This stubborn, compassionate referee mentors young athletes

Joel Taylor learned “grit and fortitude” at a young age from his working single mother.

Joel Taylor is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Joel Taylor is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

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

Age: 34

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;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: Janice Pods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - A Boeing 737 Max jet prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle, Sept. 30, 2020. Boeing said Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, that it took more than 200 net orders for passenger airplanes in December and finished 2022 with its best year since 2018, which was before two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max jet and a pandemic that choked off demand for new planes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Boeing inks deal for up to 300 737 Max planes with Ryanair

At Boeing’s list prices, the deal would be worth more than $40 billion if Ryanair exercises all the options.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Four recognized for building a better community

Economic Alliance of Snohomish County hosts annual awards

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Business Briefs: Pandemic recovery aid and workforce support program

Snohomish County launches small business COVID recovery program, and is now accepting NOFA grant applications.

Elson S. Floyd Award winner NAACP President Janice Greene. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Janice Greene: An advocate for supplier diversity and BIPOC opportunities

The president of the Snohomish County NAACP since 2008 is the recipient of this year’s Elson S. Floyd Award.

Emerging Leader Rilee Louangphakdy (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Rilee Louangphakdy: A community volunteer since his teens

Volunteering lifted his spirits and connected him with others after the death of a family member.

Emerging Leader Alex McGinty (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Alex Zitnik-McGinty: Find a group you like and volunteer!

Her volunteer activities cover the spectrum. Fitting in “service work is important as we grow.”

Opportunity Lives Here award winner Workforce Snohomish and director, Joy Emory. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Workforce Snohomish receives Opportunity Lives Here Award

Workforce offers a suite of free services to job seekers and businesses in Snohomish County.

Henry M. Jackson award winner Tom Lane. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tom Lane: An advocate for small and local businesses

The CEO of Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family is a recipient of this year’s Henry M. Jackson Award.

John M. Fluke Sr. award winner Dom Amor. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dom Amor: Working behind the scenes to improve the region

Dom Amor is the recipient of this year’s John M. Fluke Sr. Award

Dr. David Kirtley at the new Helion headquarters in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022  (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett nuclear fusion energy company nets first customer: Microsoft

The Everett company, on a quest to produce carbon-free electricity, agreed to provide power to the software giant by 2028.

Hunter Mattson, center, is guided by Blake Horton, right, on a virtual welding simulation during a trade fair at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. High school kids learned about various trades at the event. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Trade fair gives Snohomish County kids glimpse of college alternatives

Showcasing the trades, the Trade Up event in Monroe drew hundreds of high school students from east Snohomish County.

A Tesla Model Y Long Range is displayed on Feb. 24, 2021, at the Tesla Gallery in Troy, Mich.  Opinion polls show that most Americans would consider an EV if it cost less, if more charging stations existed and if a wider variety of models were available. The models are coming, but they may roll out ahead of consumer tastes. And that could spell problems for the U.S. auto industry, which is sinking billions into the new technology with dozens of new vehicles on the way.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Tesla leases space at Marysville business park

Elon Musk’s electric car company reportedly leased a massive new building at the Cascade Business Park.