Joel’s background is in accounting and finance, in which he has a bachelor’s degree. Before joining the Independent Living Movement, Joel worked in public accounting before moving to work in the financial department of several manufacturing businesses.
He joined Summit in 2010 when he was hired on as a peer. He most recently served as the 2013 Montana Centers for Independent Living lobbyist, where he traveled to the capitol to monitor and fight for bills impacting Montanans with disabilities.
His main priority for Ravalli Summit will be to expand the social advocacy groups Man Cave and Women on the Move. He also hopes to see a Youth Group established in Ravalli soon.
Joel’s vision is to have people with disabilities treated the same way as other members of the community, with a degree of normalcy.
“I’d like to see people view everybody with disabilities the same way as they do someone who has to wear glasses or contacts,” he said. “I say this because if you take away somebody’s glasses or contacts, they wouldn’t be able to drive, read, use a computer or work. However, people don’t look at someone who wears glasses and say, ‘Wow, it’s amazing you’re able to go to work everyday!’ That’s my utopian goal.”
Joel is also a sports fan who roots for the Minnesota Vikings, Wisconsin Badgers and Montana Grizzlies. He does public announcing for Corvallis High School, as well as the Bitterroot Blaze and Missoula Osprey.