My first day on the job at the Builders Exchange of Louisville was September 20, 1971.  I had just earned my MBA at the University of Louisville in August and found a job posting at the U of L Placement Office for the position at Builders Exchange. I, of course, had never heard the word “construction” mentioned anytime during my years in college and did not know the first thing about it.  In college, we talked about banking, manufacturing, wholesaling, finance, etc. but never once even mentioned the word “construction”.  What kind of a strange world had I entered?  I was to have three months on the job with my predecessor Jim Snyder before he retired at the end of that year, but he suffered health problems in my second week on the job and never made it back to the office.  What was I to do now?

Well, some forty years later, here I sit trying to write a farewell message.  I first thought of the possibility of retiring in January of 2010 when the Board of Directors asked at a strategic planning session if I had any plans of retiring anytime soon. The thought had never really crossed my mind but that question did start me to thinking about the possibility.  In July of 2010, I did finally decide to retire at the end of this year. I turned sixty-five in September of this year and marked forty years of employment with Builders Exchange that same month.  It just seemed to be a good time but it was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make.  I compare this eminent departure to leaving one’s family.

A lot of water has indeed gone over the dam during these past 40 years and I am so very proud of what we have accomplished as an organization over these many years.  We have gone from a small, mostly local, and relatively unknown organization with three staff members to the largest commercial construction association in the state with a thousand members and a staff of fifteen.  We own our two buildings in Louisville and Lexington and we are the recognized leader in the industry in so many respects.

The accomplishments we have made over these years are due in large part to a lot of hard work.  We have always been fortunate to have excellent people serve on our Board, and our staff is phenomenal. It is because of their dedication and contributions that we are who we are today.  It is also because of great members and other industry figures including you who have supported us over all these years.

We all understand and realize the challenging economy we are in today and truly hope and pray that better times are on the near horizon.  We have seen our members suffer for far too long in these past few years. Despite the economic hardships that most everyone is facing, I truly believe that the Builders Exchange is stronger now than ever before and that we are poised to attain even greater heights in the years to come.

It has been a privilege for me to help guide the Exchange during these past forty plus years and I do anticipate staying connected in some form to this great organization and industry for some years to come.  

I want to extend my warmest personal regards to you and wish for you the best of health and happiness in the years ahead.

John Kelly


  1. Walter Melnyk says:

    Good morning John,
    I’ve known you since 1973 when I first entered your building as an estimator for Western Drywall. You are absolutely correct in stating that a lot or water has flowed over the dam. Looking back, I would never have thought of the events that have taken place and the effect on life. You’ve done an outstanding job in your position and have served our industry through many ups and downs.
    You retiring has the same effect as losing a friend. I will miss your friendly greetings, your smile and your demeanor,but not your friendship.
    Good luck, good fortune and good health to a true gentleman whom I will miss.
    Thank you for all you have done for our industry,

    Walter Melnyk

  2. Jeff Brown says:

    John: I thoroughly enjoyed reading the history of BX. Your leadership has made it possible to become the valuable resource it is to so many of us. Best wishes for an enjoyable retirement. I look forward to hearing all about your “new” experiences!

    Jeff Brown, Garrett-Stotz Company

  3. Adam C. Mitchell says:


    I coulnd’t agree with your statements more! Builders Exchange has been a staple in this community for the construction industry for so many years. You, The Builders Exchange, and the services you provide, are a vital part of our business and have contributed to the growth of our business as well! Continued success to you in your retirement! You will be sorely missed.


    Adam C. Mitchell
    Executive Vice President, M&M Interiors

  4. Scott Snowden says:

    John: It has been great working with you over the past years. You have been a great example for many people by demonstrating your hard work and your commitment to always maintaining integrity. Best wishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: