Shell joins Davidson County Board of Commissioners

Jul. 21, 2014 @ 12:37 PM

After methodically gaining the support of county residents and government officials, Steve Shell will now seek to bolster that momentum as commissioner.

Shell was sworn in as the newest member of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners during Thursday's informational meeting at the Davidson County Government Building. He will fill the seat vacated by longtime commissioner Billy Joe Kepley, who died from an apparent heart attack last month.

“It's something you can't really prepare yourself for,” Shell said. “It exemplifies a lot of trust people put in you. Billy Joe and I go back a lot of years, a lot of them before I decided to run for public office.

Everybody loved Billy Joe.

“What I want to do is honor his memory and carry on his legacy. You can't fill Billy Joe's shoes. You can't replace a person like that.”

Shell, who operates a bonding company with his wife, was the top vote getter in the May 6 primary and will serve the board three full months before the November general election. The ballot will include Shell, former GOP chairman Lance Barrett and incumbents Don Truell and Todd Yates, who face Rev. Derek Kelly, the sole Democratic candidate.

A graduate of North Forsyth High School, Shell moved to Davidson County in 1971 and attended Davidson County Community College. He worked for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office before becoming a bondsman.

District Court Judge April Wood did the honors of swearing in Shell, who has been a friend of the Wood family for years.

“Her dad was like a father to me,” Shell said. “It was an honor to have a person of her caliber – and a personal friend – swear me in.”

To hear Shell give his account of Kepley, it was the veteran official who set the bar for public service and inspired his campaign. He was also among the individuals Shell consulted regarding his interest in being a commissioner.

“He was a realist,” Shell said of his predecessor. “He tried to take a common-sense approach to politics in a way that was most beneficial for the county as a whole. At the same time, he had a way of reaching each individual.

“You've got a lot of people who are suffering. They're looking for people to put their trust in. Billy Joe was one of those people, and I want to continue his legacy.”

Shell is excited about the task at hand and is excited about the opportunity to help “market the county.” He outlined the first step of a plan he intends to implement in hopes of assisting economic development.

“One of my goals is to improve upon the way we market the county,” said Shell. “I think we have a lot of attributes, and I feel as though they're not being exhibited properly. Davidson County sits in the middle of a large metropolitan area, stretching from Mecklenburg County to Wake County. We have to find ways to capitalize on it.”

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3578, or at