Joe E. Harris, Jr., President of the North Carolina Society in 2005-07, was chosen from among more than 33 candidates to serve as Executive Director of the National Society. The announcement came during the Spring Trustees/Leadership Meeting in Louisville in February. Joe and his wife, Gail, immediately began the search for permanent quarters in the city founded by General George Rogers Clark in 1778. Harris assumed his new position on March 15, relieving Secretary General Bruce Wilcox who served as interim director upon the resignation of James N. Randall on December 31st.
Harris, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, earned a Master of Public Administration, Administration Organization and Management from Golden Gate University in California in 1986 and a BS in Education from North Carolina State University in 1972. And, he served as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
As a professional soldier from 1972-1998, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, while serving in a variety of capacities, including Air Assault, Airborne, Ranger, Infantry and Military Intelligence assignments. He is a graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College with assignments including Secretary of the General Staff, Assistant G2 (Operations), Assistant G3 (Training), and as a corps level plans officer.
In addition to his membership in the SAR, Harris is a member of the General Society, Sons of the Revolution; National Society of Scabbard and Blade (former national commander); Sigma Chi Fraternity; North Carolina Military Historical Society; Military Officers Association of America, Overmountain Victory Trail Association (board member); National Sojourners, Inc; International Association Lions Clubs; The American Legion; and several current and former Masonic affiliations including Blue Lodges, York Rite and Scottish Rite.
In addition to his membership in the Marquis de Lafayette Chapter, North Carolina Society, Harris is a dual member of the Col. Fielding Lewis Chapter in Virginia, the General Andrew Pickens Chapter in South Carolina, the Fort Watauga Chapter in Tennessee, and a charter member of the Mexico Society.
His SAR awards include the Silver Good Citizenship Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster. Joe is also a George Washington Fellow. His national service has included Chairman of the National Park Service Committee (2004); Chairman of the ROTC/JROTC/Service Academy Committee (2004-2006), and membership on the Nominating Committee; Historic Sites and Celebrations Committee; Hospitality and Music Committee and Americanism Committee.
Harris has two sons, both of whom are members of the SAR
By Robert L. “Bob” Bowen, Special Contributing Editor