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Smullen starts as Clear Path for Vets CEO of advancement & strategy

By Eric Reinhardt


It’s a new position for the Chittenango–based nonprofit  

The Chittenango–based nonprofit Clear Path for Veterans says F. William (Bill) Smullen (left) has begun his new role as CEO of advancement and strategy. Pictured with Smullen are Melissa Spicer, co-founder and executive director of Clear Path for Veterans, and Alex Behm, COO of Clear Path. (PHOTO CREDIT: CLEAR PATH FOR VETERANS WEBSITE)

CHITTENANGO — A former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell assumed a leadership role at the Chittenango–based nonprofit Clear Path for Veterans this summer.

The organization’s board of directors appointed F. William (Bill) Smullen to its new position of CEO of advancement and strategy. 

The nonprofit developed the position “in response to the rapid growth of the organization and the need for its wrap-around programs and services,” per a July 11 Clear Path news release.

Smullen most recently served as director of national-security studies at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (SU) for 16 years. He was also Maxwell’s senior fellow in national security and a member of the faculty at SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications as a professor of public relations.

Over the past three years, Clear Path for Veterans has expanded its presence in the Northeast to include a satellite location in the Southern Tier; a licensee in Devens, Massachusetts; and one in the Hudson Valley region. The Chittenango headquarters staff will train each location on how to provide the programs and services that “mirror its holistic approach to veterans care,” Clear Path said.

Melissa Spicer, Clear Path’s co-founder and executive director, will remain focused on the Chittenango–based facility, while Smullen will be externally focused on development and supporting its programs and services in the expansion communities.

“It is a high honor to be chosen for an association with an incredible organization that is committed to the supportive programs to those who have served this nation,” Smullen said. “My commitment to Clear Path and its cause of improving the physical and emotional well-being of veterans and their families is a privilege for which I am very grateful.”

A retired Army Colonel, Smullen spent 30 years on active duty. Prior to coming to Syracuse, where he has resided for 16 years, he was the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and of the U.S. Department of State. As Powell’s principal advisor, he was responsible for monitoring and evaluating the formulation and implementation of departmental policies. He was also involved in the planning and development of concept strategy associated with foreign-policy matters.

“Every organization strives to find the right people with the right experience and perspective at the right time,” Chris Flaherty, chair of Clear Path’s board of directors, said in the release. “The board and I consider Bill Smullen to be exactly that for Clear Path. We look forward to collaborating with him, so together we can help our veterans, their families and our communities thrive here in Upstate New York and across the country.”   

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