As the Vice President of Purchasing for MasterCraft Builder Group, Seth Kelley brings with him a diverse set of skills and experiences in the homebuilding industry. A key member of our team since June of 2018, we asked Seth to sit down with us and tell us a bit about his professional background, what he loves about working for MasterCraft Builder Group and what he spends his free time doing (spoiler alert – collecting license plates is one of Seth’s hobbies!).
Tell us a bit about your background.
I was born in Ohio, but moved around quite a bit due to my father’s work in cable television construction. We lived in seven different states/territories until I went into the 5th grade, though I do consider Rhode Island to be the place where I grew up as we lived there the longest and that’s where I graduated high school.
Did you go on to college after that or straight to work?
I went to Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. It is a small liberal arts school affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. For anyone familiar with South Central Georgia, it is located outside Vidalia, between Macon and Savannah. It was there that I earned my BA in Political Science, as well as met my wife, Jodi.
How long have you been in Northeast Florida?
Combined, a total of 15 years. During the turbulent years after the housing crash, we lived in Orlando for six years before returning to Jacksonville late in 2015. It was a set of professional experiences there that I wouldn’t trade for anything, however, it made us really appreciate how great our area of the state is.
What are some of your day-to-day and long-term responsibilities at MasterCraft?
Every day in our business, and at MasterCraft, is always a little different than the previous one – especially now. My primary role is the specification of products as well as the sourcing of materials and labor that it takes to build homes for our customers. This involves conversations with multiple parties, research, lead follow-up, networking and probably most critical, problem-solving. Whether that be finding a new product to replace an unavailable one, working with a new contractor because we’ve outgrown the capability of an existing one or answering questions regarding a product or service we’ve not used before. Longer-term, I see my role as being key to making sure that we are consistently and constantly providing our customers value in what they spend with us and what they entrust in us, to build homes for their families.
What do you enjoy about working at MasterCraft?
The camaraderie and being empowered to do what’s right and just, whether it be for a customer, a fellow employee or for the people and companies that work for us.
What do you enjoy about working with Founder and CEO Chris Shee and President Brad Shee?
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Chris for almost two decades now and have gotten to know Brad due to working closely with him since coming onboard with MasterCraft close to four years ago. I can tell you that between the two of them, they are some of the hardest working and playing, passionate and caring people I’ve ever worked with. It is genuine, and that, in and of itself, is so rare that it motivates me, and our team, to do better every day.
What is it about the home building industry that you’re passionate about or find interesting?
I love being innovative, but not innovative for its own sake, but when it leads to value for our customers or problem-solving for our Construction or Sales Teams, that’s what gets me going. Aside from innovation, I like to understand things, sometimes to a nauseating amount of detail, but if we’re going to commit company resources to something, or if I am going to ask someone to do something, I want to make sure that it will work for everyone.
Tell me about the awards/accolades that you have won.
- National Association of Home Builders – Life Spike
- Greater Orlando Builder Association – Builder Spike of the Year 2014
- St. Johns Builders Council – Builder of the Year 2019
Tell me about any titles or appointments at industry groups or nonprofits that you currently hold.
Currently, I am chair of the St. Johns Builders Council for 2022 and also serve on the board of the Northeast Florida Builders Association. Both organizations are dedicated to the support and advocacy of home building in our region, as well as to the promotion of charitable causes where we can make the most impact.
Tell me a bit more about your hobbies and family.
I’m a bit of a history buff, and due in small part to having the ones from the places we lived when I was younger, my main collecting passion is license plates. Although over the years I’ve grown to collect a few different things and love to display them around our home. In regards to my family, I mentioned that my wife Jodi and I met in college, and actually, on our very first day of classes. She’s originally from Lake City, Florida, and both of us never planned originally on going to school there, but it turned out to be a great place for us for so many reasons.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found at a vintage shop?
Most recently? I’ve been reading books a lot more lately in the evening, as it has been a good escape from whatever the workday has brought. The history buff in me tends to lean towards military history, and I came across a book-themed around amateur artists in the Navy capturing on paper or canvas all sorts of things ranging from day-to-day life to combat. Not only is that interesting, but it was published during the war in 1942/43, so it’s not really common.
Learn more about the MasterCraft Builder Group Team!