Photography and Dance: As a teenager, the artist, writer had photography exhibitions at two New York Galleries and various other venues. Kellin studied briefly with Martha Graham and danced professionally at age sixteen. He became a pioneer in the evolving mambo dance scene and was recognized as one of the first pure mambo dancers in the country. The dance team, Don and Terry, opened for a number of headliners including Tony Bennett..
Industry: During his seventeen-year insurance career with The Massachusetts Indemnity and Life, Kellin, at age twenty nine, became the youngest officer in the almost 200 year-old history of his company. His management approach, techniques and training methods increased the company’s volume exponentially and impacted the industry. He retired in 1976.
Kellin came out of retirement to partner a boyhood buddy and create Cabinet Masters of California in 1977. The company grew from its 300 square foot room rented from a local kitchen manufacturer, to the nation’s largest regional kitchen remodeling company occupying 30, 000 feet under roof and remodeling a hundred kitchens a week. By the time the company was sold in 1995, it boasted 56,000 customers.
Consulting and Mentoring: In the ‘80s and early ‘90’s, Kellin did corporate consulting on employer/employee relations and management techniques. He lectured weekly at high schools, particularly in less affluent areas, focusing on students who were going right into the work force out of necessity. A series of motivational essays about using work primarily as a tool for self-discovery, increasing self-esteem and reaching ones potential, many taken from his ‘Work For Yourself No Matter Who You Work For, although unpublished at the time, found their way into the hearts and minds of hundreds of students and changed their outlook and destiny. Some of those essays will be published on this site along with other observations.
Writing: Kellin concentrates on writing as a full time pursuit. The Rockaway Boys and Maggie,’ his first novel, was optioned for a film by Director Mark Rydell. Kellin was one of the oldest new writers invited into the Playwright’s Unit of the Actors Studio in 2003. His new play, ‘Damaged Goods,’ has found a producer, Excerpts from his new novel,, Van Courtland Park, can be read on his website along with short fiction, essays ranging from motivational to travel, magazine articles, political blogs and a gallery of fine art photographs.
Where to find Don Kellin online
Where to buy in print
The Rockaway Boys and Maggie
by Don Kellin
Published: June 17, 2013.
Rockaway Beach, NY, the few days between Labor Day, 1943 and the start of school back in the city. The east coast is vulnerable to spies launched from Nazi U Boats. After a lousy summer, Donny Becker, Ben Kaplan, and Maggie McCrane vow to do “something that counts.” They’ll have a great adventure that will save New York, and affect the war effort, their country, the world.
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