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James Schmeling, J.D., is Executive Vice President, Strategic Engagement for Student Veterans of America. He joined the SVA team in December, 2015. Schmeling had previously collaborated with SVA on various research projects, and had been a regular speaker at SVA conferences for the past several years.
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 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 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 served on the Veterans Employment Advisory Committee for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative. He has lectured at the Disney Institute Heroes Work Here summit, and regularly trains veteran 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. 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, Washington Times, Inc., USAA magazine, regional and local news sources, in print, on the radio, and on television, and speaks regularly to national conferences on veteran 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 his daughter Nicole who is currently a junior in chemical engineering at Syracuse University.