“From Farming to Finance:” Joseph Spiering (‘11) on Finding His Career Home

“One of my favorite things about Wyoming Catholic was the attention that even a single student got from the staff, faculty, administration,” recalled Joseph Spiering (’11), an alumnus from the very first class of Wyoming Catholic. “You could see everyone you wanted to at lunch—you and a group of students could find yourself talking to the president, or to a theology professor, or a classmate and have a truly profound conversation.” Joseph recently took a few minutes to speak with us about his trajectory since graduation, the ways he has enjoyed giving back to the state of Wyoming, and where he finds himself now.

After graduation, Joseph worked on a farm for a year, and then got a journalism fellowship in Washington DC at the National Journalism Center, where he worked with The Voice of America, an international publicity arm of the government. “That was a bit of a left field job opportunity–it just worked out,” Joseph said. “While there, I visited  then Wyoming Congressman Cynthia Lummis’ office. In the Spring I landed an internship with Congressman Lummis, and eventually became the press secretary, where I worked  until winter of 2016.”

In 2016, Joseph was engaged, and decided with his fiancee that DC wasn’t the place for them to raise a family. He set his sights back west, and became a communications professional and lobbyist in Wyoming for the AGC of Wyoming which represents the heavy, highway, and commercial construction industry of Wyoming. “I would help with press releases and communications, but the majority was working with the state government to negotiate and develop best practices and policies between the government, WYDOT, the Transportation Commission, the Building Commision, and commercial clients.” 

The client members were general contractors who built schools, bridges, roads, and public buildings. Questions could range from size of rock chips to use on a given road to how to best advertise bidding for a public school project. It was “all statesmanship—in the best sense,” he quipped. During the years he worked in Cheyenne, from 2016 to 2019, Joseph also attended the University of Wyoming school of business, where he earned an Executive Masters in Business Administration.

With this degree, Joseph was able to move closer to family in Arizona, where he began working in a private family office helping manage a single family’s assets. A friend in the office connected Joseph with the job. “I guess I’m a quick study, because I had to acquire the skills on the job. It was an entry level position so I could grow my skill set, and move up,” Joseph said. Tasks involved portfolio management and stocks analysis. “We manage the wealth of our client—a physician involved in cancer research—to steward his assets and to fulfill his personal and long-term aspirations, goals, and estate wishes.” 

“I think I’ve found my career home,” Joseph said. “Every step has been a good step, but this is a great position to be in and I wouldn’t be surprised if God keeps me here.” Now he is working to become a Chartered Financial Analyst—the gold standard certification of the financial industry with a focus on investment and wealth management. “I’ve completed level 2 and am working on level 3 right now,” Joseph explained of the 3-5 year certification process. “The basic concepts are straightforward, but the actual experience of investing is humbling because you can never truly master the markets. They’re more like the ocean and you have to do your best to ride the waves.”

“It’s funny,” Joseph noted, “to realize that the estate or heritage of real value is that which Wyoming Catholic offers: being part of the ‘great conversation’ of civilization through reading the Great Books, experiencing the outdoors; and what I look forward to passing on to my children in the home—the heritage of the Catholic faith that Christ gave us to start with, and which has been reinforced from ancient times to now.”

“I can’t imagine what sort of parent I’d be without this education.” Joseph openly acknowledged his liberal arts education greatly informs his parenting in a way that is “hard to quantify.” With his wife Rachel (whom he met on a tennis court in DC), a University of Dallas alumna with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis, Joseph has four children, ages six to four months—three girls, and the last a boy (“Hurray,” cheered Joseph).

“My liberal arts education has really helped me most directly in seeing the whole picture of life: it drives you to look at the whole picture, not just at one field such as biology or literature, but all of man and the world. This is especially true of Wyoming Catholic’s outdoor program. I would say that when it comes to the market, portfolio, or estate management, this education helps you keep the whole thing in mind, and ensure all the parts are united towards the goals.”

For anyone interested in combining the liberal arts with a financial management position, Joseph had this advice: “The hard part is initially getting your foot in the door. If you are a liberal arts grad, then you have to show them what it means to be liberally trained, the courtesy, respect, docility that you’ve learned–then it works wonders. The docility I learned at WCC has served me throughout, and is what made me teachable in all these different career areas.”

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