Author | Activist | Keynote Speaker
Sergio R. Rodriguez was born in June 1980 in Santiago, The Dominican Republic and grew up in Copiague, Long Island where he went to Walter G. O'Connell. Sergio is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of GI Bill Magazine, a website covering veterans and military education news. He is the author and creator of the illustrated children's book Little Santa Claus, a story which imparts Christmas themed values.
Sergio joined the United States Marine Corps in November of 1998. After enlisting, he was assigned to 2nd Radio Battalion based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and became a Sergeant. Serving in that capacity, he completed two deployments with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2003.
As a student of Medaille College, he earned an AS in Business (2007 - Magna Cum Laude) and a BS in Business Management at D'Youville College (2009 - Cum Laude).
He then went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College in 2012. This experience broadened his horizons and helped educate him about the importance of a systems-thinking approach to strategic planning and management in community and business organizations.
In 2008, he became Deputy Director of the Erie County Veterans Service Agency (ECVSA). In 2010, he left ECVSA to join Medaille College as Coordinator of the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs. During his time in this position, he has led the school to garner national recognition as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times Magazine and “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs Magazine.
Serving as President of the Los Tainos Senior Citizens Center, Sergio volunteers his time at this non-profit organization which provides services to low-income senior citizens on Buffalo's West Side. Additionally, he volunteers as a mentor at the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court. Sergio is the founding chairman of the Veterans and Military Friendly Schools Consortium of WNY, as well as the Hispanic American Veterans Memorial Committee of WNY. Continuing his volunteer efforts Sergio serves on the board of directors for several organizations. These include: The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York; The Veterans Business Council of WNY; The Boy Scouts of America Greater Niagara Frontier Council; and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
In May 2010, the Small Business Administration named Sergio Rodriguez the Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for New York State and Region II, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. In 2011 Sergio was recepient of Hispanics United of Buffalo’s “Nuestro Orgullo” (Our Pride) Award. In November 2011, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership's BN360 Advisory Committee selected Sergio as a 2012 Spotlight Professionals designee, which showcases the area's best and brightest who are "poised to become our region's Ones to Watch in the coming year". In 2014, as it celebrated leadership, diversity and achievement, the Hispanic Coalition of New York State named Sergio one of its "40 under 40 Rising Stars".
In 2012, he founded Luminant Digital Media LLC, a new media company offering a diverse portfolio of digital publications. LDM properties are found across the largest global distribution platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. LDM flagship properties include Military News Channel - the premier digital media distributor of Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs produced videos.
In 2013, while stressing the need for leadership, vision and a sense of urgency within the city's top elected post, Sergio launched an historic campaign, becoming the first American of Hispanic descent to run for Mayor of Buffalo. His relentless focus on providing the best solutions to issues that matter most in the community - education, crime, poverty and unemployment - resonated with over 10,000 city residents who cast their ballot for Sergio's proven leadership and vision.
Sergio believes the City of Buffalo is on the verge of a renaissance and making a comeback. Today, Sergio is compiling “101 Illuminating Ideas for the City of Light: How We Can Rebuild Buffalo”, a book project slated for Fall of 2014 release by Buffalo Heritage Unlimited. He currently resides in Buffalo, NY.