Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge joins GAC speaker lineup

January 21, 2015

WASHINGTON (1/22/15)--Legislator, governor and inaugural Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has been scheduled as a keynote speaker at the Credit Union National Association's 2015 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).

Ridge joins media influencer and business leader Arianna Huffington, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as confirmed keynote speakers for the annual event.

Click to view larger imageFormer U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, center, talked about credit unions and security last summer with CUNA's Richard Gose and Ryan Donovan, from left, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association President/CEO Pat Conway and American Heritage FCU President/CEO Bruce Foulke. (PCUA Photo)

"Credit unions are continuously working to prevent cyberattacks," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. "Gov. Ridge's extensive cybersecurity background will provide invaluable insight at a time when data breaches and digital security are of paramount concern. It's a pleasure to welcome him to this year's CUNA GAC speaker lineup."

Ridge is currently CEO of Ridge Global, a firm of international experts that addresses risk management, global trade security, emergency preparedness and response, strategic growth, infrastructure protection and crisis management. Ridge is also co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Ridge Schmidt Cyber LLC.

Ridge served as a U.S. Army infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, and became one of the first enlisted Vietnam veterans to serve in the U.S. House when he was elected to represent Pennsylvania's 21st District in 1982. He served in Congress until he was elected governor of Pennsylvania in 1994.

President George W. Bush created the Office of Homeland Security in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and tapped Ridge to head the agency. It was eventually renamed the Department of Homeland Security with the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The GAC is scheduled for March 8-12 in Washington, D.C. The event draws more than 4,000 credit union professionals, supporters and activists with the goal of advancing the credit union movement.