Kelly Kimes Is the Go-To Guy for Cal-State Site Services

Service tech takes on multiple jobs at his company and wins a well-deserved Portable Sanitation Association International award, all while facing a cancer diagnosis

Kelly Kimes Is the Go-To Guy for Cal-State Site Services

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For Kelly Kimes, a service technician at Cal-State Site Services in Simi Valley, California, 2018 started off pretty well. He recently married the mother of his three children. Then he heard that his supervisors had nominated him for the Portable Sanitation Association International Service Technician of the Year award.

But then, the bad news struck. Kimes, 56, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has since begun chemotherapy treatment.

And while that journey has been a struggle, Kimes says he felt joy and pride when he learned he had actually won the award. “It couldn’t have been timed any better,” he says. “It’s an honor to be recognized.” 

The PSAI’s Service Technician of the Year award honors the industry’s top service technicians who actively embody the highest industry standards.  

“It’s not like you’re working for a company; it’s like a family,” adds Kimes, who has worked for Cal-State Site Services for about six years but has been in the portable sanitation industry for more than 20 years. 

“I started at a really small company just loading and unloading restrooms into a dirt yard,” Kimes recalls. “Over the years, I worked my way up to managing that company.”

When that company dissolved, Kimes says, “Rick [Modlin, owner of Cal-State Site Services] and Eric [Giffin, general manager] had been asking me to come over; I had gotten a few other job offers, but I really connected with Rick and Eric. … They make this job so much easier. 

“If I need anything, they’re always a phone call away. I couldn’t do the job as well as I do without them.” 

Starting out small

Kimes was working in construction when he answered an ad for a “loader/unloader.” “I didn’t know what I would be loading or unloading,” he says. “It happened to be portable toilets.”

He figured he would continue doing that job for a while, but he found himself working his way up in that company before coming to Cal-State Site Services, where he now has brought the company $500,000 in special event sales.

“The special event business has grown,” he says. “It’s something I love to do; it’s challenging. Every one is a little different — finding out what their needs are. You’re working with people who are just there to have a party.”

Kimes actively pursued this portion of the business when he noticed other companies weren’t paying close attention to details. “Everybody was bringing their equipment, dropping it off and then leaving,” he says. “If there was any problem, [customers] would call and get an office or answering service.”

Kimes decided that he would pursue those events, offering customers his cellphone number so they could call him directly if there was a problem. He would even get calls from people who rented from other companies and couldn’t reach them, asking him to help out.

“I started making myself available. That was my way in,” he says. “It paid off really well; they know they can call me anytime.”

In addition to bringing in stellar sales numbers, Kimes manages Cal-State Site Services’ secondary yard in Ventura, covers routes, pickups and deliveries when needed, washes and preps units, and just about anything else that needs to be done. “I work all around; everywhere they might need me,” he says. “You just grow with the company.”

Giffin recognizes Kimes’ versatility and is especially proud of him. “Kelly is just a special employee,” he says. “He does anything and everything — the all-around go-to person.”

Kimes wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love the people I work for; I can’t picture doing anything else,” he says. “The industry is great, and the people are wonderful.” 

That’s why Kimes is so anxious to get back to work after he finishes chemo. “What bothers me most is not being at work,” he says, noting that he’s not sure when he’ll be able to return, but he’s optimistic. 

“I’m kind of a workaholic; I enjoy what I do,” he says. “I have a bad habit of loving my job; it brings me so much happiness.” 



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