B.S. Architecture, The Ohio State University, 1994
M.A. Mass Communication & Media Studies, San Diego State University, 2010
Fellow, Seminar XXI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2012
Georgetown University, Certificate in Organization Development and Change Leadership Management, 2020
Georgetown University, Certificate in Facilitation, 2021
Georgetown University, Certificate in Coaching, 2022
Joe was born on September 22, 1971 in Toledo, Ohio. He attended The Ohio State University where he studied architecture under Frank Fantauzzi and was a member of the Ohio State University Mountaineering Club. After a 1994 winter attempt on Long's Peak (successful) and a 1995 winter attempt on the Grand Teton (completely blown off the mountain), he joined the United States Marine Corps and became an infantry officer.
In the summer of 1997, he met the love of his life, another Marine officer, Kate Germano, and they married in 1999. That same year, Joe also attended the Defense Information School and earned a secondary military occupational specialty as a public affairs officer.
While working for General James N. Mattis from 2001-2003, he planned and executed the largest media embed program in Marine Corps history during the invasion of Iraq. He narrowly survived an ambush that seriously injured two of his six-man team on March 23, 2003 as his convoy shot their way out of the town of Az Zubayr.
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Hiking all 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall, UK, 2022
Climbing Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) 14,410’, 2021
Section-hiking the Appalachian Trail, 2016 - present
Climbing the Grand Teton, 13,775’, 2015
Trekking Vietnam, 2006
Climbing Mt. Fuji, 12,389’ (twice!), 1997, 1999
Climbing Long’s Peak, 14,259’, 1994
Hiking the Grand Canyon, (twice!) 1993, 1997
Neil Pryde Alize w/ Shimano Di2 electronic shifting
In 2005, Joe served as the senior U.S. military spokesperson in Medan & Banda Aceh, Indonesia during the disaster relief mission in the wake of the December 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that devastated much of Northern Sumatra. From 2008 to 2009, he ran the Marine Corps' Drill Instructor School. During the last five years of his Marine Corps career, he served in the Pentagon as the spokesman, press secretary, and staff group director for the 34th, 35th, and 36th Commandants of the Marine Corps.
Joe retired after 20 years of active duty service in 2015 and became the executive vice president of marketing and membership at the U.S. Naval Institute. Beginning in 2017, he served as the director of media relations for America’s largest veteran service organization - defending veterans' rights and benefits. From 2018 to 2021, he served as Wounded Warrior Project’s communications director. He is a founding partner of Cassandra-Helenus Partners - a leadership development and human communication firm, and a sweat-equity partner in Somete Technology Group. In 2021, Joe signed on as a founding partner of Data Valuation Ventures - an artificial intelligence company specializing in appraising and valuating data sets. He is a professor of practice at the College of Southern Maryland and George Washington University where he teaches public speaking and communication strategy. He sits on the board of We The Veterans - a group committed to countering disinformation, reducing extremist violence, and encouraging positive civic engagement. He is an advisory board member of Veteran Business Project.
Joe also helped Kate Germano and Kelly Kennedy publish their book Fight Like A Girl: The truth behind how female Marines are trained by writing Chapters 27 & 29. He has appeared on national television to include CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN and more. His writings have been published in many national outlets to include the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, the Daily Beast, and Defense One.
Public relations strategy
Thought leadership strategy
Carpentry & bricklaying
Rock climbing & mountaineering
Photo credit: Paul Morse
Joe lives and works in Washington, DC. If you want to give him a shout, fill out the form below.