A former vice-president of the Association of Facilities Engineers and past Chairman of the National Defense Manufacturing Workforce Committee, Leonard has spent the past 30 years identifying, explaining and helping solve the problem. His creative strategies to build awareness have taken him around the globe four times where he has addressed international conventions, taught certification classes and has gathered information to help others prepare for The Maintenance Crisis. As a result of his efforts, Leonard was appointed to the United States Council on Competitiveness, a national think-tank whose purpose is to work with Capitol Hill and The White House to create policy that results in legislation. International corporate and governmental leaders continually seek his advice. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio and CNBC numerous times. In 2006, Leonard branched out on his own as a writer for Chicago-based Putman Media, Inc., publisher of nine trade magazines. Leonard’s column won the 2008 Gold Award from the American Society of Business Publications Editors and was enjoyed by over 80,000 readers. He also wrote for Maintworld, a trade magazine for European maintenance professionals. Working with Putman Media, Leonard developed “Skill TV,” the first online television network dedicated to helping build awareness of and solutions to the “Maintenance Crisis.” Programs were used in manufacturing training classes and included interviews with congressional leaders, Fortune 500 CEOs, educators and other governmental leaders. Leonard has a strong creative talent and wrote the lyrics to two songs, “The Maintenance Crisis Song” and “Find Me a Maintenance Woman.” The purpose was to elevate awareness of the need for people to consider going into maintenance, where sometimes employees can earn more than $100,000 a year. The songs have been downloaded over 40,000 times and have been played at major international conventions. In 2014, as Leonard transitioned from fighting the maintenance crisis to building makerspaces, he helped establish The Forge, a Greensboro Makerspace that helped local workforce development and jobs. In the first year, there were more than 16 new companies formed, nine new patents applied for and more than 50 people hired. As a result, the City of Greensboro recognized Leonard with the Game Changer Award in 2015. Due to his efforts, Leonard was invited to the White House and was encouraged to share strategies to grow makerspace programs nationally. During a three year national tour, Leonard met with over 100 makerspaces and visited over 40 states to grow the Maker Movement. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, he helped makerspaces around the world devise and plan projects to help first responders via zoom calls. He connected Bossong Hosiery and NuFabrx to area hospitals, the military and the 23 hospitals in New York City who desperately needed PPE. All of his work has led to his latest initiative – taking a mobile makerspace to rural and underserved communities. The goal is to reach people who may never consider attending a community college or going into manufacturing. As a result in 2021, NC Gov. Roy Cooper inducted Joel into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and flew a North Carolina flag over the State Capitol in Joel’s honor.