March 26, 2009

McKelvey continues tradition

By Brenda L. Shelkey

When Roger McKelvey was 15 or 16 years old, he spent many hours in the Underwood Body Shop, visiting with the owners, George Werre and Duane Fischer, asking questions and watching the two men work. McKelvey knew then that doing body work was something he wanted to do for a living. He admits, "I may have driven them a bit crazy with all of my questions." It was their influence that set McKelvey on the path that led him through 20-plus years of working in the automotive industry and back home again to purchase the Underwood Body Shop from Clayton Ruff. Effective March 16, McKelvey became the new owner of his own body shop. He said, "It’s what I was interested in – what I liked to do." Before McKelvey graduated from Underwood High School in 1983, he spent hours visiting with Werre and Fischer. Both men continued to mentor McKelvey, giving him advice and helping him out. McKelvey said, "When I got my first body job, George did a budget for me. They were good guys. Not everyone would have let me buy sand paper and paint to work on my own projects." McKelvey worked out of his dad’s garage as a teenager, often waiting for Werre to stop by on his way to and from the body shop to give him pointers on how to do something better even though he didn’t have fancy equipment to work with. With their encouragement, McKelvey graduated from Wahpeton with his two-year degree in auto body. From there he followed his adventurous side and took a job out of state, working at Pierson Ford, in Aberdeen, South Dakota for eight years.



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