USA PICKLEBALL BOARD SPOTLIGHT: JOE SANTORO

Joe Santoro has been a USA Pickleball board member since February 2020. He first picked up the sport in 2015. He first picked up the sport in 2015 playing at the Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Florida. In the winter he spends his time playing at Veterans Park in Naples, and June through November he enjoys playing at Foss Field in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

At 76, Joe competed in 22 tournaments and earned 16 medals at the 4.0/3.5 skill level. Since his first tournament “debut” in 2016, Joe has earned more than 40 medals in total. He has played in every US Open in Naples since its inception.

In addition to being an avid pickleball player, Joe is a USA Pickleball certified referee, the USA Pickleball Atlantic Region Referee Training Coordinator, and the founder of two annual pickleball tournaments in New Hampshire.

“The friendships and camaraderie that the activity generates is what I enjoy most about pickleball,” said Joe. “When explaining the sport to someone in one sentence, I tell them that it’s an enjoyable way to exercise the brain and body.”

As the USA Pickleball Atlantic Region Referee Training Coordinator, he works throughout all six New England states to train candidates for certified referee status. In addition, while in Naples each year, he helps train referees at Veterans Park.

Joe and his wife of 53 years, Donna, who is a retired registered nurse, have resided in several states over their more than five decades together as Joe’s career spanned both military and civilian occupations. He joined Air Force ROTC in 1962 during his freshman year at Tufts University and eventually earned the rank
of Colonel as the Cadet ROTC Detachment Commander.

After graduation and attending law school, Joe entered active duty for four years but remained in
the U.S. Air Reserves long enough to retire in 1995 as a colonel. His last assignment was Chief of the Logistics Readiness Center at the Pentagon during the first Gulf War.

Joe’s primary civilian activities have included positions as a plant department manager, director of human resources, and a marketing manager at the headquarters level of two international corporations.

He is also a retired certified public accountant with an MBA who has founded and sold several small business corporations. In addition, he has served as a small business consultant, become a member of more than a dozen boards of directors, testified before the Internal Revenue Service on matters related to taxation, written several authoritative articles and manuals on accounting, and served as a subject matter

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