John joined AMIIC as its founding Executive Director in April 2021. In this capacity, John is responsible for overseeing the strategic planning and operations, providing leadership and direction to the Advisory Board and Board of Directors, working to establish AMIIC as a recognized advanced manufacturing center of excellence in Northern Alabama.
Prior to his AMIIC appointment, John contracted with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) through his consulting firm, Schmitt Consulting Group LLC, working closely with personnel in the NCDMM Huntsville office.
In 2019, John retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after more than 20 years of service from a diverse career as a U.S. Army Aviator and Acquisition Corps Officer. He completed two combat tours in Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, maintenance test pilot, and company commander. In 2012, John moved to Huntsville, serving as an Acquisition Corps Officer at Redstone Arsenal tasked with the development and delivery of major weapon systems. His assignments in this capacity included the Fixed Wing and Apache Program Offices, the Joint Multi-Role Technical Demonstration office, the Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center, and the Cargo Helicopter Project Office.
Within the Huntsville community, John is an active, dynamic, and dedicated participant. He proudly serves on the boards of Little Orange Fish, a community-based mental health nonprofit; GeneCapture, Inc., a biotechnology company; and Rocket City Civil Rights LLC, a nonprofit that seeks to archive, advocate, and assist in social reform rooted in Huntsville’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Additionally, John is a founding member of the Inner Defense Initiative, a research collaborative committed to serving victims of post-traumatic stress through biopsychology. He is also a published songwriter and founder of Listen Local Huntsville LLC.
Prior to moving to Huntsville, John was an Assistant Professor and Course Director within the Department of Chemistry and Life Science at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
John holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis and a M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.