IVMF and BBI announce deeper strategic partnership focused on veterans; Shaheen appointed IVMF director of employment policy

July 19, 2012

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University are pleased to announce that BBI Senior Vice President Gary Shaheen '86 MPA has joined the IVMF as director of employment policy. BBI will continue to fund Shaheen's work to direct the National Veterans Technical Assistance Center for Homeless Veterans Reintegration Projects (NVTAC-HVRP).

Shaheen's transition builds on existing partnerships between the IVMF and BBI which have been in place for over five years. The collaboration began with the founding of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program in 2007 at SU's Whitman School of Management. BBI provided expertise and content related to disability for EBV curriculum and provided faculty to teach in several of the national EBV Consortium programs. The tie between the IVMF and BBI was further strengthened when former BBI managing director and chief operating officer James Schmeling joined the IVMF as managing director in 2011. BBI and the IVMF have co-authored several grant proposals and developed resources for veterans.

"I'm glad to have Gary join the IVMF team as director of employment policy," says Mike Haynie, IVMF executive director and founder and Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Whitman School. "I've worked with Gary in support of our EBV program, and witnessed firsthand his commitment to veterans and their families. He brings new capacity to the IVMF in services related to employment, mental health, substance abuse, employment and housing support. Further, his addition to our team demonstrates SU's commitment to a collaborative approach to serving our nation's veterans and military families."

"This transition and investment builds upon an already fruitful partnership between BBI and the IVMF," says Peter Blanck, BBI chairman and University Professor. "Our class-leading institutes have been excellent collaborators on past projects and grants, and engaging our experts to further the status of veterans with disabilities and their families. Gary's transition fits his interests, and his expertise is needed in the veteran space. We're enthused to build SU's capacity to serve these diverse stakeholders."

Shaheen joined BBI in 2007 as managing director for program development and was appointed senior vice president in 2011. During his five-year tenure, he helped secure and manage over $7.5 million in grants and contracts, led the development of the Inclusive Entrepreneurship model and created and taught a course on the topic at the Whitman School, which received a 2010 SU Chancellor's Award. He has been BBI's lead curricula developer and trainer on veterans' employment issues.

Shaheen will work with the IVMF to develop programs and improve policies that impact veterans in the areas of employment, housing and supportive services. The expanded partnership will enhance the IVMF's capacity to develop programs and inform policy in these areas, particularly for veterans with mental health illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or substance abuse challenges. Shaheen brings to the IVMF extensive experience with New York state government, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) initiatives.

"The IVMF is excited to build on our partnership with BBI to further our mission of serving all veterans, including veterans with disabilities. I'm enthused to have Gary Shaheen working with us on a daily basis," says James Schmeling, IVMF managing director and co-founder. "Given Gary's expertise and deep ties to BBI, we will continue to expand Syracuse University's collaborative ability to address veteran and military family issues."