The Honorable Tom Ridge
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 DHS 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. 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 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.
Secretary Ridge is currently Chief Executive Officer of Ridge Global, an international security and risk management advisory firm. He serves as 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 cybersecurity. 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.
An engaging and dynamic speaker, Secretary Ridge regularly addresses audiences on a range of issues, including international business, security and leadership. Additionally, 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 National Organization on Disability and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Security Task Force.
John J. Fleming, III
John J. Fleming, III is co-founder and President of Ridge Insurance Solutions Company. John is a senior insurance executive with extensive experience in delegated authority facilities, underwriting & claim management, and is recognized for his ability in operational, management, and growth strategies within the specialty property & casualty marketplace.
During his 27 year career, John's abilities and valued relationships in the specialty insurance and legal industries have assisted companies and clients define core business, implement operational, underwriting, and claim best practices in executing global business strategies, while achieving organizational growth and revenue goals.
John's relationship with certain underwriters at Lloyd's, London and the London Market with proven track record of successful start up programs and companies was instrumental in developing Ridge's flagship model for cyber insurance. John has worked with many of the Lloyd's syndicates on various specialty insurance programs for over 20 years.
John will direct over-all business operations including underwriting, product development, price modeling, and marketing.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from West Chester University (Pennsylvania).
Chief Executive Officer
Steve Kohler is Chief Executive Officer of Ridge Insurance Solutions Company, and Executive Vice President at Ridge Global, the international security, risk management and business consulting firm founded by Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security and 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kohler spearheads Ridge Global's growth initiatives and identifies strategies that further market position of both the company and clients.
Mr. Kohler previously served as president of Space Florida, a statewide Special District focused on economic development within the Florida aerospace economic sector. Before that, Mr. Kohler was the president of Winner Global Defense, a privately held company that focuses on military and non-military applications of aircraft countermeasures and laser-based detection technologies. Earlier, he served as senior vice president for Corporate Advisory Services for CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he specialized in office and industrial real estate development, private and public finance and brokerage, including developing partnerships with public-sector organizations.
In June 1996, then-Governor Ridge appointed Kohler to lead the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team, where he was responsible for the Team's configuration of financial incentive proposals for industrial and business expansion projects.
He holds a bachelor's degree in Urban Studies from Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania. He has also completed two years of continuing education at the Economic Development Institute, University of Oklahoma and the University of Maryland.