Keith Esau serves as a Kansas State Representative from the Olathe area, District 14. He serves as chairman of the Kansas House Elections Committee, and also serves on the Joint Committee for Information Technology, and the House Committee on Government Technology and Security. Keith is also a software developer and systems auditor with more than 30 years of experience in the information technology industry, working in a field that is acutely involved in cyber defenses and authentication protocols. While Keith’s roots in the technology industry run deep, his Kansas roots run even deeper.
Keith is a fourth generation Kansan. His great-great-grandparents immigrated to central Kansas with the Mennonites in the late 1800’s.
Keith grew up in Buhler (near Hutchinson) and graduated from Buhler High School. He attended college in central Kansas as well, graduating from Tabor College in Hillsboro. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music with his primary instrument being the tuba.
Keith and his wife, Charlotte, married in 1980 while Keith was still in college. After graduation, they moved to Owasso, Oklahoma where Keith started a company developing and selling software for Macintosh computers. In 1988, Keith sold his software rights to Innovative Software, Inc. (ISI) a Lenexa company, moved to Olathe and began to work for ISI. At ISI, Keith joined a project working on a new graphical spreadsheet that rivaled Excel. ISI was purchased by Informix Software, Inc. and Keith continued to work for Informix in Lenexa until mid 1995.
At that time, the software he was working on was sold to a London-based company that opened a development office in Overland Park. Keith joined that company. In 2002, Keith began telecommuting – working for a company in California that purchased development rights to the same software, PDF Solutions, Inc. of San Jose. Two years ago, Keith transitioned back to being an independent software development consultant and continued to do work for PDF as well as other clients.
In the early 1990’s, Keith grew increasingly frustrated with government and decided he needed to get involved, rather than complain. He began volunteering on campaigns, which evolved into working with others to recruit grassroots precinct committeepersons. This effort became part of revitalizing the Republican Party in Kansas. Keith was first elected as a Precinct Committeeman in 2004 and has served on the Third District and State Committees for the Kansas Republican Party from 2004 through 2012. In 2007, State Party Chairman Kris Kobach appointed Keith as Chairman of the Rules Committee.
That committee was instrumental in developing the rules for the 2008 Presidential Caucus in Kansas, the first Republican caucus held in the state since the 1980s. In December 2008, Keith was elected as the Third District Chairman for the Party. He served 2 terms (until elected to the State House) and was pleased when we elected Kevin Yoder as our first Republican Congressman in 12 years during his tenure.
Keith also enjoys serving within the community. After moving to Olathe, Keith joined the Olathe Civic Band, an all-volunteer organization, where he has played tuba for the last 28 years. He also regularly attends Christ Community Evangelical Free Church in Olathe, which is located in the 14th House District.
Keith and Charlotte have five grown children ranging in age from 27 to 34. These days they also enjoy spending time with their four young grandchildren.