Keoni: There might be a dark Hawaiian Henry Ford floating around that we might be related, you know, he might be out in ___ or something, you know.
Adrienne: You never know!
Attilio: Well, thank, you know, here’s an interesting thought. What kind of car do you drive? It’s not a Ford, is it?
Adrienne: (laughing) No.
Keoni: It’s a Toyota, but they’re made in America, I want you to know that, you know, we, we support American built products.
Attilio: Alright, so, you know, we love having our local entrepreneurs on the radio show. There’s people sitting in their jobs now going, “Man, I wish I could work for myself.” Uh, tell us where you, so local style, we like to get to know the business person first before we get into the business aspect. Tell us uh, obviously, you’re from ___, what was, uh, what was your childhood like, growing up? Where, what high school did you go to?
Keoni: Before we begin, I’ve got to tell you, you guys are a lot of fun and uh, that was my, your theme song, that’s my workout groove, “Baby, I’m worth it.” Uh, I, I think I, my, my shirt gets drenched to that like very workout so that was, you, you guys are fun, so, sot hanks for having me.
Attilio: Sure, welcome aboard.
Keoni: Uh, yes I’m from ___, Oahu, that is my district, my ___. Uh, you know, it was interesting, I was, I was just recently doing a job and they asked where I’m from, you know, what, what state I’m from, and I said oh, I’m’ from ___ and they said, “No, you’re not! You can’t claim that!” And I said, I said absolutely, I meant to ___ Elementary. And they, and they’re like, “You sound like, you sound like you’re in the military and you’re from San Diego. Your English is too good.”
Attilio: You articulate too much.
Keoni: And, and, and I said, no, I, I can speak pidgin, he goes, “Try.” I go, well you know, maybe after we’re done working today we can, we can do that, so, but, but I have to thank my mom and ___ schools for uh, for helping me with my, with my diction and my English.
Attilio: ___. You know, any, any local person, anybody on Oahu can speak pidgin after 3 Heinekens.
Adrienne: I can’t.
Attilio: You need like 5 Heinekens.
Keoni: Or a bag of—
Attilio: You sound like you—
Keoni: Or a bag of ____ chicken!
Attilio: You sound like you talk in pidgin after 5 Heinekens.
Attilio: Maybe, more, more like you sound like you have a stroke. After you’ve had 5 Heinekens.
Adrienne: I would not drink 5 Heinekens. Alright, so Keoni, so tell us a little bit more about this uh, Dibshawaii and how did you, how did you get started with it?
Keoni: Yeah, it’s really interesting uh, Dibs is an acronym for Dry-Ice Blasting, which is, it’s, it is a fairly new innovative technology, uh, but it’s been around for the, for the last 35 years. Uh, and this is born from aerospace, um, NASA, the Air Force, and of course the Navy had, had their own special, uh, projects uh, requiring this type of technology to emerge in the, in the early ’80s. Uh, of course nobody knew this was happening, so, uh, in 2007, I, I was, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I, and I’ve always focused on, on what can we do to protect the environment we’re in and so, it’s truly because I love my community, where I come from, uh, the area that we, it’s, it’s prestigious, it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous and we need to take care of it, so, that was kind of a guidepost for me, if I’m going to be an entrepreneur, I want to be able to, to best, have the best practices if we’re going to be doing any type of cleaning and I was in a position where we, we couldn’t even find people to do this specific type of cleaning that was required, so, I found myself doing it myself, trying just, just to meet the clients’ needs, not saying oh, it’s not available, we would make it happen, we provide, providing innovative solutions in the, in the early stages, being very creative, what we, what could we do. So, to, to, to get the edge, then, I was like, okay, well, I, I would just started to do a search and so I was searched in uh, I wanted to do hydro blasting, which is with water and, and uh, environmentally-friendly chemicals and so when I typed it in, the google sidebar, back, back in the, the early 2000s uh, this company called Cold Jet popped up and I said, wow, what is that? And it, and it said dry ice blasting. And I said, this, this, what is this? I go, this is incredible! And so, there was no videos the way there is now, YouTube wasn’t the way it is now and Vimeo and so there’s very little information except for I’ve seen their cleaning like, what looks like an aerospace component. And it’s just this gas and there’s no waste stream and I’m like, this is incredible! They’re removing just these incredible layers, these films, dirt, grease, uh, filled coatings and all you see is a cloud and it was dry to the touch. And I said, that is incredible! I go, that’s the future.
