Following a secondary education at Methodist College, Belfast, McKelvey graduated from Queen's University, Belfast with a degree in Economics and Accounting. During his years at Queen's McKelvey acted in the University Dramatic Society production for the Belfast Arts Festival, edited the University News Magazine and was elected Treasurer of the Students' Union. McKelvey's powerful debating style resulted in his appearing in almost 30 television programmes during this time. After university McKelvey joined RMC Plc. on their graduate management development programme having spent a summer vacation working in their accounts department. He stayed for ten years with RMC being promoted through a variety of management positions in Operations, Sales and Marketing. These jobs were located mainly in Belfast and London but time was also spent in the Paris, Dusseldorf, Milan, Vienna and Dublin offices. Before resigning in 1978 McKelvey had been Acting General Manager in Northern Ireland.
After leaving RMC, McKelvey set up his own ready-mix concrete business near Belfast. Through time this business expanded into plant sales, builders' merchants, pre-cast concrete, quarrying, specialist sub-contracting and cast stone.In 1994 Enterprise Equity Ltd., an Irish based venture capital fund, acquired 15% of the ordinary shares in a new holding company which was incorporated to acquire McKelvey's business interests.
McKelvey was elected Chairman of one regional and two UK national trade associations. He was also elected Chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry plus a number of other sporting and charitable bodies.
In the 1990s McKelvey recognised there were constraints on further growth of his business. This realisation coupled with an unsolicited offer of employment from The Euroventure Group Ltd., a leading UK business consultancy, led to McKelvey leaving the building materials industry in 1995 to head up the Euroventure Export Marketing Programmes Division as Chief Executive.
During McKelvey's three and a half years with Euroventure there were many significant achievements. Apart from a most acceptable operating profit these also included the award of a £3.3m consulting contract by the UK government's Training & Employment Agency, various negotiated export promotion contracts, the receipt of a National Training Award and the creation of an effective management team in the Glasgow, Leeds, Paris, Singapore and San Francisco offices.
McKelvey was elected to the Board of Directors of The Euroventure Group Ltd and served for a period as Managing Director.
In November 1998 The Euroventure Group Ltd merged with Taylor Davidson Ltd, a specialist sales training company to form Edge. Following the merger Edge carried out a strategic review, reduced its staff by over 50% and negotiated self-employed terms with key personnel. McKelvey was contracted to Edge, on a part-time basis, until June 2000.
In September 1999 McKelvey founded McKelvey Associates, a boutique training and consulting practice and also Clarke & Dawe, clothiers, tailors and shirtmakers trading in Belfast's premier shopping area, the Lisburn Road. Clarke & Dawe traded successfully until 2013 when, on the expiration of the lease on its premises, the business closed and all of the stock sold in a clearance sale.
In 2000 the training & consulting practice was awarded, inter alia, a 3-year contract by the Department of Finance and Personnel to manage the Leaders for Tomorrow Programme at Harvard University and a 2-year contract by the Department for Employment and Learning to manage the post-graduate Marriott International Hospitality Management Programme in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
In 2002 the Law Society in N Ireland introduced Continuing Professional Development requirements for solicitors. McKelvey Associates Ltd designed a range of seminars to meet these requirements and since then well over 1,600 solicitors in N Ireland have attended a Continuing Professional Development seminar run by McKelvey Associates Ltd.
In 2005 the Bar Council of Northern Ireland accredited the practice as a provider of CPD Programmes for barristers.
Other clients have included Glen-Dimplex, Boston College, Capita Group, Corporate Life Cycles and Prudential Assurance.
McKelvey is Chairman of the General Committee of Belfast Harlequins, the largest multi-sport club in Ireland which includes rugby, men's hockey, women's hockey, squash, bowls, bridge and has a facility-sharing arrangement with St Brigid's GAC. He is also Immediate Past President of the Methodist College Belfast Former Pupils Association.
He completed two years as the inaugural President of the Queen's Graduates' Association, the alumni association of his alma mater, which was formed in 2003 by merging the Queen's University Association with the Queen's Women's Graduates Association. He has been a Board Member of The Friends of Queen's University Belfast North America Inc. McKelvey has sat on the Committee of the Deramore & Bladon Residents Association, a community-based organisation in South Belfast. He has acted as a mentor to the Young Enterprise Company of Methodist College Belfast.
In his spare time McKelvey is a Volunteer Fund Raiser for the Masiphumelele Trust which has the over-riding aim to improve the lives of 38,000+ people living in the Masiphumelele Township which is situated in the Cape Peninsula roughly half way between Fish Hoek and Kommetjie and 30 minutes' drive from Cape Town. The Trust assists with
-bringing the standards of township creches up to the level required for government registration,
-raising the educational standards in Ukhanyo Primary School by providing improved classroom facilities and developing teachers in post.
-assisting those who are qualified for, but can't afford, tertiary education with loans and mentoring.
-providing finance and advice for budding entrepreneurs in their township based micro-businesses.
He has sailed in the Fairy class at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and played golf (seldom and badly) at Malone Golf Club.
McKelvey is a member of Mensa, the high IQ society.
Divorced with two grown up daughters, Rebecca and Nicola and three beautiful grand children, Lucy, Sophie May and Harry, McKelvey lives with his partner Anne in South Belfast.
Alan McKelvey is founder & principal of McKelvey Associates
Alan McKelvey with his daughter Nicola and George Mitchell, former US Senator, Middle East peace envoy and then Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast.