August 23, 1977 was a typical day for Joe when he arrived at Cabrillo Beach, in San Pedro, California, or so he thought. As it turned out, he experienced a catastrophic surfing accident that nearly took his life.
While surfing, Joe hit his head on a reef and suffered a devastating injury to his spinal cord. His first post accident surgical neck fusion attempt mysteriously rendered him legally blind in his left eye. Consequently, he has depended on a powered wheelchair for mobility for the past four decades.
At the time of Joe’s injury, the struggle for Disability Rights was being fought on the streets of America, laying the groundwork for a future transformation to society. The beginning of that transformation arrived with the passage of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990.
Joe went through a transformation of his own when he found his calling: to promote the ADA principles of equality, accessibility and freedom. He immersed himself in disability law becoming a specialist in Titles I and III of the ADA. Since then, Joe has consulted countless organizations spanning the nation, across a spectrum of industries as an expert in ADA law.
A few years after learning disability law, the acting bug bit. Once again, Joe immersed himself in study, but this time he studied acting and filmmaking.
Besides acting, Joe has produced and directed projects and managed talent.
In 2017, Joe’s life story was captured in the documentary film Freedom to Roll that also chronicles the ongoing struggle for disability rights in America. Since production of Freedom to Roll, Joe has assembled a dynamic team of individuals to launch the trail blazing, B2B Access Advisor, ADA Supreme.
While Joe has played numerous roles over the years on stage and in life, his favorite is being a champion of rights for people living with disabilities and challenges.