As a child growing up in Melbourne, Matt Williams was fascinated by growth in the area. He watched his dad, Mike, founder of MH Williams Construction, raise building after building, and witnessed his dad’s passion for seeing a project through from start to finish. But what intrigued Matt the most was figuring out where the job originated. “Who was constructing these buildings and why did they choose to build there?” he wondered. That thought process led him to a career as a partner in the local commercial real estate development and investment firm, Matthew Development.
“I love the process and vision it takes to see a street corner, empty tract of land or even an old building and then re-imagine it for the betterment of the local economy and community,” Matt explained. “It is especially motivating when the community it benefits is where my wife and I were both raised and where we are now raising our family as well.”
Matt and his wife, Christie Upton Williams, met in seventh grade as students at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy and graduated with the school’s second senior class in 2004. Holy Trinity’s Upper School, its second campus near the Pineda Causeway and U.S. Hwy 1, was completed in 2000, and with that expansion came high school athletics. Matt made history as Holy Trinity’s first-ever football quarterback.
Matt and Christie weren’t high school sweethearts but stayed in touch over the years and began dating after college. After high school, Matt attended The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a B.S. in Economics with a major in Real Estate. He worked in real estate development in Tampa for many years before he and Christie returned to Melbourne in 2014.
Today, the couple’s oldest daughter, Millie, is a rising first grader at Holy Trinity. Their youngest daughter, Rae, will join her big sister as a preschooler in 2022. Matt’s niece, Preston, is also a kindergartner at “HT”. It’s especially meaningful for the couple to have their children and extended family together at the same school that they and their siblings attended – Matt’s siblings, Andrea and Michael Jr. Williams, and Christie’s siblings, Laura, Kate and David Upton all attended HT. Matt also met his business partner, Danny Renfro, there.
“It’s important for us to have our children in an academically-challenging environment that reflects Christian values, so Holy Trinity was the perfect fit,” Matt explained. “Sometimes it’s a bit surreal to go through several of the same traditions and activities as the parent rather than the student. I’ve loved taking them to a few football games!”
Having little girls means “a lot of singing and dancing, cannon balls in the pool, jump rope and imaginary nail salons,” said the dad of two, but “the best part about being a dad is the unconditional love we share. Being a ‘daddy’ has been one of the most rewarding experiences I could ever imagine. Seeing the world from their eyes motivates me every day to be the best father and husband possible.”
For Matt, part of being the best father possible means creating a thriving community for his children. His first project with Matthew Development was bringing Wawa to the corner of Pineda and Wickham, which raised the bar for convenience stores and delis throughout the county. His work will also bring a much-needed Publix to Indialantic this summer. “It is exciting and rewarding to have a hand in developing the Melbourne area. Major national brands want to open stores here and we are happy to help them. It is a true testament to the continued upward trajectory of our community. The future is bright for the Space Coast and I’m excited to be a part of this growth, while always keeping the heart of the community in mind.”
Shawna Lucas (formerly Kelsch) has lived and worked in Brevard county for the past 20 years, serving in a variety of jobs and community service roles. She’s a former food and news reporter for Florida today, and was owner/operator of a marketing company that assisted clients and partners such as the Florida Healthcare Coalition, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation for Florida, The Brevard Health Alliance, and Florida Tech to identify and solve pressing community health issues. She has she has dual bachelors degrees in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Miami, and was an inaugural fellow at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.