Get to Know James

Military History

Two months after 9/11, James enlisted in the Army Reserve during his freshman year at the University of Delaware. After postponing his sophomore year to finish training, he returned for winter session in January 2003.  Two weeks into his sophomore year, James’ unit (the 744th Military Police Battalion) was mobilized In March 2003, the 744th deployed to Kuwait and crossed the border into Iraq shortly thereafter. During his year-long tour in Iraq, James started as a prison guard in Naseriyah, Iraq. After his unit was relocated to Baghdad, he became his battalion commander’s gunner, and then driver. On a mission in Baghdad, James’ convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and he received the Combat Action Badge. James was honorably discharged after an 8-year commitment.

Professional Life

James is currently the Executive Director for a statewide nonprofit focused on fighting illiteracy. Previously, James began his career in the finance industry in early 2007 after graduating from the University of Delaware. Shortly after getting hired as an underwriter for Merchant Cash and Capital, located in New York City, he worked his way into a management role at the fledgling company where he managed a team of underwriters responsible for loaning out millions of dollars.

In October 2008, James left finance to join the Newark, DE Police Department. While employed as a police officer, James created several community outreach initiatives, most notably the #HugACop video which won Technically Delaware’s Best Social Media Venture for 2015, and was replicated across the country by multiple police departments.

Personal Life

James was previously the Director of Business Development for Coded by Kids, a non-profit that teaches underserved youth the skills needed to succeed in a tech-driven society. Coded by Kids has served kids at the Kingswood Community Center, the West End Neighborhood House, various Boys and Girls Clubs, and many other locations.

James is a very active musician and plays the guitar throughout Wilmington with Skinner & Spadola and Hall & Spadola.

James Spadola with girlfriend Leanne and rescue dog Hoss

James and his girlfriend Leeanne are raising rescue dog “Hoss,” a tail-less 70 lbs Australian Shepherd/Siberian Husky (and who knows what else!), originally from La Mancha Animal Rescue, who enjoys chewing on expensive dress shoes and slightly-used paper towels.

Education

James received a B.A. in Political Science with honors from the University of Delaware in 2007, a Master’s of Business Administration from Wilmington University in 2014, and completed Leadership Delaware in 2018.

Associations

  • Chair for the Wilmington Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (not to be confused with the Wilmington Housing Partnership)
  • Board member of 1504 North Broom Street Condo Association
  • President of Delaware Avenue Community Association
  • Member of the 8th District Neighborhood Planning Council
  • Executive Committee Board member of REACH Riverside
  • Best Buddies – longest buddy pair in Delaware