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Delaware’s Business Owner: Keith D. Clarke: HVAC Industry Expert


To stay profitable in the construction industry, each project must be examined from top to bottom, considering the cost of materials, cost of labor, and much more.

This task requires financial acumen and a great deal of industry knowledge. Keith D. Clarke, chief estimator and project manager for Salisbury, MD-based Noland Mechanical, Inc., is just the man for the job.

Keith’s industry knowledge came about as a result of a lifetime of exposure to the HVAC and plumbing industries. Shortly after graduating high school, he started working at his family’s business alongside his father and brother. His days were spent working as an HVAC technician, and at night he focused on estimating and design. He also pursued education, taking classes on HVAC technology and system design.

These classes helped him develop the foundational skills required to run a business, which meant that Keith was prepared to take over when his father had to step down due to health issues; he started running the day-to-day operations of the business’s HVAC installation department.

When their father passed away, Keith D. Clarke and his brother continued growing the business, working with current and potential customers to answer all of their questions and take on new projects and ventures, providing clients with a full-service experience they prided themselves on– keeping the family legacy alive even after their father passed away.

Running a business requires a sound understanding of the ins and outs of HVAC technology, as well as strong financial acumen. After over a decade of successful development, a larger company eventually led to a larger company offering to buy them out, which Keith D. Clarke and his brother accepted after some negotiations to ensure profitability.

When the sale of their family business was complete, it was time to move on. Keith set his sights on Noland Mechanical, a construction and contracting company located in Salisbury, Maryland, where he works to this day. 

Keith’s role at Noland Mechanical is senior estimator and project manager, which requires him to use both his field experience and business knowledge to provide estimates to clients that both keep the revenue flowing and succeed in a competitive marketplace.

Perhaps Noland Mechanical’s success can be attributed to the Design-Build services they offer. Design-Build services entail the contractors, client, architects, engineers and everyone else involved in a project to work together as a collaborative team. Rather than each group completing their portion of the work and passing it along, Design-Build services mean that everyone is on board with a decision before it moves forward. 

These services save everyone money in the long run because the project can’t progress until everyone is in agreement. This ultimately prevents conflicts and disagreements further down the line, and immensely increases the efficiency of a project, getting things completed in a much more timely fashion than more traditional building methods.

It takes someone with Keith D. Clarke’s level of knowledge, business savvy, and technical skill to keep a company thriving even during times of economic difficulty. During the uncertainty of the past few years, Clarke has shifted the focus of Noland Mechanical’s projects away from struggling sectors, like private residential housing, and toward commercial ventures like resort and hotel construction.

Fluctuating costs of building materials like lumber, steel, and copper haven’t kept Clarke from ensuring timely and efficient project completion, either. At one point, rather than allow a project to get caught up in the endless delays of an overloaded supply chain, he stockpiled necessary supplies so they’d be on hand for projects that required them.

With experience in both the technical and financial aspects of the construction and HVAC industry, Keith D. Clarke will be leaving customers happy while growing Noland Mechanical for a long time to come.