Joe Valerio was born and raised in the Rogers Park neighborhood. He left to study, staying on in Los Angeles to join Chrysalis Corporation, a multi-disciplinary group of architects, artists, and scientists, completing a number of adventurous projects including the inner theater at the Pepsi-Cola Pavillion at Expo 70 in Osaka. Later he taught at the University of Wisconsin, continuing to practice as COW, Chrysalis of Wisconsin. In 1985, he returned home, working for A. Epstein and Sons for two years as Vice President of Architecture. In 1988, Mr. Valerio founded Valerio Associates.