Attilio: So, was there uh, companies on the island that did that? Before you started?
Keoni: No, there was no companies really in the country doing this.
Attilio: So, you’re first, first to market.
Keoni: This, this was coming from a very industrial process, uh, your iPhone, I don’t’ know if you both have iPhones, uh, I don’t know if you have a Mercedes Benz, a BMW or a Toyota um, but dry ice blasting is actually implemented into all of these phases of manufacturing so uh, dry ice blasting robots go in and clean the weld lines in Mercedes Benz and now, in fact every manufacturer has these capabilities. Your iPhone gest dry ice blasted uh, to remove any dust particles before it gets put together, so it, it’s, it’s very, it, it, at a very deep level of manufacturing, but that’s kind of where it stayed and so from a contracting perspective, which is what I am, uh, I do, we do military contracting, Department of Defense contracting and we work with governments, uh, it was very relevant because we have the ability to clean assets and facilities because they would use water, chemicals, grit, or in most cases, just not clean. And neglect and I think it’s easy to just get something new versus cleaning what was old. And so, uh, I saw a window and, and honestly they wouldn’t sell me the equipment. It took me 2 years for them to even, they basically just would hang up on me and they weren’t in the business of selling equipment.
Attilio: Now what were you, what were you, what were you doing before?
Adrienne: Or to anyone! They just wanted to keep it to themselves.
Keoni: Or to anyone it seemed. Or to anyone it seemed, yeah. It’s just like—
Attilio: Proprietary technology, they want to control it and save that but—
Keoni: Well, you know, exactly—
Adrienne: So, like you’re calling them every day for 2 years?
Keoni: Well, you know, it got the point, I was like once a month and then it was quarterly—
Adrienne: Did you just, did you just like finally just show up at their front door.
Keoni: That’s exactly what I did! I actually, I actually went to uh, we went to global headquarters in, in uh, Loveland, Ohio. I love Loveland, Ohio. I try to get there once a year. And, and, and be there because it is a beautiful town and it has a true American spirit. Uh, so, Cold Jet, the company, was there and we, my dad went with me, and I told him for 2 years I said, I, I really think I want to do this. I said, I couldn’t invest in Apple, I couldn’t invest in Coca-Cola or Microsoft. I go, I will invest in myself and I will, and I will invest in this technology because it will change the world. Uh, and I said, I might, I think I’m just a little early. Uh, so—
Attilio: Early adopter.
Keoni: So, so in 2007 when I’m looking at it, it was popping up in Germany, uh, Cold Jet had a world headquarters there. It popped up in uh, in the Middle East. There was, it was popping up in Mexico and it wasn’t in South, Southeast Asia yet, and, and so what I saw was, I saw this huge void of the whole Pacific and I said well, Hawaii is in the most remote location and it’s one of the most strategic uh, stops for, for any military operation, whether it’s uh, the Navy, the Army, the Airforce, the Coast Guard. And I said, how is it possible that this amazing technology that was born from the military has no presence at all in one of the most uh, critical axis, uh, assets? So, so we went and, and a lot of people told me, which most entrepreneurs understand this, is that, oh, that’s not a good idea, oh, that’ can’t be done, oh that doesn’t work. And I mean, I, I (laughing) if I had—
Attilio: Well what was your, what was uh—
Keoni: If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I mean, you know, we could fly to France for french fries right now.
Attilio: Share with uh, the listeners, because a lot of these are future entrepreneurs, what was your mindset of the time, with people telling, all the nay-sayers? How did you deal with that? How did you treat it?
Keoni: I said, thank you.
Attilio: And just kept going?
Keoni: I said thank you and then in my mind, I said don’t quit, don’t give up!
Adrienne: Yeah, just keep going.
Keoni: You know what? And then I said, no one really cares what you think! I don’t really care what you think. But because, I think it’s just believe in yourself and it, and it was pure conviction and the ABCs, which you read earlier, I was trying to come up with them before you said them and I was like, okay, what are my ABCs? And the, the, the A would be Attitude. It’s, you’ve got to have a positive attitude.
Adrienne: Of that right mindset.
