Improving lives through invention

Rob Schneider, Executive Director

Rob Schneider is the Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation, the world’s leading philanthropic organization with a mission to improve lives through invention.   The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the U.S., and social and economic progress in low- and middle- income countries. Impact Inventing guides the Foundation’s work to support the people and systems needed to advance invention through the creation of products that have positive social impact, reflect environmental responsibility and lead to financially self-sustaining businesses.

Schneider joined the Foundation in 2018 as its Senior Director of Strategy. In this role, he led the Foundation’s program team and the development of the current five-year strategy, which includes a focus on embedding principles of diversity, equity and inclusion more deeply into organizational goals and activities.  Additionally, he developed relationships with grantees and other foundations and joined national advisory committees led by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Engineering Change Lab. He has also served as a judge for the Growth Accelerator and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst Prize sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Before joining the Foundation in 2018, Schneider served at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Division Chief for Global Partnerships within the Global Development Lab, where he created and managed the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative to support local entrepreneurs around the world.

In addition, Schneider worked with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (now the U.S. Development Finance Corporation), providing loans to spur economic growth and development in countries receiving U.S. Foreign Assistance and with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economic Development Administration, focusing on underserved communities in the U.S.

Prior to his government service, Schneider worked for ten years in a variety of engineering roles in the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors, where he led engineering and product development teams, and managed nation-wide infrastructure procurement programs.

Schneider has an MBA and Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.