The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), a not-for-profit corporation established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services, has announced the appointment of James Schmeling as its interim executive director. Schmeling is managing director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, which he co-founded. He will coordinate collaboration between these and other organizations to benefit stakeholders.
In his role with GUDC, Schmeling will collaborate with the board of directors and the committees working on standards and ratings, focus on creating opportunities for current and new members, and promote use of the standards by business and industry, non-governmental organizations and others. Schmeling has extensive experience with the GUDC, having worked as the liaison to GUDC from the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at SU since GUDC’s inception. As managing director of the IVMF he will bring a special focus on veterans and their families, and inclusion of wounded veterans and caregivers.
“This is a natural focus for my volunteer service activities, given my background work at BBI in disability law and policy,” says Schmeling. “As executive director of GUDC, I will give voice to the needs of the veteran and military families community as they relate to Universal Design (UD). Universal Design workplaces will attract the best and brightest veterans and their families as employees. Further, my appointment positions GUDC to have direct and immediate impact in the veteran services community.”
University Professor and BBI Chairman Peter Blanck, also GUDC chairman, says “James has been at the forefront in the creation and growth of other university research centers, and it is a great privilege to partner with James again, given his strong expertise in building organizations; he will be instrumental in helping the GUDC continue its growth and impact.”
UD makes things easier, healthier and friendlier to use for everyone. The GUDC is currently developing UD voluntary consensus standards for commercial buildings, livable communities and products, which will expand access to buildings, communities, products and services for all people. The standards will guide corporations and government entities in the creation of environments free of barriers to social participation, providing diverse users with access to commerce, public services, entertainment and employment opportunities.