Mark Kelly is the publisher of Weld for Birmingham, and he brings to the company a professional background and body of work that is broad in scope and based in his love of Birmingham and his commitment to helping his community fulfill its economic and human potential. He has written about the history, politics and culture of Birmingham and Alabama for most of the past quarter-century. He is the author of A Powerful Presence: The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the History of Birmingham, which the eminent Alabama historian Leah Rawls Atkins called “the best narrative history we have of the city and region.” Kelly also authored Toward a New Birmingham, a monograph on the life and times of Birmingham’s first African-American mayor, Richard Arrington, Jr., published originally in the Birmingham Weekly. Currently, he is at work on a project focused on the history of Birmingham since the Civil Rights Movement.
Kelly began his professional career in 1987 as director of public relations for the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board, a position he held until 1993. After a short stint as a freelance writer, he became a reporter and city editor for the alternative newsweekly Black & White.
From 1999-2003, Kelly was a senior advisor to Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid, and was director of the city’s Office of Public Information. In that position, he played key roles in formulating and implementing numerous critical initiatives. These included the campaign that resulted in the passage of the largest bond referendum in Birmingham history, and the creation of a successful public-private partnership (TechBirmingham) to promote and support the growth of technology-related industries in Birmingham and the surrounding region.
Kelly left the mayor’s office in 2003 to return to freelance writing, focusing primarily on his own projects. He also developed a small consultancy in specialized media and public relations services, serving clients in both the public and private sectors. Kelly interrupted his writing career in 2006 to serve as campaign manager for Patricia Todd, whose election to the Alabama House of Representatives made her the first openly gay elected official in Alabama history; Todd was re-elected without opposition in 2010. Today, in addition to his duties with Weld, Kelly continues to provide consulting services to a select group of clients.