Meet the Expert: Jerry Kelley

To anyone else, a project is over the moment the construction crew packs up and leaves the site for the last time. To Jerry Kelley, however, that’s when a project truly comes alive.
“It’s more than just putting up a structure and walking away,” said Kelly, a general labor foreman. “Once it’s done, I like seeing the people who will be using the building and the satisfaction on their faces when they see what we’ve built.”

Kelley grew up in Seattle and has been with Sellen since 1994. He knew from an early age that he wanted to work outside and use his hands, so construction was a natural fit for him.

A gifted leader, Kelley is known by his coworkers for adopting the mission of the client as his own, best exemplified by a recent experience at Seattle Children’s Hospital Building Hope project, when he took “Where’s Waldo” off the page and onto the job site.

For two years, he arrived at work an hour early to set up a manikin dressed as Waldo, the character from the children’s book series, somewhere on the job site. Children at the adjacent hospital, who had an excellent view of the project, would look out their window each morning to try and find Waldo.

“I loved seeing those kids look out the window each day. Every day you looked up and knew exactly why you were building this project,” Kelly said. “When you can see the people that will be in the building and feel their heart in the project — those are the jobs I look forward to the most.”

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