Joe Mendel was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He is an avid Steelers fan and loves the Pittsburgh Penguins! He and his wife, Rosemary, have one grown son who is currently living in Florida which allows Joe to pursue some unusual interests in his free time.
Joe is a race car driver and is active on the racing circuit. He has been racing for about 17 years and is also an instructor for a local racetrack. He currently races a 1971 Lotus Elan sports car. Joe says there is nothing like going 150mph in a race car, with nothing but fiber glass and a couple of metal tubes holding you in place with 40 other crazy people racing for the same spot. It has taught him about strategy, which he uses for business. There are times when you should be going fast, times when you should be going into a turn differently than everybody else, there are times when you could be passing people and when you should be passing people.
Sometimes it might be hard to get out of that racer mindset. Joe was caught speeding home from New York City. He was driving a convertible with the music at full blast, not paying attention when he looked back and saw the red and blue lights flashing behind him. Joe knew he was busted and was strategizing how he was going to handle this. Once the trooper approached Joe, he looked at the sports car and said, “You were going a little fast, let me see your racing license”. So, Joe reached over and pulled out his racing license and his instructor badge and handed them to the trooper. The trooper then looked at them and replied, “Is this for real?” He laughed and told Joe, “Just get out of here and slow down”! It was probably a ticket he should not have gotten out of but has become a fun memory to share with everyone he meets.
He has also been an actor, a singer, and a musician since he was about 10 years old. He has played in bands since he was 15 years old. Joe is currently in a rockin’ blues band, where he is a drummer and a singer. He is also president of the board for a local nonprofit Pittsburgh musical theatre company, where they put on professional theatre productions. They have a school where they teach kids acting and singing, while also providing them with presentation skills they can use when they go into the professional world.
To this day, Joe still gets to act. Most recently he had a small role in his local theatre’s production of “Jersey Boys”. He also does precision driving for movies that come to Pittsburgh. So anytime they need someone to perform small stunts they call Joe and his team. He has been in a handful of movies, including “White Noise”, which is about a chemical spill that takes place in Ohio. There are scenes with people evacuating cities going through the countryside, and if you look closely, you will be able to see Joe driving. He has also been in TV shows, including the Netflix series, “Mind Hunter”, which is about FBI agents who investigate the psychology behind murder. He’s in almost the entire second season performing small driving stunts. So, the next time you are looking for something good to watch, check out “White Noise” or “Mind Hunter”, you will be sure to see Joe driving! Joe has also had some opportunities of a lifetime in his professional life as well.
Joe studied business administration and finance at Duquesne University. He graduated on a Saturday and had a job on Monday, running a branch for a bank, which he worked part time at while he was in college. Joe spent the first half of his career in banking. He worked his way up from branch manager to running regional branches, and eventually running entire branch systems doing mergers and acquisitions. His last job in banking was running an internal consulting group where he was responsible for all the server outages that took place within the bank. He eventually left banking when he started getting calls from technology companies needing industry experts. He left banking as a Senior Vice President and jumped into the consulting world for banking and financial services groups as an industry expert. He has had many speaking engagements across the globe, has been published in a number of blogs articles and e-books, along with conducting video interviews and facilitating conferences.
Joe has also had the privilege to work in 14 different countries. Some of the amazing places he has gotten to visit include Brazil, Australia, Israel, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. His longest trip was eight months in South Africa. He remembers working hard during the day in Johannesburg and at night going on adventures, exploring the city. On the weekend he got to go on different Safari trips. Once a lion walked up to him in an open jeep!
Joe’s advice to people is challenge yourself. Keep learning more, keep ahead of technology, and keep ahead of the current thinking so that you can remain relevant and contextual in the marketplace. On a more personal side of life, have adventures. As Joe stated, there is an old saying from the Vikings, “If you don’t have enough scars, you haven’t lived”! You have to have adventures in life because that’s what life is all about. If there is something that you want to do that is relatively safe, but challenging, just go for it!