Pacesetter – Geist Half President Leaves a Wake of Community Committment
Most of us try to do the best job we can just to keep up in our hectic daily routine of life. We try to stay ahead of the competition in our career, coping with long hours and learning new technology. We attempt to balance the demands of family, focusing on our kids and their activities. And then there are some in their spare time, who try to help give back to the community because they know it’s the right thing to do. Yet there’s a select few who have excelled way beyond the call of duty in all these areas of life reaching their pinnacle of excellence. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting one such exemplary individual—Matt Troyer, a Geist resident who makes it look rather easy achieving these goals with grace, dignity, loyalty, and confidence.
Currently, Matt is president of the Geist Half Marathon Inc. (www.geisthalf.com). In fact, he was one of its founding members. Before he stepped up to help Geist Half, he was president of Prevail (www.prevailinc.com) for eight years after serving on the board for two. Furthermore, he served on the Board of Directors and Executive Board of the Hamilton Southeastern Foundation (HSSF) for three years. In short, if there is a Geist-area charity with far-reaching impact, Matt has probably served on its board. In addition to helping in the community, Matt is a corporate attorney and partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.
“Matt is a talented attorney who graciously donates his skills and time to many community organizations,” says Eileen Pritchard, former Fishers Town Council member. “The time and energy he put into the Prevail Board, and his service on Town Boards, is a model for serving your community.” Incidentally, he served on the Town of Fishers Board of Zoning Appeals and Town of Fishers Redevelopment Commission.
Actions that Prevail
Prevail is a program providing assistance to victims of crime and abuse in Hamilton and surrounding counties. Beth Gehlhausen, founder of Prevail Inc., can not say enough good things about Matt.
“He is a wonderful man who cares about his community. He grew to really understand the organization and had a deep commitment to the people we served which doesn’t always happen with board members. Matt worked tirelessly, was very engaged and passionate about helping Prevail. He was always very organized which was a big plus with our fundraising efforts and his negotiating skills were a huge part of resolving an obstacle that arose when securing a large gift.”
With the funds from this large gift, Matt went one step further. He created a foundation. He says, “It was very important to me that we use this multimillion dollar gift to achieve long-term sustainability for Prevail. I was concerned that if we didn’t, the money would just be spent in a relatively short term.”
“When I think of Matt, what stands out are his leadership skills and his compassion for the people that Prevail serves,” says Glenda Garrison, former Board of Director for Prevail. ”It’s such a small world. Even before I met Matt, I actually knew his wife, Kim, first. She was my son’s third grade teacher in Carmel. And my son loved her.”
His Time with Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation Still Lives On
The HSSF provides scholarships and teacher grants within the Hamilton Southeastern district. One of Matt’s main achievements was implementing the ExactTarget email system which enables communicating with parents throughout the year.
“Matt is a visionary and strategist, very skilled with volunteer driven organizations,” says Tim Calvert, past president of HSSF. He continues, “Matt consistently brings a business minded approach focused squarely on organizational development and improvement. The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation has benefited greatly from his leadership and partnership efforts with the Foundation and the Geist Half Marathon.”
Although he may not currently be on the HSSF board, his efforts with raising funds through GHM are certainly paying off well as HSSF benefits from every dollar raised by the Geist Half Marathon.
Backtracking His Path
Growing up in Carmel, Matt attended Carmel High School where he played several sports including running cross country. As a student there, he probably never dreamed he would someday become one of the founders and president of the Geist Half Marathon. He also probably never thought he would find his future wife, but he did. He started dating Kim during his senior year and they were both on the prom court.
After earning a business degree (accounting) at Miami University, he worked for Deloitte & Touche for three years before going to law school at Indiana University. He and his high school sweetheart got married and eventually built a home in the Springs of Cambridge at Geist.
Matt would go running within the neighborhood and think to himself about what a perfect setting Geist would be for a community race. Coincidentally, he happened to read an article in the Geist Community Newsletter about how others were going to meet at Burd Ford to start planning the inaugural Geist Half Marathon.
Going an Extra Mile for Geist Half Marathon and in Perfect Time
During the early stages of planning, we needed a new lawyer to volunteer and help us,” recalls Tom Britt, publisher of the Geist Community Newsletter and a founding member of the Geist Half Marathon. “The attorney who had been helping us early on was leaving for another job in Texas on a Friday. That same day, I got a phone call from Matt saying that he wanted to help out. I told him, ‘Matt your timing is impeccable.’”
Tom admires many things about Matt, like how he donated so much of his time and legal work behind the 501c3 application. Due to his efforts, Matt and his firm saved the Geist Half thousands of dollars.
“He’s a true turnaround artist,” Tom added. “A couple years ago, we faced the worst race financially we had experienced. Matt stepped in as president, and as a result, the Geist Half had our most profitable year yet in 2012. He’s been a linchpin in the success of our growth and our organization’s success.”
His Visions Became Real
“When I took over the board, I had two visions,” says Matt. “My first vision was to put on a great event that people would want to come back to year in and year out, one that the community could be proud of and that the participants would want to make an annual event, not just a one time deal. The second vision I had, was to raise absolutely as much as money as we possibly could for the schools.”
His visions have become a reality. With the $80,000 netted in last year’s race, a total of $60,000 was donated to the HSE and Lawrence schools. The remaining balance was assigned to the Geist Half Marathon Grant Program, empowering teachers or parent volunteers who wish to organize a health and wellness initiative for local children. The applicants must live in Marion, Hamilton, or Hancock counties and the application is on the Geist Half Marathon website.
Matt explains, “With the help of our talented board, our main focus this year is to institutionalize the processes so that the race will not be dependent on those of us who started it.” Tom, now Executive Director of the Geist Half adds, “We want this event to live way past us so that our grand kids can run this race and extend the valuable memories.”
On the Home Front
Matt manages to find time for his family and other organizations. He has been a travel soccer coach for the Fishers Soccer Club, coaching teams for both of his kids, Clay, a seventh grader at HSE Junior High and Emily, a sophomore at Cathedral.
Since Matt gives back to the community so eagerly it’s not surprising that his wife, Kim Troyer, also contributes her time. Her main community involvement is at the Christamore House Guild, where she is also a member. She also volunteers with the Geist Half wherever she is needed such as with handing out flyers, filing in at packet pick-up, or delivering coffee to early morning volunteers on race day. She is also active with the Fishers Soccer Club, serving as a team manager for many years. Kim, a realtor, has worked as an independent broker for 13 years. As of last year, she has joined Keller Williams and is enjoying her new affiliation. She says, “It’s a great group of people to work with.”
At only 42 years of age, Matt has accomplished a lifetime of achievements. While his friends and associates at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, the Town of Fishers, Prevail Inc., Hamilton Southeastern School Foundation, and Geist Half Marathon all rave about Matt, perhaps his biggest fans are at home. His wife Kim admires his ability to approach all facets of life in a creative way.
“The best way to sum up how I feel about Matt is that he is a great support network whether it is for his friends, his family, co-workers, or those that he volunteers with for Geist Half or any of the other boards.”