Joel Ward is a lifelong resident of Champaign-Urbana, having been born at Carle Hospital in 1952. Graduating from Champaign Centennial High School (Class of 1970), Joel entered the University of Illinois earning a BA degree in Philosophy. The next several years were spent in graduate school at the U of I, before Joel turned his attention toward the real estate profession.
Joel began selling real estate in 1980 as a salesperson with Landmark Real Estate, and in 1983 purchased a partnership and became president of Landmark Real Estate. From 1983-1987, Joel functioned as managing broker at Landmark as well as providing brokerage services to private individuals and corporations.
In 1987, Joel sold his partnership at Landmark Real Estate and founded Ward & Associates, which he managed until 1991. In addition to assisting home buyers and sellers as well as corporate clients during this time, Joel was a faculty member of the National Association of REALTORS Real Estate Brokerage Council teaching nationwide courses in financial management.
In 1991, Joel sold Ward & Associates to its current owner and has not been affiliated with Ward & Associates since that date. Joel and his family took what Joel calls a "mid-life sabbatical" and sailed the East Coast and the Caribbean until 1993.
Returning to Champaign-Urbana, Joel founded Joel Ward Real Estate Appraisals in 1994, providing independent fee appraisal services to individuals and mortgage lenders. In 2001, he founded Joel Ward Homes providing residential brokerage services to a select group of clients. In 2004, Joel Ward Homes moved to new offices at 3115 Village Office Place, and began offering residential brokerage services to the public at large. In 2010, Joel Ward Homes began offering property management services.
Joel is a past-president and current member of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS. In 1990, he was selected Champaign County's "REALTOR of the Year." Other professional memberships include the Employee Relocation Council and the Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals. In 2014, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Joel to the Real Estate Appraisal Advisory and Disciplinary Board.
Joel and his wife, Mary Beth (also a REALTOR), enjoy sailing in Northern Michigan.