Joe Nelson believes he has a gift for working effectively behind the scenes through people because he values people. He thinks that's an asset he brings to his quest for mayor of Orem.
"Every person you meet is superior to you in something," said the 65-year-old retired businessman. "Find out what that is and you discover something about the true worth in that person."The people in Orem want a voice, says Nelson. "I know how to work with people. That's been my life."
Nelson can say that because he's worked with employees of J.C. Pen-ney for 34 years as a store and district manager.
He's served as chairman of the board for Central Utah United Way and for the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce.
He's now a board member for the University Mall, for the Intermountain Health Care Foundation Board and a member of the Economic Development Council and the Human Relations Commission for Orem City. He's on the advisory board for Brigham Young University's student newspaper.
He holds a bachelor of science degree from BYU in accounting with a minor in marketing and a master's from New York University in business with an emphasis on retailing.
When he isn't or hasn't been involved in business matters, he's enjoyed a game of basketball or tennis.
He loves to garden and still does that.
He likes doing family research and is the one everyone in his family comes to when they want an update on their genealogy, he says.
Born and raised in Tooele, he grew up singing to earn his school clothes in a household without a piano.
"My mother had perfect pitch, and she taught my brother and I to sing by saying, `This is middle C,' etc.," Nelson said.
He consequently has sung throughout his life.
He and his wife have five children, 23 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
He says he took his wife on their first date when he was just 6 years old. He was already going to a Saturday afternoon dance to perform an exhibition waltz. He asked his father to pick up his friend, and they shared a soda afterward at the only drugstore in town.
"We've now been married 44 years. We've been dating a long time," said Nelson. They've lived in Orem since 1980, having traveled about the country for J.C. Penney in 14 moves before that.