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FEATURED FRANCHISE–Rytech’s footprint expands in the Lone Star State

  • Post category:The Dry Log

Please meet the two owners of the latest addition to Rytech’s galaxy of franchises–friends and partners, Brent Keel and Joseph Babbs with Rytech of Bell County Texas.

Including the neighboring counties of Coryell and McLennan, Bell County was the perfect home for another Texas franchise. The weather is great, albeit a tad on the rainy side with 34 inches a year, but… it’s the demographics that most impress. Like the families of both Rytech’s owners, Bell County is growing–taking off around 1990 when it had 191,397 residents—then climbing to 362,924 by 2019. That’s almost double in 30 years growing by 170,603 new residents.

But it wasn’t always home to the two new Rytech partners, Brent Keel and Joseph Babbs. Temporarily Brent is manning the fort, while Joseph finishes serving his country in the US Marines—making him the first veteran owner of a Rytech Franchise.

Though he started water restoration in 2006, Brent last hailed from Dallas/Ft. Worth as the Accounts Manager for the Houston franchise.  Meanwhile, Joseph was a Division I college track athlete at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville Texas, where he studied business and worked for a competing water firm, before becoming a Marine Combat Engineer Officer.

“We are both lucky to have support of our families through this endeavor.” Joseph says, “… It has been challenging because we are all moving to a location from areas we used to call home.”

Joseph says he joined Rytech almost “…solely off the passion that Brent had for the firm.”  Brent says he joined Rytech Houston in 2008 after “…I spent the entire year trying to convince them to hire me.”  

I was living in Michigan and wanted a bigger, better opportunity. I flew to South Florida to meet with the current owner of the Texas Territory. Flying in I could see Hurricane Ike in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of an interview we strategized on how to respond to the storm. I barely landed in Michigan when I received the call, I got the Job. I was moving to Houston!

Joseph’s story parallels perfectly…

Brent and I worked water mitigation many years prior to our decision to buy a Rytech franchise. We always clicked and had the desire to accomplish great things. While forward deployed to the middle east Brent reached out and we discussed making the dream of owning our own franchise a reality–his commitment to Rytech ultimately led to our decision to join the Rytech family.

Ask either partner what they like about Rytech and the answer always contains the word “family.”  It also describes their lives.

Thirty Four year old Brent is married to Trisha (30) and together they have two beautiful children; Carson (11) and Alexandra (9).  Trish has her BSN (Bachelor of Science Nursing) and is currently an ICU Nurse at Baylor Hospital. 

Joseph, who is 27 is married to Giyanna (22), also a nurse at Baylor Hospital. Like Brent and Trisha, Joseph and Giyanna have two beautiful children; daughters Gracelynne (3) and Julia (2).

It should be no surprise to learn these two are very focused.  

For the foreseeable future Brent wants to grow and expand the current franchise. And together he and Joseph want Rytech of Bell County to meet the highest standard of integrity, professionalism, and service for every customer. “That’s our primary standard of performance as a Rytech franchise,” says Joseph. 

Of course, once a Marine always a Marine, and Joseph has his eye on being selected into the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) someday.  That, while simultaneously working on his master’s degree at Texas A&M.  

Pastimes? Brent loves the University of Michigan–“Go Blue!” he unabashedly exclaims. Joseph enjoys hunting and fishing and, for now at least, spends weekends exploring his new hometown with the family. “From walking the beaches to expanding my palate with a fine wine or local whisky” he says, and…  “my girls love going to the apple farms and picking fruit.”

Toughest jobs? Brent, who cut his teeth in the restoration business, recalls being in Michigan many years ago.   “We had a winter storm, and it was 40 below. A vacant building had a pipe break and it sat for a long time so huge icicles (stalactites) were everywhere on the ceiling. We used a lot of plastic to get under them and a trailer mounted heater to warm the building up—the melting water was diverted by plastic sheets to 50 gallon drums.” 

But, when asked his most satisfying job, Brent doesn’t hesitate… “that was the first Job I received as the owner.  Thanks to Carol Fischer-Rogers (Rytech VP) , her daughter had a water loss.”

Joseph, the Marine, won’t always be deployed around the globe but, Rytech is its’ own deployment with lots of opportunity for heroism.  “I’ll enjoy most having stories to tell about the good we are bringing to our community” he said.  “In their darkest hour, being able to save their day–when a pipe bursts or when a storm floods their entire home–we can make an impactful difference in someone’s life. It’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.  And they’ll remember Rytech’s team of professionals who were there when it counted the most.” 

Brent, the remediation veteran, already has such stories to tell…  

A lady had an after-hours slab leak. I cautioned her that sometimes it isn’t covered by insurance, but…I would extract water and stabilize until we confirm coverage. She became very upset and asked us to leave–she wanted it all done that night. Her last water loss, the company started with no hesitation. I told her the losses were different, but…if she wanted us to proceed, we would. When the adjuster came he told her the loss was not covered. She called me crying, saying she should have listened to me.  We worked on the bill, but…most of all she thanked me for trying to protect her. I have maintained that standard ever since.

And the longest term?

Someday Joseph would like to own real estate and as many community based businesses as he can. “This…so I can pass down a legacy for my children to continue a life of service to their country and their communities for generations to come.”

Two partners, two families, one franchise, one goal.  That’s the Bell County story–one that embodies what it means to be a member of the Rytech family.