Joe Hoffmeier Jr. '88
First vice president, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Bethlehem
He understands the value of a Moravian education
"The liberal arts education, the small size of the College, and the networking opportunities with Moravian alumni—who are everywhere in the Valley—was invaluable."
Joe Hoffmeier Jr. ’88 understands the value of networking. After all, connecting with former classmates got him his first career position out of college with a small, local financial services firm. After that, his skill and talent brought him to the point he is today—first vice president for one of the world’s largest such firms.
Hoffmeier grew up in Bethlehem Township and his older sister graduated from Moravian in 1985, so he was familiar with the College. The high school track star also had been approached by Moravian’s Coach Doug Pollard, and once at Moravian, Hoffmeier ended up running track for four years and cross-country for two.
As a journalism major and political science minor, Hoffmeier had planned to get into the emerging field of sports marketing. After graduation, however, he was hired by the College’s development department as the assistant director of annual giving, where he worked closely with the members of the Blue & Grey Club. Among the membership were three men who would serve as Hoffmeier’s mentors as he moved into his new career.
“I knew those guys—Dan Nigito ’78, Dave Calvo ’76 and Bob Ternosky ’78—from working at the College, and essentially, they are how I got into the financial business,” remembers Hoffmeier. “It was baptism by fire.”
Hoffmeier started out learning estate planning with Nigito and investments with Calvo and learned more about total financial planning through all three. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, he found himself the resident manager at the Bethlehem branch of Smith Barney in 2009, and today is the first vice president and resident branch manager of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
“I liked working for the College, but when the opportunity to learn the financial services business was put in front of me, I jumped at the chance, learned on the job, and grew from there,” he says. “I discovered an aptitude I didn’t know I had.”
And, that, he says is one of the advantages of a liberal arts education—discovering new and varied ways of thinking, of doing and of being in the world. “The liberal arts education, the small size of the College, and the networking opportunities with Moravian alumni—who are everywhere in the Valley—was invaluable,” he says. “The liberal arts education IS the education—being knowledgeable about many different subjects and topics.”
As the former sports editor of The Comenian, Hoffmeier may never have seen himself crunching numbers unless they were sports statistics, but two decades later, he can claim success at a career in finance thanks to his classes in journalism and political science.
“Journalism made me a better communicator; the writing classes helped me; and what my English professor David Taylor taught me—‘Show, don’t tell.’—stayed with me and comes across when I’m trying to break down complex financial scenarios and solutions,” he says. “These can be difficult concepts, and my showing helps people grasp them.”