A Few Words of Praise and Gratitude for Joe Wheeler
Posted on December 20, 2023 by Darrin Reilly
Next February, Mission Critical Partners celebrates the 15th anniversary of its founding. From the beginning, the firm has been sharply focused on the public-safety sector. But MCP’s leaders intuitively understood even back then that the public-safety sector has an equally important counterpart — the justice sector. Less understood was the relationship between the sectors and, more importantly, how they need to interact.
That changed in February 2021 when MCP acquired Seattle-based MTG Management Consultants, which was led by Joe Wheeler, who today is our vice president of justice and courts. Joe brought into our organization a team of highly talented individuals and we are so pleased that they are now part of the MCP team. We look forward to continuing the legacy, built upon Joe’s tireless efforts, as we further expand our impact within the justice marketplace.
Another positive aspect was that Joe and his team provided much-needed perspective that enabled MCP’s leadership to see for the first time the justice sector’s nuances and culture, which in turn led to a holistic vision of how public-safety and justice together form the ecosystem. For both MCP and the organizations that we serve, this removed the silos that can develop across the justice and public-safety ecosystem.
Another important aspect brought by Joe and his team concerned a deep understanding of change management and how to execute it. Change usually does not come easily to organizations and their people, and this is especially true of public-sector organizations. Nevertheless, change is the first step toward evolution, which in turn leads to enhanced service delivery. The change-management strategies and tactics developed and honed by Joe and his team in the justice sector over many years now are being applied effectively on behalf of MCP’s clients on the public-safety side of the ecosystem.
One easily can see that Joe has had a tremendous impact on MCP, its personnel, and most importantly its clients since he arrived nearly three years ago. But that tells only part of the story. Joe is iconic in the justice sector — seemingly, he knows everyone, and everyone knows him. When someone in that sector needs a sounding board, one of the first places they look is wherever Joe is at the moment.
Time doesn’t permit a lengthy recounting of Joe’s many milestones over his long career, but I will mention a couple. Two years ago, he was elected chair of the board of directors of the IJIS Institute, which for more than two decades has worked to foster collaboration between government and industry to enhance information sharing across the public sector. Three years ago, Joe received the institute’s Robert P. Shumate National Public Safety Contributor to Excellence Award. The award is presented annually to “an individual who has made the most valuable contribution to justice and public-safety information sharing over his or her career.” Joe was a worthy recipient as he has worked tirelessly over three decades to enhance how data is gathered and leveraged across the public-safety/justice ecosystem.
Now Joe has decided that it’s time to retire, which will occur at the end of the year. Who can blame him? He’s done enough and his influence will be felt at MCP and across the ecosystem that we serve for decades to come. While we will miss him and his guidance, we all wish Joe Godspeed as he starts this new chapter of his life. He’s earned the right.
Darrin Reilly is MCP’s president and chief executive officer. Email him at DarrinReilly@MissionCriticalPartners.com.