April's Local Hero: Joe Velez

April 12, 2023

GW Science and Engineering Hall

Every person in the GW Engineering community contributes to the fabric and the culture of what makes us great and unique. As an institution of higher education, we often celebrate the achievements of our students and staff. However, without the tireless work of the GW Engineering administrative team, nothing would be possible. From our facilities, to our technology, to supporting our events, the administrative team at GW Engineering keeps our school moving forward. Each month we will highlight one of the members of the admin team in our Local Hero editorial feature. Take the time to meet the people who are at the foundation of our school. 

Director of Administration and Operations, Joe Velez, works to ensure our lovely Science and Engineering Hall runs as smoothly as possible, but he is also so much more! Read below to learn more about April's Local Hero, Joe Velez! :

Joe Velez

Q: How long have you been working at GW and what is your position?
A: I am the Director of Administration and Operations. I started working at GW in February 2008 within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. I joined the School of Engineering and Applied Science in June 2022. I selected a waffle maker as my 15-year anniversary present from the University and I am very happy with that decision.

Q: What led you to this career?
A: My early ambition was to work in college athletics but I found myself being drawn to the academic side of things. While I'm still fascinated with the business side of athletics, I'm happy with the experiences that I have had in working with faculty, staff, and students here at GW.

Q: Why did you choose GW?
A: I accepted a position at GW so that I could take advantage of the tuition benefits for a graduate program. The timing was perfect for that period of my life.

Q: What is one thing you wish you’d known when you started working at GW?
A: One thing that has been amazing is just how many people within the GW community have been here for several years. Considering the many different roles that I have held and how many of the same people that I have worked with in different capacities over the years; it is definitely the kind of place where a 'deep rolodex' can serve you well.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at GW Engineering?
A: I am impressed every day by the impactful, impressive, and interesting things that students and faculty are doing at GW Engineering. I still find myself walking around the building in awe almost a year later.

Q: Why would someone want to work at GW Engineering?
A: It is a School on the rise. It is energizing to be in an environment surrounded by people that want to be part of something that is making a difference.

Q: What is your biggest work pet peeve?
A: Selfishness in the workplace.

Q: What’s your ideal way to spend the weekend?
A: Leisure time is hard to come by but I do enjoy watching my kids play sports. I spend much of my time going from soccer, to basketball, to football, to lacrosse, and back again on the weekends. My ideal sport-less weekend would be spent outside fishing or hiking.

Q: Tell us something people don't know about you.
A: I will have a healthy selection of hot peppers from my garden between July and September so please let me know if you would like some for your home menu.

Q: What's one of your favorite memories from the past year?
A: The first Taste of Foggy Bottom luncheon was a great experience to get to have some non-work related conversations with faculty and staff at GW Engineering.

Q: Do you have any pets?
A: We have a thriving freshwater fish tank and have recently added a crested gecko to our family.