Joe Wolfe - Yelm, Olympia, Washington

Thurston County Financial Leadership

Joseph WolfeThroughout his career as a finance executive and mountaineer, Thurston County’s Joseph F. Wolfe has demonstrated key leadership skills. As a finance professional in the Yelm, Washington public services sector, Joe Wolfe has been responsible for managing municipal budgets with an eye on improving communities.

For over 20 years, Mr. Wolfe’s tireless efforts and natural leadership abilities have been a crucial asset in creating vibrant, financially-secure communities. When he is not tackling the demands of public service, Joe Wolfe is an active outdoor leader, engaging in several ambitious mountaineering expeditions that put his leadership on display.

Mr. Wolfe’s current professional endeavor is providing his expertise as the Grant Administrator for the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in Olympia, Washington.

Joe Wolfe’s Educational Background and Professional Certifications

Joe Wolfe is a strong believer in lifelong education. As a leader, he knows that one cannot rest on his or her laurels but must strive to grow both personally and professionally. Mr. Wolfe received a Baccalaureate from the Central Michigan University School of Industrial Engineering and Technology in 1999. His educational program focused on industrial engineering technologies, including process improvement and manufacturing advances. 

His first experience with professional leadership came as an active member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. As a member, he gained valuable experience as well as developed a network of professional peers. He was also responsible for helping in the development and support of outreach programs for the Society, guiding others to volunteer their time and talents for Society events.

After graduation from Central Michigan, Joe’s first professional role was with the Washington State Department of Ecology as a budget analyst. In 2007, he returned to school to further his education. He was accepted to the Masters of Business program at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. In 2009, he earned an MBA in Finance and Financial Management Services.

Joe Wolfe then began to amass professional certifications with the goal of increasing his knowledge. He holds numerous professional certifications, including:

       Green Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma, a data-driven process improvement system.

       Certified Federal Grants Manager

       Certified Government Financial Manager

       Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response Operations and trained Emergency Operations Center Finance Operations Chief

Professional Career Highlights

Leadership is an important factor in the public services sector. Leaders are expected to guide teams through complex processes, including budget analysis and management. Here, Joe Wolfe and his leadership have been instrumental in making strong and healthy communities in the state of Washington.

Mr. Wolfe’s career has been filled with significant milestones and achievements. One of his proudest achievements as a leader came when he was working with the City of Yelm, Washington as its Finance Director. As the official responsible for organizing and managing a dynamic city budget, Mr. Wolfe was instrumental in strategizing the city’s financials while implementing cost-saving measures. Working with other agencies, including the State Auditor, and by serving on executive municipal councils, Joe was able to share his vision for a stable financial future. As a result, the City of Yelm was recognized two years in a row with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, a prestigious honor bestowed by the Government Finance Officers Association. It was Joe’s leadership and vision that made this honor possible.

As the Grant Administrator for Thurston County, Joe Wolfe is responsible for a highly technical and complex set of tasks. His leadership skills have proved valuable, especially in light of coronavirus impacts to the County’s economic stability. To respond to the crisis, Joe was instrumental in developing and implementing multiple Coronavirus Relief Fund programs for affected communities throughout Thurston County. His background in process engineering and improvement served to make these programs run effectively, and he was recognized again for his achievements. He continues to serve the communities of Thurston County by managing grant-related programs and services with a combination of dedication, leadership, and financial expertise.

Mountaineering: Expeditionary Leadership

Joe Wolfe worldwide travels
Having lived in Washington for many years, Joe Wolfe has had the opportunity to develop a range of outdoor skills. Among his favorite pastimes is mountaineering. He got his start in the Cascade Range of the state and quickly amassed the experience he needed to overcome bigger challenges. Some of his first international mountaineering expeditions took him to the Andes Mountains in South America. Here, he was able to leverage his ice-climbing and alpine mountaineering experience to summit some of the range’s most iconic peaks, including the Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo.

His next goal was to tackle one of the world’s tallest mountains. Mount Kilimanjaro is a volcanic peak and stands as the highest mountain on the African continent. On his expedition there, he shared leadership roles with other climbers over the course of several weeks on the mountain’s lower elevations and base camps. Eventually, he and his group were able to summit the mountain. Today, Joe Wolfe spends time practicing his mountaineering skills and is already planning his next outdoor adventure.