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Tom Ridge

Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security

Travels From

District of Columbia


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BIO

The Honorable Tom Ridge is the president and CEO of Ridge Global LLC. As the company’s chief executive, he leads a team of international experts that helps businesses and governments address a range of needs throughout their organizations, including risk management and global trade security, strategic business generation, technology integration, event security, crisis management, campus security and other issues that encompass a diverse portfolio.

Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Tom 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, Secretary 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.  Tom Ridge served as Secretary of this historic and critical endeavor until February 1, 2005.

Before the events of September 11th, Tom 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, Governor Ridge delivered on his promise to make Pennsylvania “a leader among states and a competitor among nations.” Governor Ridge’s aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.

Born August 26, 1945, 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 The 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.

Tom 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, Secretary 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 since 2005, has served as chairman of the National Organization on Disability. Secretary Ridge continues to contribute to matters concerning our nation’s veterans and, along with Gen. Tommy Franks (Ret.), serves as national co-chairman of the Flight 93 Memorial Fundraising Campaign.

Throughout his public and private sector career, Tom 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. Secretary Ridge has also been awarded honorary degrees and awards from many national and international academic institutions.

Tom Ridge and his wife, Michele, reside in Washington, DC, and have two children.


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BOOKS

Trade Paperback
The Test of Our Times
America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

IN THE HARROWING DAYS AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, the President of the United States reached out to one man to help guide the nation in its quest to shore up...

SPEECHES

Global Engagement: A Current Perspective of World Events: The Honorable Tom Ridge has grown from a young sergeant in the battlefields of Vietnam to one of the world’s pre-eminent statesman. Experience marks a presentation that offers a perspective only this respected and trusted leader can bring from his days as soldier, congressman, governor and Cabinet secretary. As a participant on the world stage, Ridge describes the new role that all democracies bring to the international table and the increasing importance of collective leadership in the world. In Ridge’s view, understanding the context of current international influences on America and its allies is critical to sustaining a vital and robust global economy and strong security. In this presentation, Ridge opens the door to a commanding discussion of current events, diplomacy, global engagement and international coalition building as the world confronts critical foreign policy issues in the 21st Century.

International Terrorism and the Future: As the first U.S. secretary of homeland security and the world’s first terrorism czar, no one knows more about the state and scope of international terrorism than Tom Ridge. An engaging and informative speaker, the former secretary and two-term governor of Pennsylvania addresses where the threat is now – and where it could come from tomorrow. In this timely and compelling presentation, Ridge outlines how countries, governments, organizations and businesses in the United States and around the world are threatened by international terrorism, and how they can best meet those threats. As well, Ridge shares what he learned about leading a merger, acquisition and start-up within a blitzing 100-day time frame. Ridge also shows how he set about integrating business practices into a government organization and “branding” the new security department so that its message became part of the culture at large. Additionally, this astute international figure discusses how leadership, communication and new advances in technology can lead to a better and safer world.

Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Security in a Risk-Based World: The inextricable link between security and prosperity in a progressively interdependent world has generated enormous business, political and economic benefits but also consequent challenges. As the interdependence grows, so grows the vulnerability. Terrorism, natural disasters, criminal acts, vendor issues, accidents and geopolitical influences can have debilitating effects on economies and thus have put issues such as supply chain security, cross-border collaborations and security investment at the forefront of every proactive business and government agenda. Secretary Ridge will share his views of today’s risk-centric environment and how to minimize those risks in favor of greater resiliency and security across the globe

Leadership Principles: Defined and Delivered: One of the world’s most visible leaders, Tom Ridge understands that leadership, both individual and collective, requires that we think differently about its meaning and methods. Leadership, he believes, occurs at all levels, and requires more than position or title to drive people and organizations closer toward their goals. Drawing from a remarkable career, Ridge pulls from his varied experiences in Vietnam, the U.S. Congress, the Pennsylvania statehouse, the U.S Cabinet and as CEO of his own consultancy, Ridge Global LLC. In a substantive, good-humored discussion, this consummate leader describes how to create teams that communicate clearly and quickly, and appropriately serve missions that will undoubtedly confront change, crisis and growth. He presents an inspiring perspective that can benefit any individual or team and propel both toward a more accomplished, strategic and focused future.

And More... On special request, Secretary Tom Ridge is available to speak on other issues pertinent to his experience, including: intergovernmental relationships, innovation in education, the value of public service, restoring civil discourse to the political arena, and the safeguarding of civil liberties and Constitutional principles in a new security environment.


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