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James Schmeling, J.D., is Executive Vice President for Student Veterans of America. He joined the SVA team in December, 2015. At SVA he is responsible for development, collaborations with business and industry and VSOs, and engaging with colleges and universities, higher education associations, foundations, and other stakeholders focused on higher education, veterans, and transition from military service to the workforce through higher education. He built the Business and Industry Roundtable as a way to engage SVA chapters with companies focused on student veterans as part of their corporate citizenship and their talent acquisition needs. Founding members of the Business and Industry Roundtable include Accenture, Aetna, Amazon, BASF, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast/NBC Universal, Deloitte, Edelman, Edward Jones, First Data, Gartner, General Dynamics, JPMorgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, LMI, Lockheed Martin, Meijer, Microsoft, Nestle, Prudential/PGIM, PwC, Raytheon, and USAA.
Prior to joining SVA, Schmeling co-founded the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, and was appointed as its first managing director. He supervised the Research mission area from IVMF's founding in 2011 through 2014 when IVMF hired its first director of research and the Programs mission area, which included transition, employment, education and training programs: the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV); the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans-Families (EBV-F); the Veterans Career Transition Program (VCTP), (over 35 industry-certified career paths); the Transition Assistance Program: Boots to Business Program; Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (VWISE); and, VetNet.
Schmeling’s work on veteran-inclusive employment included collaboration with GE for the Get Skills to Work initiative, and for a veteran employment toolkit – Veteran Employment Leading Practices: Tools for Engaging Talent; collaboration with JPMC’s Veteran Jobs Mission (over 200 major business and industry partners who have hired almost 300,000 veterans), and he serves on the Veterans Employment Advisory Committee for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative. He has lectured in the Disney Institute Heroes Work Here program, and has trained veteran and family member entrepreneurs in SBA-funded training and education programs.
Schmeling helped found the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business with First Data and IVMF. CVOB members include American Express, BP America, FleishmanHillard, KKR, La Quinta, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SunTrust Banks, USAA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Verizon Communications Inc., Walmart and Sam’s Club, and the Walt Disney Company. CVOBs focus is inclusion of veteran and spouse owned businesses in business to business commerce opportunities and supply chain diversity programs.
As an academic administrator and intrapreneur, Schmeling co-founded two, and built three, highly successful publicly-engaged institutes in public and private universities with between 35 and 60 employees in each. He administered or implemented over $90 million in grant funding, and authored or co-authored proposals directly resulting in over $45 million in funding, as well as being co-principal investigator or principal investigator on over $16.3 million in funded projects. He has lead and served on several non-profit boards, including currently serving on the board of directors of Corporate America Supports You and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network. Schmeling has published on veteran policy, employment practices, entrepreneurship and disability, study of corporate culture, disability as a component of diversity, and more, in peer-reviewed law and social science journals. Schmeling has been widely quoted in news media including the Washington Post, The Guardian, Military Times, Stars & Stripes, the Washington Times, Inc. Magazine, USAA magazine, regional and local news sources, in print, on the radio, and on television, and speaks regularly to national conferences on veteran education, employment, and entrepreneurship, and to elected and appointed officials at state and national levels.
Schmeling is a U.S. Air Force veteran, served 6+ years, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Post-service he earned his law degree, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law, and his B.A. in political science with a minor in international studies (Latin America) from Iowa State University.
He is married to Eugenia Hernandez, a corporate attorney, and has three adult children, Derek, Shane, and Nicole.