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Governor Tom Ridge, first secretary of homeland security, will present during the second general session on Friday, September 23, 2010.

Governor Tom Ridge

Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Ridge became the first assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, he became the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 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. Ridge's aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state's advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.