Keoni: That right mindset. Absolutely and then you know what? I got B correct. Because I think you said, behave. And but I, my, behavior was what, so, so—
Adrienne: Yeah, behavior, so modeling—
Keoni: Model that behavior so I was like, okay, right now, and then C would have been conviction. Because if you speak with conviction, then you truly become that. And I think that, you’ve got to, you trick yourself first.
Adrienne: It’s that self-talk. Right? You had to have that, that, that internal dialogue, you have.
Keoni: That self-talk, yeah, because the world will tell you what you’re worth.
Attilio: Now, our jobs are to ask those questions that listeners are thinking in their minds right now. One of them is, this equipment doesn’t sound cheap. What, you had like—
Keoni: It doesn’t!
Attilio: A credit card or something?
Keoni: It doesn’t sound, it’s not cheap! It’s like—
Attilio: How did you get your—
Keoni: It’s like a novel cost like a Prius, it’s ridiculous, I, you know, I should have like 5 Priuses by now.
Attilio: How did you fund up your startup costs?
Keoni: So, you know, this was, we are a local business and, and, like I said, I, I believed in my community and my community believes in me and so I went to my family. Uh, like many businesses start and that was purely with just a hope and a dream and I’m so fortunate to have a family that believed in me because I had the conviction to, to, to pursue something that didn’t exist. And I can tell you, 9 years later, where we are now, of how the technology has progressed and the fact that we are uh, the leading subject matter experts for this technology, on, on the global scale, uh, there’s, there’s no one doing, taking on dry ice blasting applications, advanced surface preparation, techniques the way Dibshawaii has been looking at it. Uh, from a subject matter expertise standpoint, uh.
Attilio: So, tell us, you started from 0, where are you at today? Where, what, if you don’t mind sharing.
Keoni: So, I want, I wanted to go back to, to, to going straight to Ohio because they wouldn’t sell us the equipment, because it was really expensive equipment and uh, so we get, so we get to uh, Ohio, Loveland, Ohio, and we walk in to uh, the Cold Jet global headquarters and we, we’re going through, they have a museum of all the technologies along the way that led them to, you know, 36 years of, of dry ice clearing, innovative leaders. I mean, they are the Mercedes Benz. They set the tone. And uh, so we get in there and I’m with my dad, he came with me and he’s like, well, you know, I don’t’ think it’s a good idea but I’ll go, I’ll go because I believe in you. So, we’re walking and, and my dad was the superintendent at Pearl Harbor, uh, for many years in the ’80s and he retired in the ’90s, so he was there in a time when Pearl Harbor was ___, it was the best shipping yard in, in the whole Navy. And so, we’re walking past and all of a sudden he stops dead in his tracks and he looks at a machine to the right of him, and it was like the first machine. And, he looks at me and he just starts looking at the machine, starts examining this machine, and the, the salesperson, who comes to meet us, who, who is now, he’s the senior vice President of global sales, my good friend, Mr. Brian Allen. And so, he’s there and my dad looks at him and tells him, we’ll buy it, we’ll get it, whatever it is, we’re going to get it! And he goes, “In 1984, I brought dry ice blasting into Peral Harbor to clean, to do some delicate work on a submarine.” And I was like, you’re kidding me! I go, so for, so if you’re, so you’ve basically been telling me it’s not a good idea, for 2 years, and here we, he goes, “Well I didn’t, well I didn’t know this was the company.”
Adrienne: He didn’t put it all together.
Keoni: He goes, “This is the machine!” And he was like, he’s like, “We’ll get it, whatever machine,” I was like, no, we will not buy anything now. That was basically my—
Adrienne: Gotta be the right one!
Keoni: That was my first 10 minutes in this place! I’m like no! And so, so, we spent this, and this is true local style, so we spent 40, 40 hours, the whole week, we checked in every day, and we watched how we should handle the people that manufacture the equipment, how it was designed, it was made from raw materials and so, we met the engineers, we met the people that put the machines together, and what we, what we created was a relationship and, and we became part of the family. That was never done before! No one has ever traveled halfway across the globe to their little humble little town to this manufacture, it’s actually a big manufacturing plant.
Adrienne: You guys spent the whole entire week?
Keoni: We spent the whole week there!
Adrienne: And you got to know them.
Keoni: And I’ve gone back—
Attilio: Did you bring them ___?
Keoni: But we brought coffee and chocolate.
Adrienne: There you go.
