Kelley, Bryan — former top Murphy officials — to launch Elysian Consulting Group

Pair says economic development consultancy will be geared toward advising all aspects of transformative projects

Joe Kelley and Dan Bryan, two former key leaders from Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, are starting Elysian Consulting Group, an economic development consultancy with a specific expertise on transformative projects, they told ROI-NJ.

The two said the firm aims to work with developers and companies — based in the state or moving in — on all issues involving real estate, infrastructure and corporate strategy. Its focus will be to help private-sector clients navigate roadblocks on projects while bringing an understanding of public-sector opportunities.

“It could be public financing, it could be headline risk and media engagement, it could be understanding how to work through different key stakeholders that are impactful toward their project,” Kelley said.

The two said the firm will do some public affairs work (strategy, marketing), but they will not work as lobbyists.

Kelley and Bryan said the firm is close to finalizing an office location in the heart of Newark’s business district.

“We’re ready to go,” Bryan said.

Both Kelley and Bryan will continue with their current jobs while also handling the business of the new firm.

Kelley announced Monday that he is joining CHA Partners, the Bloomfield-based development firm, as a partner. Bryan has led Bryan Strategies Group for just over a year, with the bulk of his work coming with New Jersey – Stronger Fairer Forward, a nonprofit advocacy group and PAC.

Elysian: What’s in a name?

Joe Kelley and Dan Bryan said their new firm, Elysian Consulting Group, takes its name from Elysian Fields in Hoboken, the home of the first baseball game — a sport both have a great passion for.

Just not the same passion.

Kelley is a New York Yankees fan — and can’t decide if his favorite player is Derek Jeter or Paul O’Neill. Bryan favors the New York Mets — and he’s a Mike Piazza guy.

The two became colleagues and friends in 2016, when they were advising candidate Murphy. Kelley left his administration role as deputy chief of staff for economic development earlier this month. In February 2022, Bryan left his role as senior adviser for strategy and communications.

Bryan said the difference in their roles in the administration will make for great synergy at Elysian.

“Joe very much has his lane, and I very much have mine — but we’ve both got experience in each other’s lane,” Bryan said.

“Joe’s the economic development specialist, but I was chief of staff to the city of Hoboken for five years. I’ve specialized more in public opinion messaging, but Joe has spent years in campaigns and politics, so he knows plenty about that, too.”

That being said, Bryan said any efforts in political consulting will be done through his personal consulting group. Kelley will keep his work at CHA separate, too.

“There’s a ton of synergy between all these things, but there’s appropriate firewalls, too,” Kelley said.

The two said Elysian is a result of the ever-growing professional and personal relationship they have developed — one that didn’t stop when Bryan left the administration last year.

“I always joked with Joe that, since we’re on the phone five times a day anyway, we might as well try to start a business while we’re doing it,” Bryan said.

“We’ve been talking about doing something like this for a long time. It’s exciting that we’re finally doing it.”