Nantasket Beach & Hull, Massachusetts are geographically a small 12 mile peninsula on the Eastern shore directly across the bay from Boston. On a map, it looks like an infant-sized model of Cape Cod. Joel and his siblings lived here with their parents until Joel was 11 years old. Through his adolescent and teen years Joel attended school and college in Maryland. He participated in gymnastics and basketball during junior and high school, but his restless heart took a leap from the US mainland when he bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii in his late teens. While in the Hawaiian Islands, Joel discovered his passion for water sports, diving, surfing, swimming. Then the military called.
Faced with a prospect of two years in the infantry, Joel chose to enlist. While this choice guaranteed an additional 3rd year to the length of his service, it also guaranteed him vocational school and a career as an Air Traffic Controller in the Army Aviation. After the service, Joel continued in college, earning an Associate Degree in Underwater Technology, a Bachelor of Science, and a Master of Business Administration Degree. Joel earned a black belt in Karate, and pursued his passion for water by performing underwater diving, engineering and research at the Florida Institute of Technology. Joel worked offshore with deep diving manned, unmanned submersibles, and saturation diving systems. In the early 80’s he designed, developed and donated a computer monitoring system to his alumni, Florida Institute of Technology, for installation on their triple lock recompression chamber.
After assisting NASA/Morton Thiokol to locate Shuttle Discovery’s Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB’s) that sunk in 3000 ft. of water, Joel was asked to lead and coordinate the deployment of 3 underwater Robotic Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) during the 1st week of the Challenger Shuttle offshore recovery mission. For this inconceivable incident, Joel was the project liaison between his current company, SONAT Subsea Services, and Morton Thiokol/NASA.
Joel’s underwater and diving experience, by chance, led him into the entertainment field. Universal Studios in Orlando had opened the new Park and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws Attraction could not stay open due to engineering and operational problems. It turns out the company responsible for designing and building the attraction was not underwater/hydraulically experienced and it operationally failed. Universal reached out to the Underwater Technology industry, which led to a new career path for Joel.
Joel moved on to be his own boss. He established a consulting company, Intelligent Design LTD, and grew a clientele beyond Universal to include Sony and many other major corporations. His extensive experience and innate leadership ability contribute a necessary contribution to the governance of the Jack Kagan Foundation.
Like his father and siblings, Joel is a self-made individual. He now lives with his wife Yuka in Florida where he dabbles in real estate, works internationally as an in-demand consultant, and of course continues to enjoy the ocean. He’s proud to carry on his father’s vision to support the mission of the Jack Kagan Foundation.