June 30, 2020
Born and raised in Pasadena, Matthew Morphy followed his father and brothers’ academic footsteps to the Carpinteria foothills, boarding at Cate School, a private college preparatory founded in 1910. Athletic and six-foot-three at the time, Morphy joined the volleyball team. “We weren’t very good,” he remembers, lamenting how the team “only won one match in three years.” A year after graduation, however, his competitive slump flipped upside down.
In 1985, as a six-foot-six freshman at Pepperdine University, Morphy walked onto the volleyball team on the last day of tryouts. By the end of his first collegiate season, Morphy’s personal record had gone from a single victory in three years to an NCAA national championship. Pepperdine defended that title in 1986.
Off the court, Morphy studied marketing and advertising. His first job right out of college was swinging a hammer for a framer in Pasadena. “I’ve always had a big interest in building things,” he says. “And I’ve always been a woodworker and do-it-yourselfer.” Soon enough, though, he found work in his field. After a handful of years in advertising, he started his own business in desktop publishing and took it to Ketchum, Idaho, where he lived for several years.
In 2000, Morphy landed in Santa Barbara with a handful of tech-job leads. Then the dot-com bubble popped, and all bets were off. After a stint as a fundraising director for Cate, Morphy worked for Sport Court of Southern California, selling and constructing residential tennis and basketball courts from Cambria to Ventura. That’s when he first crossed paths with Giffin & Crane.
Morphy also opened the Ohana Fun Company storefront in Carpintera, selling everything from marbles and board games to stand-up paddleboards and waterproof cameras. The company motto was “Fun for the whole family!” (Morphy’s own kids are Shelagh, a Cate graduate now at Northeastern University, and Makaio, who attends Bishop Garcia Diego High School.)
When Morphy came across an employment opportunity with Giffin & Crane, he pursued it. “I had some building experience with Sport Court, and I think my technology skills were a plus,” he remembers about interviewing with company co-founders Bruce and Geoff. “Attention to detail has always been very important to me.” He came aboard in 2016.
While fine-tuning spreadsheets is a big part of his job, Morphy also understands that estimators are often some of the initial company representatives to walk job sites with potential clients. “We try to bring our professionalism, organization, and confidence to make them comfortable,” he says.
Morphy, who recently married his favorite tennis and pickleball partner, has maintained his competitive streak, playing middle blocker for the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club against age-sorted teams from around the world. They go to the USA Nationals every year and have finished first several times. Morphy has also won consecutive gold medals with his team at the Huntsman World Senior Games. He doesn’t plan on slowing down.
“At Nationals, there are age divisions up to 78 and over,” he says. “I hope to keep it up — especially as the net gets lower!”