Keoni: And we continue to bring coffee and chocolate because if we don’t—
Attilio: They get all pissed off. They don’t let you in the gate.
Adrienne: They’re disappointed.
Keoni: Yeah! And might not, they might not take me out to dinner, you know. Yeah. We might not get dinner; we might not get golf or something like that.
Attilio: Well, hey, you know uh, we’ve got to, we uh, we’re probably going to be taking a break here in a little bit but I want to kind of get into reader’s digest mode of your business.
Attilio: And hit some highlights. Where are you at, you started from 0, where are you guys at today if you don’t mind sharing. What, how, how much volume in sales have you guys done in the past year?
Keoni: So, it’s, it’s really not about volume and sales for me, it’s really more focused—
Attilio: Services provided.
Keoni: It, it’s more focused on our clients and our expertise, so I want to give you just a list of some of our clients. Uh, the Department of Navy NAVFAC Environmental, they’re one of our clients. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army, they’re one of our clients. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, they’re one of our clients. The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, they’re one of our clients. Hagadon Printing, early in the game, one of our clients. Hensel Phelpps, uh, some really innovative work that we did for them, one of our clients. Four Seasons ___, the work that we did for them was groundbreaking. Uh, so, what, what Dibshawaii has done is when I started this, I didn’t know how to dry ice blast. I was a wine consultant.
Adrienne: Oh, wow.
Keoni: Uh, but I knew how to sell. And I, if it’s bubble gum or a Ferrari or a dry ice blasting machine, it’s the same! If you believe in it, if you believe you’ve got the best piece of bubble gum, it’s the best.
Adrienne: It’s easy.
Attilio: How many, how many uh, employees do you have?
Keoni: So, right now, it’s, I have the consulting side and we have, and I want to talk about this, we have 10 native Hawaiians that we have trained that we give, that we have pulled from our community because Dibshawaii is 51% owned by a native Hawaiian organization. Uh, so we, we benefit our native Hawaiian community, so by doing so, we are into economic development, so we, we give preference and we do training for native Hawaiians first. Uh, that we will hire anybody, but we, we’ve trained, in the last year, we’ve trained 10 native Hawaiians, we’ve provided beneficial certifications and training for them to get into a military jobsite uh, some of the certifications include uh, Lead Worker, uh, Confined Space, Aerial Lift training, uh, Haz-whopper, Ocea-40, so these are, I mean, this is months where they’re training in a certification. What this allows a young individual and what we did is I like to focus on the age group of 20-32, it’s one of the most underrepresented age groups and so you take one of these, these individuals and they go from a position where they might have been making 15, $12-15 an hour and with these training and certifications, they walk into a job opportunity making $47 an hour to start.
Adrienne: Oh, wow, so you’re really making a big difference, that’s like doubling what they’re making.
Keoni: It’s true! It’s tripling.
Adrienne: Or triple, yeah.
Keoni: And, and, and by doing this, we’re empowering them because we’re giving them an opportunity to touch things they may not have ever touched before. And so, that’s really how we view economic development. That’s how I, I view it. So, I can give you a little bit of background on the dry ice blasting, so what it is. So, basically in Hawaii, we get our CO2 comes from our refining operations, so, the crude oil that comes in on the ships, we make our fuels here. The by-products of those fuels, we have all kinds of chemicals and off-gases. They capture the CO2 gas that otherwise would’ve gone back into the atmosphere and that is where we get our CO2, for your beverages, for Coke, Pepsi—
Keoni: Carbonation. People have heard of dry ice before, so, packaging, gourmet, you know, imagine every airline catering company uses dry ice, the medical industry uses dry ice to cool things, so, typically dry ice is seen from a cooling perspective, uh, we use it as a cleaning uh, medium. Because we take the dry ice particles and we get it in all types, we can, we can change the particle size and upon impact, this solid material turns immediately into a gas. And so, it sublimates is the key word. So, we’re using something that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere and we capture it, we turn it into dry ice media, we clean with no water, no chemicals, no solvents, and we can clean while it’s online, so electrical components, uh, so, I’ve cleaned engines from a car engine, to a truck engine, to a boat engine, to a fighter plane engine.
Attilio: So, you guys aren’t wasting water, that’s the benefit. You’re, you’re capturing all the, you said the waste stream.
