As a child and teenager, Joe found all types of drawing and technical art appealing—everyday objects like logos, cars, buses, tools, and cartoons. Art, coupled with an avid interest in computers, guided his decision to it continue these pursuits professionally and major in technical graphics at Purdue.
While at Purdue, Joe was significantly influenced by professors Craig Miller and Gary Bertoline, and was selected by Professor Miller to be his teaching assistant. For five years, Joe benefited from ongoing mentoring and was able to master computer-aided drafting—a skill he used during two summer internships at United Technologies. “However, the person I most credit with where I am today is Gary Bertoline,” says Joe.“He brought to my attention a summer internship opportunity at Intel Corporation. I believe the Web programming skills that I learned at Intel made me more marketable. I was then hired by IBM nine months prior to graduation.”
Joe worked as an IBM programmer for three years before joining Google Inc. as their first user interface designer. While at Google, he proposed an idea to monetize personal Web sites with Google’s ads inventory (which later become Google AdSense), co-created Google’s Taskbar, and received eight patents for products such as Google Print, Google Video, and the Google Taskbar.
In July 2005 Joe left Google to launch his own freelance business and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he resides with his wife, Christina, and daughter.
This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2006.