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Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge is the CEO of Ridge Global, LLC. As the company's chief executive, Ridge leads a team of international experts that help businesses and governments address a range of needs throughout their organizations, including security and infrastructure protection, emergency preparedness and response, energy, strategic growth, maritime management and other issues that encompass a diverse portfolio. He also serves as chairman of Ridge Insurance Solutions Company, which he launched in October 2014 partnering with five Lloyds of London syndicates to provide an innovative cyber insurance offering designed to help clients' manage digital risk more effectively. He is the co-founder of the strategic advisory firm, Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cyber security. And, he is a founding partner of the Ridge Policy Group, a full service government affairs firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg, PA.Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Ridge became the first assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The creation of the country's 15th Cabinet Department marked the largest reorganization of government since the Truman administration and another call to service for the former soldier, congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. During his tenure, Ridge worked with more than 180,000-plus employees from a combined 22 agencies to create an agency that facilitated the flow of people and goods, instituted layered security at air, land and seaports, developed a unified national response and recovery plan, protected critical infrastructure, integrated new technology and improved information sharing worldwide. Ridge served as Secretary of this historic and critical endeavor until February 1, 2005.Before the events of September 11th, Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania. He served as the state's 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Known for his commitment to high standards and results, Ridge delivered on his promise to make Pennsylvania "a leader among states and a competitor among nations." Ridge's aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state's advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment. Born in Pittsburgh's Steel Valley, Ridge was raised in a working-class family in veterans' public housing in Erie. He earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967. After his first year at Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the “Bronze Star for Valor”, the “Combat Infantry Badge” and the “Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry”. After returning to Pennsylvania and to Dickinson, he earned his law degree and was in private practice before becoming assistant district attorney in Erie County.Ridge was elected to Congress in 1982. He was one of the first Vietnam combat veterans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and was overwhelmingly re-elected by Pennsylvania voters five times. An engaging and dynamic speaker, Ridge regularly addresses audiences throughout the world on issues, such as security, terrorism, global engagement, leadership, technology and more. Additionally, the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security serves on the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and other private and public entities, and serves as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Security Task Force and the National Organization on Disability. Ridge continues to contribute to matters concerning our nation's veterans and, along with General Tommy Franks (Ret.), serves as national co-chairman of the Flight 93 Memorial Fundraising Campaign.Throughout his public and private sector career, Ridge has received numerous honors, including the “Woodrow Wilson Award”, the Veterans of Foreign Wars' “Dwight D. Eisenhower Award”, the John F. Kennedy “National Award”, the Ellis Island “Medal of Honor”, the American Bar Association's “John Marshall Award”, the National Guard's “Harry S. Truman Award”, the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation's “Conservationist of the Year Award”, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce's “Good Neighbor Award”, the American Cancer Society's prestigious “National Medal of Honor”, the “Mister Rogers Award”, the “Champion of Public Television Award”, the “Intrepid Freedom Award” and the “Esperanza Leadership Award”. Ridge has also been awarded honorary degrees and awards from many national and international academic institutions.Ridge and his wife, Michele, have two children.