Keoni: Yeah, there’s’ no secondary waste stream, so whatever is stuck on the surface, is what comes off the surface. And then we just sweep it up or vac it up.
Attilio: And it doesn’t go into the atmosphere.
Keoni: It doesn’t go into the atmosphere. Yeah.
Attilio: Or down the drain, into our beautiful oceans.
Keoni: So, so, it’s uh, it, it, it truly changes the way we look at preventative maintenance so it’s, it’s now becoming a standard and we’ve been working very hard for 9 years to change the requirements, so that’s why I don’t like to talk about sales too much, I’ve been really kind of a field mouse for the military, for Cold Jet, to actually find these applications outside of the ones I was talking to the manufacturing, and that’s really how we can begin to benefit uh, the facilities, the bases, there’s a lot of things we can clean, a lot.
Adrienne: Well yeah, you had mentioned in the beginning, that a lot of the, the bases, like they just wouldn’t clean and then there like oh, we’ll just get a new one. Right, so you’re really able to help them to maintain the equipment.
Keoni: And rust and corrosion, I mean, there’s, I mean, living in Hawaii, we have the rust and corrosion and, and if we can clean, uh, without, without any grit, we don’t’ have to clean it up, so if there’s 5,000 pounds of sand, and you’ve got to pick it up. We clean 5,000 dry ice; we pick up 0.
Attilio: Nice, wow. Speaking of picking up nothing, we need to take a break.
Attilio: Yup. And when we come back, we, uh, this is what we want to talk about with you, Keoni, when we go to the break. Is, we want to talk about these non-profits that you’ve been able to support in our communities, so let’s talk about that when we come back.
Keoni: Yes. Love the non-profits.
Attilio: Stay with us!
Adrienne: So, stay with us!
[Music fades to commercials]
Announcer: It’s the Team Lally real estate show. Here’s Adrienne and Attilio!
Adrienne: Welcome back and thanks for listening to the Team Lally real estate show, home of the guaranteed sold program, or we’ll buy it. I’m Adrienne—
Attilio: And I’m Attilio!
Adrienne: If you have any questions just give us a call at 799-9596 or check us out on the web at www.teamlally.com.
Attilio: Hey, so, we uh, we’ve got Keoni Ford in the studio. He’s the uh, President, I’m going to call you President and CEO, CEO of Dibshawaii and he’s the most highly-paid janitor in the state of Hawaii.
Keoni: I, I prefer janitor when I’m in the elevator.
Attilio: The elevator pitch.
Keoni: Attilio challenged me to get my elevator speech down and I said I do! I said I, you know, I typically tell people I’m a janitor and it just gets really close, in a nutshell. (laughing) So, so, to, to take you up on your challenge, this is what we do at Dibshawaii, which is dry-ice blasting. The technique is amazing; we use innovation and technology to solve complex problems and that’s what we do at Dibshawaii and we do it for any bevvy of clients. If you’ve got an, an issue around clearing or you’re not doing it, give us a call, we’ll see what we can do to support you in it.
Adrienne: And that you guys are also looking for, for talent. Right?
Keoni: That’s exactly, that’s exactly it, and we are looking for talented uh, young men and women of native Hawaiian descent uh, I like to focus on the age groups I mentioned earlier, 22-32 because that’s mentorship and protégé, and so, that means if we start with young and then as they grow, we can continue to life-cycle that we can continue.
Adrienne: Is there any kind of special requirements that they have, like do they have to have a college degree or just, graduated high school?
Keoni: Nope, can you pass, can you pass a drug test?
Attilio: Are you teachable?
Adrienne: Oh, okay, are they teachable?
Keoni: Are you teachable and then usually I like to look at their hands uh, you know, if they’re kind of beat up, uh—
Adrienne: You know they’re hard workers.
Keoni: Yeah, yeah, truly and if they’re soft, you know—
Attilio: They’re like boxing with a wall.
Keoni: And if, and if they’re kind of soft, they’re a little, then they might be management, you know, so we can get so, so, you know, it’s kind of like Boss Baby where, you know, if you’re ticklish you go here, if you’re that, then you become management, you know.
Attilio: So, speaking of ticklish, let’s talk about these non-profit organizations that you’re supporting in your community. What’s one of them that you want to talk about?
