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United Methodist churches in South Carolina have a new ally to turn to for help when they are ready to expand or build new facilities.

Ritch O’Kelly, a member of Simpsonville United Methodist Church, is retired after working for four decades as a structural engineer, project manager, division manager and program manager.

He now wants to leverage that experience to help United Methodist churches as a volunteer program manager, assisting churches that need a hand in planning and developing capital projects.

“I have been blessed in so many ways over the years,” O’Kelly said. “Now that I am retired, I have the opportunity to share my God-given talents with others.

“I feel that now it is my opportunity to help others in my area of expertise.”

O’Kelly worked for 40 years for O’Neal Inc., the Greenville industrial engineering and construction firm. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The Citadel and his master’s degree in engineering from the University of Florida.

He led Simpsonville UMC’s Building Committee when it built its Christian Life Center, and he was a member of that committee when the church built its current sanctuary. He has held numerous other leadership positions at the church, where he has been a member since 1978.

O’Kelly is offering assistance in these areas:

  • Planning and determining requirements for facility.
  • Finding financial support.
  • Identifying and hiring an architect or engineering consultant.
  • Offering advice during building committee meetings.
  • Identifying appropriate contractors to perform the construction.
  • Selecting the appropriate contractor after bids are received.
  • Provide timely visits during the construction process to validate the contractor is following the plans and specifications.

O’Kelly can be reached at 864-230-5396 or


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