But his colleagues say his commitment runs deeper. If there's a problem to tackle, Kelly is ready and willing to volunteer even if it means weekends or evenings.
"Phil Kelly is there not only when you need him; he goes where help is needed and he does it without being asked," said Charles Sekula, Chamber member and owner of the Schmankerl Stube restaurant in Hagerstown.
Sekula said Kelly has never turned him down when he asked for a favor.
"I have trouble saying no," Kelly said.
Kelly said he's always liked being part of the action. He was valedictorian of Williamsport High School's Class of 1976.
While he was working for Allegheny Power in the 1980s, he began what could be called a second career as a community volunteer.
He belongs to more than a dozen organizations and holds leadership roles in four of them, including Leadership Hagerstown Board, Maryland Symphony Orchestra Board and Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation.
Kelly is on the board of directors of the Chamber and, over the years, has contributed to the organization in countless small and large ways, Teeter said.
As a classical music buff, Kelly had the idea of celebrating Mozart's birthday while raising money for a worthy cause. The "Mozart nights" at the Schmankerl Stube raised money toward the development of a downtown arts and entertainment district, Teeter said.
As chairman of the Chamber's government affairs committee from 2000 to 2002, Kelly made the legislative forums more instructive, encouraging dialogue between Chamber members and elected officials, Teeter said.
Kelly even took on the unglamorous job of revising the Chamber's policy manual.
"That's an unheralded, thankless job and he did it," Teeter said.
Kelly possesses the rare ability to bring up the right issue or ask the right question at the right time, Teeter said.
"He's a logical, influential voice for the Chamber," Teeter said.
Kelly downplays his talent, saying that it takes a diverse group of people to get things accomplished.
"There are times you need someone to kick butt and take names. I'm not that kind of person," he said.
Kelly said he learned a lot from watching Mike Callas in action. The construction company owner and community volunteer is almost legendary for his ability to engage people to action.
At the same time, Kelly said he likes to inject a little fun into everything he does.
"You shouldn't get an award for having as much fun as I do," he said.
As master of ceremonies for the A-B-C Adult Team Spelling Challenge, Kelly injects some humor into the contest by coming up with funny fake definitions for words, said The Herald-Mail's Michele Wills, who organizes the event to raise money for the Newspaper in Education program.
"Phil makes the spelling bee," she said. "Phil's very well liked in the community and he has a sarcastic wit people seem to like."
Most of Kelly's good friends, including Sekula and Wills, are people he has met through his volunteer work.
When Kelly joins an organization he believes is worthwhile, he stays with the group.
"I'm loyal like a puppy," he said, displaying a bit of his trademark self-deprecating humor. "When I see an organization I think is worthwhile, I don't mind spending some of my time helping out."
Kelly also delights in having the distinction of being the only unemployed Chamber president-elect. At the time, he had just left his job at Allegheny Power and had not yet been hired by Citicorp.
Kelly feels modest about winning the award.
"I'd rather just do my thing and get away with it quietly," he said with a laugh.
But he's also humbled to see his name on a list with those of people he admires.
"They are the very people who are my heroes, and to think I'm on the same list is kind of weird," he said.