Joe was born on December 21, 1963, in De Pere, Wisconsin, to parents Therese and Robert Mettner. In 1982, he graduated as Valedictorian from Abbot Pennings High School in De Pere. He then attended the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration (1986) and a juris doctorate (1992). Joe had a passion for public policy and was devoted to public service.
He began working for Governor Tommy Thompson while still in law school and, in 1993, Governor Thompson appointed him to serve as a Commissioner on the Tax Appeals Commission. He served in that role until 1996, when he was appointed as one of three members—and later as chairman—of the state's Public Service Commission.
In 2003, he left the Commission to form his own utility-regulation consulting firm, Found Lake Consulting, which he named after the lake his father fished. Joe had a contagious fascination with life. He approached everything he did with extraordinary enthusiasm, dedication, humor, and love—whether in the role of father, husband, brother, friend, or public servant. Joe was a net giver in life. He was most happy when he was helping others -- professionally and personally -- and he donated a great amount of time to tending to the needs of both friends and strangers. Joe loved his family more than anything and felt a full heart spending as much time as possible with his wife and daughters. They were, as he would say, "his peace and his joy." He touched the lives of many, including those to whom at death he gave the gift of life. Joe is survived by his wife Michelle and his three young daughters, Sara, Kelsey, and Johanna.