This is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award, which seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. The winner will be named at an event on April 11. Meet the other finalists.
Name: Joel Taylor
Profession: Tooling Operations Leader, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Joel Taylor spent the first six years of his life in and out of Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“I was born with a birth defect,” he explained.
What he remembers most vividly from that time is his mother, a single parent, waiting tables for a living.
“The thing that sticks out is her unwavering determination to be there for me,” Taylor said.
At that young age, “I was able to understand what commitment was — the embodiment of grit and fortitude,” said Taylor, who grew up in Everett.
Her example, and that of his stepfather, who tirelessly raised money for youth scholarships, “is what shaped me,” he said.
“That’s why I’m so stubborn and so compassionate in my stubbornness,” said Taylor, who works for Boeing in a product development role with assignments in Everett and Kent.
He’s used that drive and determination to help others succeed, a nominator wrote: “Joel has a passion for a community that is rare and full in commitment. He supports local youth through his officiating for sports and is president of the officiating body that works for high school football in Snohomish County.”
Taylor has been a member of the Snohomish County Football Officials Association for 13 years.
It’s not just about calling penalties or touchdowns.
“Being an official is more than just interpreting and ruling a contest between two teams. It is about showing self-restraint and control, leading in a passive role, and instilling good character and good judgment in youth and peers,” he wrote in his nomination statement.
He’s also a board member and chairman of the association’s Hall of Fame, which has been recognizing and supporting young players’ community service and educational goals for nearly 40 years.
Hall of Fame members volunteer their time to raise enough money each year to provide seven scholarships.
The board looks at community service, academics and other qualities.
Scholarship recipients “may not be the most gifted athletes, but they’re gifted in citizenship and leadership,” Taylor said.
Since its inception, the organization has awarded $250,000 in scholarships to high school students in Snohomish and Island counties.
Said a nominator: Taylor “has created infrastructure and scholarships for that organization and wants to make a difference in the lives of youth across the region.”
Taylor also sits on the United Way Snohomish County board and the board of the Totes for Kids Snohomish County, a nonprofit that provides a backpack of essentials for children who’ve been placed in foster care. Totes for Kids was founded by Roslyn Sterling, an Emerging Leader finalist in 2018.
Taylor’s affiliations also include The Tears Foundation, a nonprofit that assists families who’ve lost a child, and Wounded Warrior Project of Snohomish County, a veterans service organization.
He hopes to continue to inspire others to make Snohomish County an even better place, he said.
“We have a lot of human capital here that we don’t even know we have.”
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: Janice Pods