Thomas J. Ridge is Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of RIDGE-LANE Limited Partners, a merchant-bank founded with R. Brad Lane, which sponsors Public-Private Partnerships to improve the nation’s infrastructure, Economic Development programs to spur growth in key U.S. cities, and corporate development for private companies with defense, homeland security and commercial application.
Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Governor Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and eventually 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 DHS tenure, Secretary Ridge worked with more than 180,000 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 was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania. He served as the state’s 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Governor Ridge’s aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment. He 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. He is currently chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Security Task Force. He graduated from Harvard with honors. 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, later, became one of the first Vietnam combat veterans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served six terms.