The Star Press, September 20, 2018.
There’s variety in Matt Kelsey’s job, and that’s the way he likes it. There’s variety in his demeanor at a meeting, too.
“Matt’s personality is easygoing and is a calm influence at our meetings,” Angie Pool, chief executive officer of Cardinal Greenways, said in nominating Kelsey. “However, when needed Matt can turn on his lawyer persona, and he protects the Cardinal Greenway fabulously.”
Kelsey, 34, is an attorney for DeFur Voran. He also serves on the board of directors for the greenway, filling a seat that was occupied by a former attorney with the firm.
Kelsey was one of 20 people to be recognized by The Star Press and M Magazine in this year’s 20 Under 40 program, which honors people under the age of 40 making a difference in the community.
“Our firm has been a long supporter of the greenway. There was a retired attorney here named Dick Hughes who was a board member for many, many years. So when I came to practice in 2010, I think that may have been Dick’s last year of practice, so I quickly transitioned to take his board spot.”
His involvement in the greenway board matches his enthusiasm for this gem in the community.
“I think it’s one of the best assets Muncie and Delaware County has,” he said. “It’s over 60 miles of connected trails. It’s a board of good people, and it’s a good mission. I think it’s a great asset, and I have personally used the trail.”
Our 2018 20 Under 40 recipients answer the question, “why do you love Muncie?” Muncie Star Press
Kelsey grew up in Blackford County, graduating from Blackford High School in 2002. He went to Ball State University and graduated in 2006, and then went to law school at IU in Indianapolis, graduating in 2010.
While in law school, Kelsey spent summers working as a clerk at DeFur Voran, starting in May 2008. He took the bar exam in the summer of 2010 and was officially admitted as an attorney in October 2010. He became a partner with the firm in January 2017.
“I started out, and like any young associate, you do whatever anybody tells you to do,” he said. “I started out with largely general practice. I did some estate planning, did some real estate work, and anything and everything our firm handles. After a few years, the firm needs and I guess my strengths pushed me to where about half of my time is civil litigation now.
“Basically, it’s a scholarship process where kids have to apply and write an essay, and then we have judges that select winners from each school,” he said, explaining that the group names one scholarship winner from each Delaware County school, and then an overall winner.
Kelsey and his wife, Anna, have two children: Elle, 2.5, and Alec, 5 months. They are content and happy in Muncie.
“It’s home to me, it’s home to my family,” he said. “I grew up in Blackford County, but we came to Muncie to eat, and to have fun, and my wife went to Wes-Del High School, so most of our immediate family is local here.
What he says:
What is your favorite spot in Muncie: “Food-wise, it’s Amazing Joe’s and BW3s. The Cardinal Greenway is a phenomenal asset to this community. So whenever we’re trying to find someplace to go on a nice day, the greenway is a spot that we usually end up on.”
How would you describe yourself: “Hard working. Honest. Diligent. Respectful. Quiet.”
Where are we most likely to find you on a Saturday morning: “At home, with my family. Catching up on mowing, or cleaning gutters, or picking up the house from a 2 ½-year-old tornado that’s run through it all week. I really try to make Saturday, even Sunday, family time. The work week is demanding enough.”
What is one unusual thing you keep in your work space: “I’ve got a dead citrus tree, that’s been dead for about a year. My wife got a lemon tree and I got a lime tree, or vice versa, and we had a little competition on who’s would do better. Mine lived about a month. Hers is still living.”
Who has been a big influencer in your life: “My parents were obviously a huge influence growing up, and getting me through college and law school. My wife is a huge influence now, because she lets me do the career thing and she stays home and takes wonderful care of our kids, and gives them better care than I would ever imagine.”