Only the third female to earn the award in its local history, McKellar received the lifetime achievement award in the wake of her retirement last December.
After 24 years at Spartan, McKellar has relocated to Charleston, S.C., but returned to Grand Rapids to accept the award Feb. 9 at Cascade Hills Country Club.
“I see all the people in the room that I’ve known for so long and think that I haven’t seen them in a really, really long time,” she said. “Then I saw the pictures and I thought that those didn’t seem so long ago. Amazing how fast our lives go.”
McKellar was honored for her industry achievements as well as her contributions to Ad Club, Special Olympics, United Way and Junior Achievement.
“Years ago, I asked my mom to tell me everything she knew. I wanted to know what she knew then, so I didn’t have to wait until I was done with my career,” she said. “She told me that you just have to learn as life goes on.”
McKellar played prominent roles in Spartan’s progression through the public sector over the last quarter-century, according to Spartan’s Karen Streitel, who nominated McKellar.
“She ran the advertising department for 18 years and was company spokesperson even,” Streitel said.
“She was always thinking out of the box, keeping people motivated and moving forward.”