Current Term: April 2013 – April 2017
Joel was sworn into office as Mayor on April 15, 2013.
He was born in Minnesota. Then after spending a few years in St. Joseph, Missouri, he and his family moved to Topeka, Kansas (1971). Joel studied eight years at Topeka Lutheran grade school, one at Jardine Middle School and four at Topeka High School. Architectural engineering was Joel’s focus at Kansas State before trekking to Chicago after graduation to practice mechanical engineering (1990-93). Four years later he moved back to the Kansas City area to be closer to his two brothers (one died when Joel was young), their families and his parents. In his first few years in the area, Joel provided energy audits and retrofits, before starting his work in architecture. He started working at Gastinger Walker Harden + Bee Triplet Buck architects in 1996 and finished additional degrees in architecture and management, both through Kansas University. As described below, Joel took a four year sabbatical from GWH+BB and started a small design firm between visits to India. In this time he spent one semester in law school at Washburn University while working in Kansas City. Joel has been with GWH+BB since 2004. Joel’s two brothers, Phil and Andrew, are in Kansas City running their respective companies Xenotech and Advantage Tech. His father is a practicing psychotherapist, and mother is a recent past Judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals.
Since early childhood, Joel has had a deep curiosity of different cultures around the world. Toting his sketchbook and a backpack, he traveled mostly alone exploring parts of 20 countries, focusing on everything from art, architect and design, to basic human nature and relationships. Over eight months in two trips to India and Nepal, Joel met and brought back his Tibetan wife Gyaltsen. In 2007 they were blessed with their only child Tashi, who is now a Panther at Roesland Elementary School.
Other interests of Joel’s includes sports and public art. He played many years of volleyball, culminating in his time with the Polar Bears volleyball club team. Joel has had a life-long interest in fine art including public art. His work lead him start his involvement with Roeland Park on the Parks Committee (later chaired the Committee), where he co-founded then chaired City’s Art in R Park program. In that program he has conceived and donated the “34” speed limit signs, “(R)Evolutionary Fusion, It’s Not Just a Pipe Dream” and “Rainbow Nest”. His wife Gyaltsen produced the Tibetan Tee Pee made of tree branches. Some of his other work around the Kansas City area includes the Kansas City Board of Trade Wheat Sculpture, the I-35 & 87th Street Interchange, Lenexa’s Dam and Spillway at Black Hoof Park and the gateway designs and new 9-11 memorial in Sugar Creek, Missouri. Joel also lead the early designs of City Hall, which became the basis for the final designs.
In his time as Mayor, a few of the things Joel would like to do is facilitate an active (not expensive) Events Committee and increase economic development by leading a professional citizen-lead development, planning and design group. He believes thoughtful work from this group could help show off the many aspects Roeland Park can be proud of (“right-size” houses, a tree-lined Roe Boulevard, very friendly citizens…). Joel feels his most important jobs are assisting citizens in contributing to the City, and helping people inside and outside the city understand the beautiful uniqueness of Roeland Park.
5021 Clark Dr
Roeland Park, KS 66205