Joel graduated from Shelton High School and went on to the University of Puget Sound where he earned a degree in math and competed in track. On graduation, he embarked on a teaching and coaching career that eventually brought him to Gig Harbor, where he has lived for the past 38 years with his wife of 45 years, Lucinda. Together they raised their three children in their Peacock Hill home, where they have lived for the past 36 years. 

2017 marks Joel's eighth year of service on the GGHF Board of Directors. Joel has coached and taught in the Peninsula School District for 35 years. He began at Peninsula High School (1974 to 1978), moved to Gig Harbor (1979 to 1998), and then following a short lived retirement he returned to coaching cross country and track & field at Peninsula in 2003 until his retirement in November 2015.  Over his teaching and coaching career, he helped to lead many young athletes at both schools to both team and individual championship titles which led to being one of the most successful coaches in state history. He is member of the WIAA coaches’ Hall of Fame. Following his official retirement from teaching, he served as Executive Director of the Peninsula Neighborhood Association from 2002 to 2005, chaired the “Friends of Homestead Park” for two years, and was one of the five original Commissioners for the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (Pen Met Parks). Currently, Joel serves as a member of the Gig Harbor YMCA Advisory Board and as treasurer of the Crescent Valley Alliance. The Alliance works to encourage responsible stewardship and protection of the watershed of Crescent Lake, Creek, and Estuary.

Joel has long been a fervent advocate for developing and expanding parks and recreation programs on the Gig Harbor Peninsula and conserving open spaces whenever and wherever possible.