IMGA personality of the month

Joe Rizzi

Joe Rizzi

John Concannon, Publicity

My Personality of the Month this month is none other than Joe Rizzi, one of Ironwood’s marshals, a job that he has held for the last six years. I have to say that after interviewing Joe, I had to stop, take a breath and try to assimilate his past.

Joe is a multi-faceted individual to say the least. He was born in the Bronx in 1951; he attended St Benedict’s Grammar School and Columbus High School. When he was 16, his family moved to Carmel, NY where Joe completed high school. While in school, he was a linebacker for the football team. He was a bit small for the position but Joe said he was tough and fast, a combination that served him well. During his high school years, Joe worked for the local newspaper part-time and upon graduation from high school, was offered the position of production manager of the Putnam County Courier. Joe married his high school sweetheart, Joann, who talked him into moving to Arizona and attend ASU.

While attending ASU, Joe worked part-time in an aerospace machine shop and became a machinist. He also met Debra Ruth Smith, an Ohio transplant from Toledo whom he married in 1975. Joe received his degree in psychology, graduating with high honors and took a job with Honeywell as a machinist because of a lack of jobs in his chosen field of psychology. After three years as a machinist, Joe, with his degree in his back pocket, saw and took advantage of career opportunities in management. Honeywell put Joe through The University of Phoenix and in 1989, he received his Master’s degree in Management. During his 27 years in management, Joe held a variety of positions and at one point had 500 direct reports and 20 supervisors answering to him. His success enabled him to retire at 58. Joe had time to earn is teacher certification while at Honeywell and has taught many engineering-related courses at Maricopa Community College.

While living in Mesa, Joe and Debbie had two sons, Daniel and Vincent. As a family, they were into hiking and have traveled to many of the national parks in Utah, California and Arizona. Joe’s wife Debbie is an R.N. employed at Banner Gateway hospital who still enjoys homemaking and entertaining their granddaughter, Ashley.

In 1996, Joe and Debbie moved to Sun Lakes and are happy to be only about a mile from Joe’s parents, Basil and Mary Rizzi. Joe had taken up golf while at  Honeywell, in order to participate in company sponsored golf events and continues to enjoy golf as a member of IMGA. In addition to his part time job at Ironwood, Joe works part time at Systems 3, Inc., a Tempe based engineering and machining services company as a Program Manager. He has the ominous title of CSS Black Belt and Lean Expert. You are going to have to ask him to define what all he does there.

Just a footnote: Debbie – Joe, who calls you the love of his life, still has a gleam in his eyes when he mentions you, which he did throughout the interview. He said he would not be the person he is today if it wasn’t for you. Happy 40th anniversary to you both!