Joseph L. Searles III was born in 1940 and graduated from Kansas State University and George Washington University Law School. He was a lawyer, financier and protogé of John V. Lindsay, who was Mayor of New York. He became the first black floor member and broker of the New York Stock exchange on February 12, 1970.
Since that time, he has served two gubernatorial appointments as Chairman and Director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than $600 million. Mr. Searles was the first Chairman of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Harlem and is considered a leading expert in Urban retailing.