Series: “Real People Know Matt.”

As supporters of Matt and his campaign for MSU Trustee, we thought it would be great if you could get to know him through unique perspectives. In this series we’re calling “Real People Know Matt,” we’re planning to show you how he has impacted our personal and professional lives. After all, it’s not all about policy and brains. Sometimes it’s best just to get to know the person. We hope you agree!

Read more in the series | Do you know Matt? Endorse him here!


Matt Clayson and Matthew Perry

Matt Clayson and Matt Perry, Childhood Friends

As long as I have known him, Matt has been interested in people, places and the nature of how they work together. As strange as it may sound, this curiosity made him a natural administrator; from the kinds of Nintendo games we played to the sprawling lego cities we meticulously planned, built and presided over.

Friends and Family

As children, together with our families, we toured the country in motorhomes. From the back of our parents’ modest RVs, we spent our summers exploring places and meeting people we never would have experienced otherwise. Discovering the beauty of our great nation and learning to respect those who aren’t quite like us; be it the way they talked, looked or lived.

The lessons learned growing up with a loving family in Grand Rapids have served him well. Drawing on his natural curiosity and his supportive background, Matt has achieved much in his 30-some years.

Matt Clayson (buried in sand) with Matt Perry and their two younger brothers at the beach.

Matt Clayson (buried in sand) with Matt Perry and their two younger brothers at the beach.

Working in legal, management and leadership roles throughout the region, he has helped establish successful startups, from Shinola and HelloWorld to Detroit Trading.

Together with College for Creative Studies, Matt has championed bringing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment to Michigan and Detroit.

All while serving actively on the boards of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, Culture Lab Detroit and The Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan.

These accomplishments have earned him titles and recognition from the likes of the German Marshall Fund, the Aspen Institute and the Atlantic Council.

Matt Clayson, Matt Perry and their younger brothers.

Matt Clayson, Matt Perry and their younger brothers.

My Humble Friend

And, yet, like any born-and-raised West Michigander, he remains humble.

He won’t be the first to brag about it, but Matt see’s goodness in people and institutions, even when others can’t. He moved into Detroit when others fled. Investing himself in his neighborhood and the city’s institutions. Helping plant the seeds of the healthy startup atmosphere now flourishing in the city.

All of this on top of finding and marrying an amazing partner, Kim Clayson, and raising two spectacular children together.

With his background and countenance, some may say that Matt was made for the the job of MSU Trustee.

I say he’s born for it.

Matthew Perry.

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