Keoni: So, in the spirit of the ___, I’m the Chairman of the Board for ___ Voyaging Academy, it is a 36-year-old native Hawaiian voyaging ___, it is the ___ Coastline’s uh, traditional native Hawaiian voyaging ___. Uh, that is one of the non-profits, uh, ___, ___, uh, is our farm at ___ Elementary that has been doing the work for the past 38 years, uh, working with communities in harmony through the eyes, hearts, and hands of the children and you know, the reason why I’m so dedicated to getting into the military work is because of the profitability. Okay, I, I’m just going to say that. If you’re an entrepreneur, you want to do work, I hope that you’re motivated by money.
Attilio: Well we always ask people why are you doing this, and the bottom line is we are in a capitalist society and even if you want to go support a non-profit organization it takes money!
Keoni: Money! And resources. Really, I mean that’s what it comes down to, so don’t be, don’t’ be ashamed to say like, well what are you motivated by? Well, you know, I want to do this. All the poss—I want to make money so that I can take that resource and then I can give it back to the community that helps shape and make me who I am!
Attilio: You know what? And what uh, there’s a whole TED talk series on it, it’s called the Effective Altruism. And they give the example of Bill and Melinda Gates, they’ve actually saved, the lives of over 5.2 million children with the huge sums of money that they’ve donated and focused into parts of the world where the kids just needed vaccination and biggest brownie sale in the world isn’t going to take care of that and so they were, so that’s what they call Effective Altruism. Let’s talk more about your effective altruism. What is the, what’s the mission statement of this first uh, non-profit that you’re working with?
Keoni: So ___, we’re currently working on the restoration of our heritage uh, our Hawaiian heritage so right now we don’t have a program per se, the way we did in the, in the ’80s and late ’90s. Uh, she’s being rebuilt for the next 36 years, so we’ve been focusing, our Board has been putting our energies into restoring ___ with the most modern materials uh, so that she can sail and support the youth for the next 40 years. Uh, so she was traditional, she was made of wood, uh, so she had termites and, and you know, over time, and you know, it’s a rough sea out there, and so, now, when she’ going to be, you know, she’s about 35%, construction is under way, uh, so, as far as that goes, we, we, we always would love to have volunteers come out, we have our volunteer days on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the ___ Boat Harbor, we have a 5-story __ uh, the first one put up in in the state of Hawaii. Uh, which was, which was constructed for the ___, so, a lot of work just to get—
Adrienne: What time, what time is the volunteer thing?
Keoni: From, from 9-4.
Adrienne: Just show up at the ___ Boat Harbor and be like I’m here to volunteer!
Keoni: And you can’t, you can’t miss it because it’s a 5-story ___! It’s massive and uh, especially now, we’re really picking up a lot of speed because of the ___ coming back. Tomorrow, it’s a big time. It’s very exciting, uh, but really we’re, we’re perpetuating our Hawaiian heritage and uh, offering you know, the kids love the ocean. And uh, they’re excellent at it and if we can empower them to learn how to do that, then eventually they can get protégés and we can get, bring them over to Dibs!
Adrienne: There you go!
Keoni: So, you know—
Adrienne: Start them young.
Attilio: What’s the—
Keoni: Start them young, that’s right.
Attilio: What’s the website, if somebody wanted to check, do you guys have a website for that one?
Keoni: Uh, our website is, ___ Voyaging Academy is currently being re-designed, but you can go to the ___ Hawaiian Civic Club and they have an ___ section. You can go to UH West Oahu and they have a ___ section. Just Google ___! ___ Voyaging Canoe. And you’ll see it and very soon we will have our website back up because we’re, we’re, you know, always have to update, like, just like, just like your, your uh, your estate plan.
Adrienne: Your estate plan, you’ve got to update your website.
Keoni: If your webpage is 20 years old—
Adrienne: That’s a problem.
Keoni: It might, it might, yeah, it might take you a long time.
Attilio: 20 years old! It existed before the internet! Anyway, uh, speaking of updating, what about the second non-profit?
