Sunday, March 21, 2010

Up Close and Personal with Skip Kelley.

 New Year's Eve 2006 017

I recently had the opportunity to interview Skip Kelley, the man with the vision and the knowledge to build Weirs Beach Village. It is important for customers to respect and trust the builder of their home. Mr. Kelley is very aware that a home is the biggest investment most people ever make and he keeps that in mind throughout the building process. The following interview will allow one to gain a little insight into the man who has been building homes for nearly thirty years in the Granite State.

Mr. Kelley, have you always been a developer/builder?

I began my work career at Mt Carmel nursing home back in 1974. I was a maintenance man. We maintained the boilers, the emergency generating system, did carpentry repairs, repaired plumbing, minor electrical work, and lots of painting. I continued to work full time there but I enrolled at the New Hampshire Vocational Technical College as a full time student in the industrial electricity program. In 1977 I graduated Summa Cum Laude from college and immediately  went to work as an electrician at Disogrin Industries as a maintenance electrician and became a licensed Journeyman Electrician. After a year, I became a Master Electrician.In 1979, I was hired by Sanders Associates as an electrician. Sanders at that time, was the largest employer in the state.

When did you make the leap from electrician to builder?

I had wanted to build homes from a very early age, all the way back to childhood and building tree forts and club houses. I always got great satisfaction from driving nails. I had always loved taking things apart and finding out how they worked. My Dad was an intrepid remodeler himself. Duct tape was his tool of choice. He tackled many handy man jobs around the house and would impress his kids into service.

My wife and I were married in 1978 and bought the first of many apartment buildings. We jumped in with both feet and created an additional apartment that we subsequently occupied. We had the first of our four children in 1979.
I bought more apartments and continued working many nights and weekends while our family grew. In 1984 we bought a 5 acre parcel of land in Deerfield, NH. It was then that I actually built my first new construction from start to finish. I decided a career in real estate/construction would become my full time occupation. I continued buying apartments and  single family homes which we would remodel and resell.

In 1989 just as the market was entering its last big downslide, I decided to do more new construction. This may seem counter intuitive given the economic climate, however, I reasoned that if I could build homes profitably in that market, I would thrive when things got better. Although I took my share of lumps throughout that time I proved the old adage was true, "If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger".

We emerged from the down cycle far stronger than before. We have since owned somewhere around 400 - 500 apartments and condominiums. We have bought, remodeled and sold somewhere around 80-100 single family homes. We have developed land all over southern NH. We have built new homes in Bedford, Auburn, Deerfield, Manchester, Hooksett, Bow, Londonderry, Candia, Raymond, Pembroke, Allenstown, Goffstown, Weare, Sanbornton, Laconia. I would estimate I have built somewhere between 100-150 homes. I have built roads and developed several subdivisions in Manchester, Weare, Candia, Deerfield and now Laconia.

What attracted you to Weirs Beach ?

We see Weirs Beach Village as a unique opportunity. The location is outstanding with the proximity to Lake Winnipesaukee and all it has to offer. The units themselves are built of high quality and cutting edge materials. They are being built with an eye to traditional architectural elements such as high pitched roofs, wide corner boards, water tables and traditional looking clapboard siding. The intention was not so much that we were competing with others but rather leading the way with a concept in housing which combines the best of the old with the best of the new. We are proud of the fact that we are building high quality homes that are affordable and energy efficient. We are creating a community of homes which will provide years of enjoyment to the owners and adds a new dimension to Weirs Beach.  

So what do you do when you are not working at Weirs Beach Village ? Any hobbies or other interests?

I am a collector of sorts. I have collected many old signs and advertising pieces from many of the properties we have bought and sold. My wife and I have an extensive collection of antique penny banks including both mechanical and still banks.
I love to spend time with my metal detectors exploring old cellar holes and other old sites. Being in real estate has afforded me many opportunities to find coins and relics from bygone eras.
My latest hobby is stone wall building. For the last three years I have been building a stone wall in front of our home. The stone wall has gone from being a project to a hobby. It has been the site of many conversations with passersby!  The size of this wall is so large that I began looking at other sources for the rock in it. I began with other properties which I own, then began searching my friends and neighbors properties for appropriate material. I estimate that I have brought some 10-15 pickup loads of rock from Weirs Beach Village and incorporated them into my wall.  I have a rock, with fossils in it from Florida, a rock from PEI and a rock from India!
My wife and I are also are now grandparents of two twin boys and one granddaughter. I am looking forward to building them their first tree house someday soon.