Joe has had careers as a social worker, a travel agent, and an Art Deco enthusiast.
Joe traces his interest in Art Deco back to 1985 when he first attended the Art Deco Weekend in Miami Beach and was mesmerized by the architecture and unique colors of the Art Deco buildings in South Beach. He became a member of CADS upon his return.
Joe joined the CADS Board in 2001, was elected Vice President in 2003, and President from 2007-2015. Upon stepping down, the CADS board honored him with the title of President Emeritus.
When his successor was unable to continue due to a job change, Joe again served as President from November 2016 until April 2019. During this period, he oversaw the many phases of producing the CADS book from original research to final distribution by the prestigious Yale University Press. The highly acclaimed book Art Deco Chicago – Designing Modern America, edited by Robert Bruegmann, is in a class of its own compared to other city books on Art Deco.
Joe has also had an important role in the development of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS). From its founding in 1991 and for the next 25 years, ICADS existed as an unincorporated association. In 2016, under Joe’s leadership, ICADS was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the state of Delaware and quickly received IRS 501(c) (3) status. Joe served as the first Chair of the newly created ICADS Board of Directors from April 13, 2016, to November 28, 2021. During his tenure, ICADS welcomed several new member societies, began the redefinition of its role in setting standards for future World Congresses and created World Art Deco Day as an annual event.
The COVID pandemic was a major bump in the road for many nonprofit, cultural organizations including the Chicago Art Deco Society. In the Fall of 2021, Kevin Palmer and Joe came forward to form an interim board or directors to guide the organization’s recovery. Under Kevin and Joe’s leadership as Co-Presidents, CADS has been making progress. CADS future looks bright with the possibility of CADS hosting the World Congress on Art Deco in Chicago in 2027.