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“Where Are They Now-David Kelley”

By Murray Gleffe, Sports Correspondent

David Kelley has come a long way in just 9 years. Kelley (2008 Ashwaubenon Graduate) played varsity soccer and tennis in high school his last three years. He was fortunate enough to make the state tennis tournament his last two years. He also was a member of the band (percussionist) during his time as a Jaguar. After High School, Kelley chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Kelley, “I went to Eau Claire for the sole reason of playing tennis. I really had no idea what I wanted to study. I ended up ultimately getting burned out with tennis and only played on the team my Freshman year. Eau Claire was an amazing experience where I met some life-long friends and also learned what I would end up pursuing in life. The truth is, if I didn’t attend that University, I am fairly confident I would not be where I am today.” 

Kelley ended up finding his niche and majored in Psychology and fell in love with it his last few years of college. After school was over, while working as an IT intern at a company in Appleton, WI, he decided that he wanted to attend graduate school. He had been accepted to Florida Institute of Technology earlier in the year, but took some time to make sure that’s the path he wanted to take after his bachelor degree. Kelley, “Graduate school was a leap of faith for me. I decided to accept a spot in the Organizational Behavior Management program at FIT. I packed up my car and drove 22 hours down to a place I had never been. I also did not know a single person there. It was a pretty big risk looking back, but one of the best decisions I ever made. I ended up meeting amazing colleagues in a field we all shared, while acquiring my Master of Science degree in just two and a half years. After my Master’s, I applied for a few PhD programs and ultimately had to make the decision of either staying in Florida or accepting a position at Western Michigan University. I chose to remain in Florida and pursue my PhD full-time. At the same time, I accepted a position working for a large health system where I have spent a majority of the last 4 years working with leaders of the organization to improve patient experience across the four hospitals in the system. I am finishing up my dissertation and hope to acquire my PhD this fall, and graduate in December.”

As busy as Kelley is, he still has time to play sports, go to the beach, or go up to Orlando to take in some of the sights (Universal Studios, Hiking, etc). He has called Melbourne, Florida his home for the past 4-5 years. However, when he comes back to Ashwaubenon he still likes the ”Midwestern Values” that Wisconsin offers. David Kelley has accomplished so very much in a short time frame. What does the potential future hold for him? Kelley, “ My long term goal is to become an established leadership expert (coach) in an organization.”

To show you how much David Kelley is in demand…a few hours before we talked, Kelley was offered a position as Director of Business Operations at a firm that specializes in providing behavioral services to children diagnosed with autism in California. He hasn’t accepted the position yet. Whether you are around David Kelley for a few minutes or on a daily basis, you will find somebody that has brought his ‘Ashwaubenon Aspirations’ down to South Florida. He is devoted to helping children with autism and other disabilities move forward in life. With his knowledge and patience, David Kelley has achieved things already that many aspire to in a lifetime. The sky is the limit, and I for one will be interested to see what the next chapter will bring. No doubt it will be for the good of the children, the community he is in, and for the Nation as a whole!    

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