Former Homeland Security Secretary Ridge to Open NSC's 95th Congress

The last time the National Safety Council held its annual Congress & Expo in Chicago was in 2003, the same year former Pennsylvania Governor Thomas J. Ridge became the nation's first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Ridge held that post and helped define it until Feb. 1, 2005. During his tenure, he worked with more than 180,000 employees from a combined 22 agencies to create a border-centric 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, improved the sharing of information nationwide, protected critical infrastructure, and developed and integrated technology to further secure the country.

Still only months into the job at the time, Ridge took time off from his duties long enough to address those gathered for the 91st annual Congress & Expo, and he will do the same this year, serving as the Opening Session speaker for the 95th version of the event, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at McCormick Place, Lakeside Center, Arie Crown ballroom.

Since leaving his Homeland Security post, Ridge has continued consulting on security and risk-related matters, making him a particularly appropriate repeat choice for inaugurating this year's Congress, which offers more focus on those subjects than ever before.

Ridge's perspectives on "Leadership and Preparing for the Unknown" will be the first of several notable addresses from national leaders during the event. For example, a mere half-hour after Ridge leaves the stage, FEMA administrator R. David Paulison will take the same podium to deliver the Emergency Preparedness Keynote (10-11:30 a.m.), followed by the afternoon's Occupational Keyonte (1:30-3 p.m.), which welcomes back OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr., MSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Richard Stickler, and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. The Safe Communities Keynote and Motivational Keynote take place Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, from 8-9:30 a.m.

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