Meet Joe

Joe Rockey is running to be the next Allegheny County Executive – a role to which he brings a lifetime of community service and a deep understanding of how to build consensus and get things done.

The 58-year-old Ohio Township executive’s life journey began in a working-class home on a hill in Pittsburgh’s North Side, where he worked his way through school and rose in the business world to become a top executive at one of the nation’s leading financial institutions.

“My life’s journey has been about facing difficult challenges and turning them into concrete solutions that work for people,” Rockey said. “As County Executive, I want to create a vibrant economy with abundant jobs so families will have better lives and brighter futures.”

Joe Rockey knows what it means to overcome adversity. His father became sick when Rockey was five and was unable to work. His mother reentered the workforce in her 40s in a part-time job at minimum wage. He was the fifth of six children. Things were not easy.

That’s why Rockey understands the importance of social safety nets, because they stood between his family and poverty. His family relied on food stamps and other government assistance to get by. He remembers walking to grocery stores – the family had no car – to use the multi-colored coupons that helped to feed his family.

He worked odd jobs to pay his tuition at North Catholic High School. There were spots stocking groceries, cleaning classrooms, working at a mattress store, delivering newspapers. It meant mornings spent on the bus to reach the campus of Duquesne University, then taking a bus back home at night because he couldn’t afford a dorm room, all while holding down various jobs to pay for it all.

Today, Rockey is the retired chief risk officer at PNC Financial Services, one of the region’s major employers. He is also a key player in the county’s volunteer sector. Rockey is a results-oriented, independent thinker, in search of practical solutions instead of political talk.

“The main question is what works for people?” he said. “County government is there to deliver services and build the community. Progress demands cooperation, not confrontation.”

Joe Rockey isn’t interested in climbing the political ladder. He’s running for County Executive to grow our community, improve the system, and build a county government focused on better lives for Allegheny County’s citizens.

Proud of his business career, Joe Rockey is prouder still of his family and the example he set with his volunteer work. He helped to create a residence for the city’s homeless, serves on the boards of St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality and the Little Sisters of the Poor home on the North Side. He was president of Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital, is a past board member at Oakland Catholic High School, and still holds board positions at Catholic Charities, Saint Joseph’s House of Hospitality and his alma mater, Duquesne University.

His community involvement and life experiences shape his desire to push our county to do more for those in need. He has seen the impact of health issues on both the children and their families through the Ronald McDonald House, the challenges of financial and food insecurity, and funding quality education through his own childhood, the individual and community effect of homelessness through Second Avenue Commons and St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, and the critical importance of quality affordable elder care through the Little Sisters.

This same live-and-learn philosophy shapes his run for County Executive. He sees a region at risk and a county with untapped potential.

“Joe’s the epitome of the American Dream,” said his wife of 36 years, Diana. “He started with virtually nothing. Joe worked extremely hard his entire career to make life better for our family and everyone around him.”

The couple married in 1986 and moved into a home just a few blocks from the one where he was raised. They have three children: Joseph Jr., Lauren, and Paul. All three still reside in Allegheny County. With five grandchildren, that’s a dream-come-true for the Rockeys and one they want to make possible for other Allegheny County families. The Rockeys worship at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Polish Hill.

In the 24 years since Allegheny County voters created the position of County Executive, the county has enjoyed steady leadership. Rockey sees the leftward direction of the current Democratic Party as a threat to progress with a major potential for discord.

“We don’t need confrontation. We need consensus,” he said. “Allegheny County is our home. It’s our future. Together, we can ensure our future is bright.”

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