Dr. Joe Fratesi

Dr. Joe Fratesi


  • Administration


  • Assistant Director for Community Development



Dr. Fratesi joined the Stennis Institute in 2010 to help coordinate and lead project and program activities related to local community and economic development.

For nearly 20 years Joe has been helping communities and organizations collaboratively design and manage transformations to help them become more resilient and competitive. He strongly believes that “sparkplugs” exist in every community or organization, and with the proper structure and support, they can go on to accomplish amazing results. Joe has a strong passion for and a commitment to helping these “sparkplugs” realize their own potential and capacities.

Joe brings a deep understanding of practical community engagement and collaborative strategy development to each project. He has been engaged by over 120 community, industry, higher education, and non-profit clients to not only develop collaborative improvement strategies but implement those strategies as well. The result is inspired leaders armed with clear results to be achieved and the needed collaboration and implementation tools to achieve them.

Joe holds a B.S. degree in History, a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration, and a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development, all awarded from Mississippi State University. He is both a Certified Strategic Doing™ Workshop Leader and a Certified Strategic Doing™ Fellow. Prior to joining the Stennis Institute in 2010, Joe was Director of the Mississippi State Community Action Team, a Governmental Training Specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, and a City Planner for the City of Germantown, TN.

Joe is an active volunteer and advocate for community engagement and change in his own town, where he is involved with several improvement efforts and organizations. He and his wife Sarah are the proud parents of three children --Nate, Caleb, and Leah-- and reside in Starkville, MS.