Joe Lavalle has lived in his Ward 4 residence for over 40 years. Lavalle, who turns 54 in December, attended St. David’s School as a child, and is still a parishioner of the church today.
After graduating from Archbishop Wood High School, Lavalle attended Penn State University to study architecture, graduating in 1980.
Lavalle explained that his father, an Italian immigrant, who passed away when he was 11, influenced him in his studies.
“My father was a carpenter, and brought me to construction sites at a young age,” Lavalle said. “I enjoy the initial design to the completion.”
Lavalle also studied abroad, focusing his attention in architecture, art, history and urban planning at the University degli Studi di Firenze in Italy.
Wanting to diversify his background, Lavlle achieved an MBA from Temple University’s Graduate School of Business in 1984.
“I learned how to put the pieces together as an undergrad, and the management end as a grad student,” Lavalle said.
Lavalle has worked for the past four years as an architect with Cashin Spinelli Ferretti, out of the firm’s Horsham office. In all, he has over 30 years experience as an architect, and, according to his campaign literature, a list of professional memberships and certifications. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, a certified architect in Pennsylvania, a certified building code official and building inspector and a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration.
Family and Community life
Lavalle is married and has two children. His daughter is a graduate of Gwynedd Mercy Academy and currently attends Penn State University, while his son is a junior at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.
Before that, his children also attended St. David’s School, where Lavalle has been involved with the school’s Parent-Teachers Association. As a life-long member of St. David’s Church, Lavalle has volunteered his engineering skills with the church’s buildings and grounds committee.
He has also visited other local schools and youth organizations, including ones in the Upper Moreland School District, to speak about his career as an architect, as well as his role as the Ward 4 commissioner in Upper Moreland.
Lavalle also coached baseball and softball for the Upper Moreland Little League and is a member of the Upper Moreland Historical Commission.
His reasons for running
As a child, Lavalle has fond memories of community events and attractions, including the Willow Grove Park and a movie theater nearby the Willow Grove Train Station, both no longer in existence today. He also described a closer community climate that seemed to have changed while he was away from school. However, Lavalle felt a strong desire to continue roots in Upper Moreland.
“I not only have my immediate family, but also my extended family are here,” Lavalle said. “Home to me has always been where I grew up.”
Lavalle has had no political experience prior to his first term as Ward 4 commissioner. But, according to Lavalle, due to his history and activity in the community, he was asked to run four years ago by then commissioner Richard Booth and State Representative Tom Murt (Pa-152).
Lavalle said that he wanted to not only help change the physical landscape of the community, but also bring back the community spirit he knew as a child.
“I thought I would be able to further use these skills I had in my professional experience within the community,” Lavalle said. “I always felt that community service was an integral part on how we should live our lives.”
During his time on the board of township commissioners, he has chaired the Community Development Committee, is vice president of the board and was selected to be a member of the Revitalization Task Force.
Lavalle said being a township commissioner is being the mouthpiece for residents in his ward.
“It’s not about party,” Lavalle said. “It’s about your concerns, your needs, and what I can do for you.”
A more in-depth look into the positions on community issues and candidate’s politics will be presented in future Upper Moreland – Willow Grove Patch campaign coverage articles.
Look for more profiles on Ward commissioner candidates coming this week.