Phoenix Specialist uses upbringing to help in city’s work

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Traveling the world is on everyone’s bucket list but, for Joseph MacEwan, it was part of growing up. 

Now the Research Director for the City of Phoenix, Joseph, 27, was born in Egypt but quickly moved to Southeast Asia where he spent most of his developing years.

His father still currently works for a hotel company that focuses on upgrading older hotels all across Asia. The company would send his father to different countries to fix up these under profiting hotels and his family moved with him.

In total, his family moved to over six different countries with sometimes moving back to the same countries, all within the first 18 years of his life. Moving this often when he was younger provided Joseph with an experience different from many Americans. 

“Obviously in hindsight, you always realize just how valuable that experience was at the time it’s just normal but, living in a foreign country was an experience in that itself,” he said.

“There wasn’t this freedom necessarily go out anywhere you want, there’s not necessarily parks to go play at and safety was a big part of growing up not talking to anyone that’s a stranger is typically what you expect growing up but it was more so where we had chaperones at any age going anywhere malls with friend’s movies you always had to have someone with you for safety reasons.”

Joseph was enrolled in the International school system which allowed him to experience American culture while living in Asia. This in term drove him to choose to apply to U.S. colleges upon high school graduation. 

His family ended up settling in Scottsdale, Arizona for some time in the summer of his senior year of high school. His father was called back to move to Bangladesh and with his sister being two years younger than him and also looking into colleges his mother decided they would stay. 

Joseph ended up attending the University of Richmond located in Virginia. He met his wife and his best friend while attending school there. 

His then girlfriend now wife, Ellen MacEwan, first met him while helping out their mutual friend film a music video for his film class. She had never met anyone as well traveled as him because of her small circle in her hometown of Kentucky. 

“It’s another part of who he is he always had interesting stories and I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and I was fortunate to be able to travel around the states a lot but I’d never really been out of the country so meeting someone who’d seen all these different places and experienced all these different cultures, I always love hearing the stories about the places he’s been and the people he’s met and it’s just another interesting thing about him,” she said. 

Joseph’s best friend from college and best man at his wedding, Matthew Eley, first met him when they were living in the same dorm at the University of Richmond. He connected with him through their mutual feeling of not fitting in with the social scene of the dorm.

Matthew has since moved away from Joseph, but the two always find ways to catch up one way or another. He is not surprised by the success Joseph has achieved because of how studious he was in college. 

“He has a great capacity for meeting new people for quickly understanding the dynamics of a conversation of a relationship and making those people feel like he’s interested in them which is 99 percent true.”

Joseph is currently the Research Specialist for the City of Phoenix, a job title that was created through his work as an intern for GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council). 

His job title entails research, report building, and packet building for potential businesses to view. His work is tedious and very challenging but he attributes his success to his upbringing. 

“The most valuable thing I’ve gotten from my upbringing is moving around a lot, meeting different cultures and people is how personable I think I am. I can get along with any type of person of any background and any career or skill.”

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