Keoni: Okay, ___. You know, I wen tot ___ Elementary and in, in that, that program really shaped who I am as a person. Because you touch, feel, you know, a plant doesn’t discriminate and the gardens and the programs at Hawaii ___, we had the ___ program, it was a pilot program at ___ Elementary in the late ’80s and I just was so honored that I was a kid that went through that program and it really did help me and then of course, years later, uh, I’m elected Chairman, Chairman of the Board and, and I’m still that kid when I go through there and you know, we are working on some really amazing programs. And I have to say this, that you know, a lot of non-profits, when you look at the community, you know, we, we fight! I don’t’ want to say fight, but we’re competing for the same funds and grant funding and the reason why I talk about the non-profit with the for-profit is because I want to motivate business owners in your own community, to, to get behind your, your non-profit, to, to give! You know, if you have a big project, you see profits come in, go down there. What program needs help? Here, can I write you a check for $5,000? Can I write you a check for $5? It doesn’t really matter. Uh, it’s just go out there and give!
Attilio: So, the, the advice you’re saying is, you want to make a change in your community, go out there, be a successful either business person or business owner or entrepreneur, so you can write the big checks!
Keoni: That’s right! I mean, you know, Ronald McDonald house is great, but I mean, there’s a program in your backyard and I, and you know, these are the, these are the programs in my yard. Uh, you know ___, uh, Farms, an organic farm. That’s another non-profit, I love my farm! I love them!
Adrienne: I think you can go and volunteer there, right?
Keoni: You can volunteer there, you can, you can, there’s ___, I mean there’s so many amazing farms that you can just go and just be, take your kids, you know, go pick cotton.
Attilio: They have uh, Pull Weed Wednesday. Do you know when it is? Every Wednesday.
Adrienne: Wednesday. (laughing)
Attilio: No, every day is Pull Weed Wednesday.
Keoni: I can tell you—
Attilio: Go over there, go pull weeds.
Keoni: I can tell you, it’s more fun to pull weeds after it rains in ___.
Adrienne: We, you know what? It’s been kind of rainy lately.
Keoni: It has. So.
Adrienne: So, it’s a good time!
Keoni: So, this weekend will be a good time to pick weeds.
Attilio: So, we’re coming down to the last minute, uh, one, you know, one, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give somebody who wanted to start a business?
Keoni: Okay. Wow, okay. I want, I wanted to read this gift thing but—
Attilio: You can, if you read them fast.
Keoni: Okay, I’ll read. You know what, we’ll save that for another day.
Attilio: Yeah, next time you’re on the show.
Adrienne: Leave them wanting more.
Keoni: Yeah, wanting more. Uh, okay, my one, my one tip for an entrepreneur. Uh, is just, is be-do-have. You’ve got to be it, you’ve got to do it, and sometimes you’ve got to go back and forth, you’ve got to do the be-do-do, be-do-be-do-do and eventually you might have the “have.” But you’ve got to stick with it, so be-do-have and get what you want.
Attilio: And if you’re in Colorado its uh—
Attilio: It’s (laughing) do-be.
Keoni: (laughing) Yes! I guess so!
Attilio: No, in Colorado, it’s have-do-be! Have a doobie, but if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s be-do-have.
Adrienne: Okay, so thank you for listening and thank you to our sponsors.
Keoni: Thank you guys!
Attilio: Jodie Tanga and Derek Tanga of Pacific Rim Mortgage! And our guest, Keoni!
Adrienne: Yes! Bradley Maruyama of Allstate Insurance!
Attilio: And Nathan Baker of Pillar to Post Home Inspections!
Adrienne: Ben and Tony Mamood of AAA Roofers Hawaii!
Attilio: Janyce Myrland of Dream House Drafting!
Adrienne: John Speed of Kilauea Pest Control!
Attilio: Duke Kimhan of Hawaii Pacific Property Management!
Adrienne: Mike Metts of Kama’aina Plumbing!
Attilio: Thomas Pattison with Pattison Land Surveying!
Adrienne: Myron Kamihara of Kamihara Law!
Attilio: If you want to get ahold of any of our sponsors, just go to www.teamlally.com!
Adrienne: We also want to give a big thank you to Lea, our producer here in the studio!
Attilio: Chi-hoo! Make sure to tune in next week, we’ll have one of our awesome guests talking about something that’ll change your life—
Adrienne and Attilio: Forever!
Attilio: This is the Team Lally real estate show, home of the guaranteed—
Adrienne and Attilio: SOLD PROGRAM!
Adrienne: If we can’t sell your home at the agreed-upon price and your time frame we’ll have it bought for cash.
Adrienne and Attilio: THANKS, AND ALOHA!