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Kelly Cline – Work Ethic Scholarship Recipient, HVAC Bound

Kelly Cline - 1Meet Kelly Cline. As a kid, he loved to draw. He also loved cars. His dad owned a junkyard that had its own automotive pit where he would work on cars all the time. It was just a hobby for his dad but Kelly’s brother, Kevin was inspired enough to become a mechanic. Not Kelly. He got himself a degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communications. He was working as a graphic designer in Mesa, Arizona when his wife got accepted to the nursing program at the The University of South Dakota . So Kelly left that job and he and his wife moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

At 37, Kelly had pretty much given up on graphic design. As he told me, “I could draw anything I saw, but I had trouble creating original stuff.” So he wound up doing lots of different jobs in Sioux Falls; Restaurant Manager; FedEx delivery driver; an Insurance Underwriter in a call center. It was there that Kelly knew he wanted to do something different.

“Working in the call center, I got tired of getting yelled at by customers constantly for something completely out of my control.”

The job wasn’t fulling and he felt no sense of value. At the end of the day, it was just a job. Kelly wanted a career. Since Kelly’s brother was a mechanic and he had such a love for cars, I asked him why he didn’t look into an automotive career. Kelly said, “The investment. It’s not just the cost of school, but the tools as well.” Ironically it was his brother that talked him out of pursuing automotive and into a career in HVAC. With HVAC, Kelly wouldn’t have to purchase his own tools. He could work for a company that would provide them.

Kelly started researching technical colleges and scholarships. He said, “At my age it’s tough to find a scholarship that is not designated for a traditional college student.”Kelly Cline - 2

Thankfully the #mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship Program didn’t care how old Kelly was. He applied and was accepted. He used his scholarship to pursue HVAC at Southeast Tech . So far it’s working out pretty well. Kelly said, “I knew that if given the opportunity to go back and learn a skilled trade, I would make the most of it.” Kelly did. He’s carrying a 4.0 GPA and plans to graduate in May.

“I think at my age now, I appreciate an education more than I ever did at age 18.”

Kelly still loves cars though. Check out the 1923 T-Bucket he’s building.


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