Daniel Keelan follows his many passions
When Daniel Keelan read an article about cell phones in 1985, the topic immediately grabbed his attention.
Keelan had been studying political science at the University of Pittsburgh, with hopes of becoming an attorney, when his brother sent the story over from Los Angeles.
“It was a lengthy article, and I was just fascinated by it,” Keelan said.
He was so fascinated, in fact, that he decided to take a job with a cellular phone company a year after graduating to further his interest in telecommunications.
Now 48, Keelan has brought his passion for technology and communications to a number of individuals and businesses, and this year hopes to bring that same passion to the Hamilton council, as a candidate on the Democratic ticket in the upcoming November election.
At the time he started working in the technology field, Keelan said, cell phones were incredibly heavy and were the size of briefcases. After taking on a sales position at the phone company, he decided to start his own business, a commercial Internet service provider called EarthStation Inter.net, which sold high-capacity Internet to businesses.
During the time when the knowledge of the Internet and cell phones was just blossoming, Keelan said he enjoyed making technical sales to clients. In a technical sale, Keelan spent time explaining technological information that most people knew nothing about.
As new technology gained strength and grew at an increasingly rapid pace, Keelan said his business was bought several times over, amounting to a $10 million operation by the time he left the company in 2010.
That year, Keelan decided to once again start up a new company, resulting in the creation of E&T Services (Energy and Telecommunications Services, LLC), based in Hamilton. Keelan consults with businesses throughout the state about their usage and application of those services to minimize costs and increase productivity.
As it turned out, he also had a passion for connecting people, not just the electronics.
Rosie Pottenbaum, who worked with Keelan at PAETEC from 2006-2011, recalled how Keelan would often fill the role of middleman to help multiple parties reach mutually beneficial agreements.
“Dan is one of those guys that’s extremely bright, but he’s not obnoxious with his knowledge,” Pottenbaum said. “He’s a great listener, and he can look at things objectively. He can look at three sides of an argument.”
(Those three sides, she clarified, are the left side, right side, and the truth.)
“I am really a very inclusive person,” Keelan said. “I think everybody can come to the table and it can be a good consensus on how to fix or improve something.”
Keelan said he enjoys working with others, especially individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, to try and resolve issues and address important decisions. And he’s also done the same thing in his town.
Two years ago, the Yardville resident organized a cleanup effort in Hamilton’s Bromley neighborhood, which gained support from a number of volunteers who helped him coordinate it, Keelan said.
“I always look for my own unique way to be involved in something,” Keelan said. “By identifying needs, I have gone out and organized ways to get something done to address it.”
Keelan officially became a Hamilton resident in 2004, when he married Hamilton native Joan Carella. (Connie Carella Dalton, who ran for mayor as a Democrat in 2011, is his sister-in-law.) He’s since gotten involved in several local organizations, including the Hamilton Lions Club, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Biz 33 Group and Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers at Tender Hearts and a local food shelter.
“He’s well read, he understands, and he’s very passionate,” Pottenbaum said. “He’s extremely passionate about helping others, whether it’s a customer in a telecommunication meeting, or whether it’s a friend in need of a favor, or someone who’s down on their luck.”
And as for being well-read, Keelan credits his parents. His father was an electrical engineer who worked for Bell Pennsylvania, and his mother was an English teacher. Both insisted their children read critically, and write and speak well. His mother encouraged Keelan and his nine siblings to read classic pieces of literature; his father encouraged biographies and history, but both pressed the importance of being able to articulate the written word, Keelan said.
Even now, Keelan enjoys occasionally jotting down short stories or poems, and finding different quotes and clichés, like his current favorite by Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” His cell phone cover even features the words “Do unto others,” a reminder of the quote, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
But it’s not all work and no play for Keelan. He’s quick to describe himself as an environmentalist, and loves to spend time outdoors.
He’s been windsurfing since his teen years, he said, and his hobby of backpacking—just a weekend with a backpack, sleeping bag, and camp stove—has led him to Shenandoah National Park, the Cascade Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park.