Joe was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  He attended Harvard College, where he majored in applied math and rowed on the varsity lightweight crew team; he then received an MBA from Stanford in 1971.

In 1980, he was appointed by President Carter to become president of the newly-created Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank, a short-lived assignment which brought Joe and his wife Peggy to Washington after nine years in Houston. During the 1970s in Houston, Joe participated in the organization of three small community banks.

After his short tenure in government, Joe joined Century National Bank in Washington, DC, which he managed as CEO from its inception in 1982 through its sale in 2001. Having obtained a law degree in 1991 from American University, Joe joined the law firm of McKee Nelson as a partner in 2002. Simultaneously, Joe served as non-executive chairman of WashingtonFirst Bank, which was organized in 2004 by former Century Bank colleagues.

After retiring from law in 2012, Joe continued as executive chairman of WashingtonFirst until its merger in 2018 with Sandy Spring Bank. Joe currently serves as non-executive chairman of Trustar Bank, which was organized in 2019 by former WashingtonFirst colleagues, and he is also a board member of Forge Insurance Group, a property and casualty insurance company of which his son Patrick is CEO.

Joe and Peggy have three children – two of whom are St. Albans graduates – and seven grandchildren. Joe also serves on the board of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, N.M., where he and Peggy have a summer home.