March 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Law: Motorcycles: Iowa City Press Citizen: Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems

Peace Corps Online: State: Iowa: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Iowa : March 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Law: Motorcycles: Iowa City Press Citizen: Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems

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Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems

 Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems

Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems

'Sixth sense' leads home

Travels point attorney to current roles

By Kristen Schorsch
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Caption: Iowa City lawyer Matthew Hayek sits in his office. Hayek is chairing two committees that are helping determine funding of local low-income housing. Press-Citizen / Jason A. Cook

This feature profiles people making significant contributions to their profession or community. To suggest a newsmaker, call 337-3181.

He's lived in a Mexican convent with 25 nuns, eaten with an indigenous family on a Bolivian mountain 16,000 feet above sea level and wished President Jimmy Carter "Merry Christmas" when he was 10 years old.

After years of traveling and living outside the Hawkeye state, Matthew Hayek is happy to be back in his hometown. Now he's trying to balance being an attorney and chairing two committees that are helping determine the fate and funding of low-income housing in Iowa City.

"I have a fulfilling life," said Hayek, 35, his back to a colorful framed Bolivian blanket in his Washington Street office. "I'm glad actually that I took the road less traveled."

Growing up in Iowa City, Hayek was brought up in a civic-minded family. His grandfather was a local military leader, a city councilor and started the law firm Hayek is now a partner in. His father was a city attorney for Iowa City. His mother was an Iowa City School Board president.

The City High alumnus left for the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, where he worked with fellow college Democrats and spent a summer volunteering to help children in rural Mexico. That experience, Hayek said, influenced his decision toward a life of service.

After graduating in 1992, he joined the Peace Corps and left for Bolivia where he spent two years riding a Suzuki 185 dirt bike from village to village, helping develop safe drinking water systems. Then he returned to Michigan for law school.

"I think the law has great potential to effect good and is something I revere," Hayek said. "It's a system that is sometimes slow, but ultimately it does work and resolves conflict."

He considered working for the state department or with international trade in Washington, D.C. He had a vision of returning to South America to practice law. Hayek opted for a large, private firm in Atlanta, then one in Chicago, working on various cases from patent trademark infringements to sports law.

What prompted his move back to Iowa City was a "sixth sense," he said. He watched his colleagues and thought about what life would be like five, maybe 10 years down the road. He wanted to be involved in the community.

"And I didn't see people that were all that happy," Hayek said. "I realized it wasn't how I wanted to live my life."

He's been back in Iowa City since 2001, helping campaign for the John Kerry presidential ticket and forming closer relationships with clients than he said he could in a big city. He also is chairing the Iowa City Housing and Community Development Commission and the city's Scattered Site Housing Task Force.

The commission recommends to the Iowa City Council how to allocate money to organizations that serve low-income people and the task force is recommending ways for the city to scatter low-income housing throughout the community. The organizations recently made their recommendations.

Those tasks and more are what Hayek has lent his energy and talents to, friends and colleagues say.

"He's one of those people that can probably talk to anyone," said friend and colleague Andy Chappell, 33, an assistant Johnson County attorney. "He's very engaging."

What comes to mind when Jan Peterson thinks of Hayek is familiarity. He has his father, John's, commitment to community and his mother, Patricia's, people skills, said Peterson, 56, a friend of the Hayeks' for about 20 years and a fellow task force member.

"I think he's a lovely blend of both of them," Peterson said.

Personal Info:

Age: 35.
Education: University of Michigan bachelor's and law degrees.
Occupation: Partner in Hayek, Hayek, Brown, Moreland & Hayek, L.L.P., in Iowa City, chairman of the Iowa City Housing and Community Development Commission and the city's Scattered Site Housing Task Force.

Family: Single.

Hobbies: Hunting, canoeing, hiking, traveling.

Reach Kristen Schorsch at 339-7360 or kschorsch@press-citizen.com.





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Story Source: Iowa City Press Citizen

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; Law; Motorcycles

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