A Clemson University graduate, Joe began his career in Greenville but soon moved to New York to join DMB&B, one of the largest marketing agencies of that time. He and his wife Gretchen – also a marketing professional – returned to Greenville in 1986 to open Erwin Penland with one account and two employees, and over the next 30 years grew it to more than 400 people, with offices in Greenville and New York and a client roster that included Verizon Wireless, L.L. Bean, Denny’s and DisneyXD. Joe has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the South Carolina Special Olympics, the Governor’s Commission on Teacher Quality, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the 4A’s Foundation.
Through Erwin Creates, Joe is actively involved with day-to-day activities at Endeavor, manages a variety of development projects, provides business consulting services to agency and other business leaders, Chairs the Board of Advisors for Clemson’s Erwin Center for Brand Communications, and is a member of the Board at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
In 2018, Joe became the lead owner of the Greenville Triumph professional soccer team – with a mission to Inspire Unity and Create Joy by Bringing Together and Serving the Diverse, International Upstate Community. Under Head Coach and Sporting Director John Harkes, the Triumph has played in the USL League One championship match in all three of its seasons, winning the title in 2020. The team plays in their temporary stadium at Legacy Early College on Greenville’s historic west side. Plans are under way to develop a new stadium, which would be home to the Triumph, the team’s new USL W League women’s pre-professional team, and other sports and entertainment activations benefitting both Greenville County citizens and visitors to the Upstate.