Joe was born in New York City. His mother was a math teacher and his father was a civil engineer, so Joe’s family moved around the country throughout his childhood. “From birth to senior year in high school we moved five times,” he said, “From New Jersey to Colorado, Ohio, and Oklahoma. In each of those moves we got a new town to discover. I think those stories are cool.” Joe credits his love of history to that early curiosity about the towns he lived in.
Joe went to the University of Tulsa to study mechanical engineering, but after three years he switched his major to education and recreation management. Joe taught yoga for years, and was a successful personal trainer in New York City. He continues to teach at local health centers Berkshire West Athletic Club and Canyon Ranch Spa. He focuses on two of his favorite activities, aqua aerobics and table tennis. He’s trying to start a local revolution in ping pong, which he admits brings out the competitive spirit in him.
Joe and his wife, Fiona Lally, bought a historic mill in New Lebanon in 2001. After a period of traveling between New York City and New Lebanon, they moved themselves and their four children to the mill in 2006. Joe is now the president of the Corkscrew Rail Trail Association, a volunteer-run nonprofit working to open a public trail following a section of the old Rutland Railroad. This track ran from Bennington, Vermont to Chatham, New York, and was called “The Corkscrew” because of the tight turns between hills.
Joe enjoys sharing the story of New Lebanon and the Corkscrew Rail Trail with other curious people. “Any time you can add information to an object or a place, it increases its value,” he said.