Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

: Gala 2013

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Pillar Award for Leadership

Senator John Boozman (R-AR)
United States Senate





John Boozman, a successful businessman and life-long resident of Arkansas, was sworn-in as U.S. Senator on January 5, 2011.


Raised in Fort Smith, John graduated from Northside High School and went on to play football for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks while completing his pre-optometry requirements. He graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in 1977 and entered private practice that same year co-founding a family business with his brother that would ultimately become a major provider of eye care to Northwest Arkansas.


For five terms, John served the people of the Third District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, establishing a reputation as an advocate for Arkansans and the needs of our veterans and our state’s economy.


During his tenure in the House, John played a crucial role in improving the transition to civilian life for our veterans, expanding treatments for our wounded warriors and modernizing educational benefits under the GI Bill.


John’s work on the international stage during his tenure in the House helped make Arkansas a larger player in global trade. In 2007, his efforts to bring together Third District and state leaders with the international community culminated in the creation the Arkansas World Trade Center (AWTC) in Rogers, which opened in 2007. Since its opening, John and the AWTC have hosted numerous foreign dignitaries, diplomats and government leaders in an effort to open new markets for Arkansas’s goods and services.


In the 113th Congress, John will serve on four committees in the Senate: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Appropriations; Environment and Public Works (EPW); and Veterans’ Affairs. His main legislative priority remains getting Arkansas’s economy back on track. Since agriculture accounts for nearly one-quarter of Arkansas’s economic activity, John has used his seat on the Agriculture Committee to fight for an equitable farm bill to ensure that Arkansas’s farmers, ranchers and loggers are protected. While an equitable farm bill is one way that the federal government can help Arkansas’s farmers, over-regulating is one way it can harm them. For that reason, John uses his seat on the EPW Committee works to limit the size and intrusiveness of the federal government. And in this particularly difficult economy, John remains committed to providing our veterans with economic opportunities to ensure they can assume their rightful role as an indispensable part of America’s work force.


Prior to his election to Congress, John served two terms on the Rogers School Board, which is one of the largest school districts in the state. He established the low vision program at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock and worked as a volunteer optometrist at an area clinic that provides medical services to low-income families. John successfully raised Polled Hereford cattle that were competitive in the show ring, as well as in bull testing at Oklahoma State University.


John, 62, is married to the former Cathy Marley and they currently reside in Rogers, AR. The couple has three daughters and one granddaughter.



Pillar Award for Professional Achievement

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
United States Senate





In 2006, Amy Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate. Throughout her public service - both as chief prosecutor in the state's largest county and now as a U.S. Senator - Amy has always embraced the values she learned growing up in Minnesota. Her grandfather worked 1500 feet underground in the iron ore mines of Northern Minnesota. Her father, Jim, was a newspaperman, and her mother, Rose, was an elementary school teacher who continued teaching until she was 70.  Amy has taken these Minnesota values to heart to get results for the people of the North Star state.

On January 4, 2007, Amy Klobuchar took the oath of office to represent the people of Minnesota in the United States Senate.

Before being elected to public office, she was the leading advocate for successful passage of one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing 48-hour hospital stays for new moms and their babies.

In 1998, after serving as a partner of two of Minnesota's leading law firms, Amy was elected to serve as the prosecutor for Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and 45 suburbs. During her eight years as County Attorney, Amy made the prosecution of violent and career criminals her top priority. She was a leading advocate for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law, for which she received a leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts, and criminal justice reforms earned national awards, including from the U.S. Department of Justice under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. She was elected by her colleagues to serve as president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.

In 2006, the people of Minnesota elected Amy to be their U.S. Senator. Since arriving in the Senate, Amy has been a strong advocate for middle-class families and Minnesota values on the critical issues facing our nation, from promoting long-term economic growth and job creation to bringing fiscal responsibility and accountability to Washington, from supporting our Minnesota businesses, workers, and farmers to developing homegrown energy.

Amy has always understood her first duty is to represent the interests of the people of Minnesota. She acted quickly to obtain full funding for the I-35W bridge, the eight-lane highway which was rebuilt in a record nine months after tragically falling into the Mississippi River. She fought to ensure that Minnesota National Guard members received the full benefits they earned, and helped turn Minnesota's ground-breaking "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program into a national model. She worked closely with Minnesota farmers to pass a strong Farm Bill in 2008 to boost the state's agriculture industry. And she has helped hundreds of Minnesota families navigate the difficult and complicated international adoption process.

At the national level Amy took the lead to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and helped push through a new law to protect children from unsafe swimming pools. She also authored a bipartisan law to establish national health standards for formaldehyde in composite wood products, protecting public health and ensuring an even playing field between domestic wood products and foreign imports. She was part of a group of senators who fought for the creation of a bipartisan commission to address our nation's looming debt crisis. And she helped pass the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.


As Vice Chair of The Joint Economic Committee and a member of the President's Export Council as well as the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Amy has been a leading voice in calling for an innovation agenda that can help grow our economy and create good jobs in America. She has authored legislation to help small businesses tap into new markets abroad. And she helped pass the Travel Promotion Act that will bring millions of additional visitors and billions of dollars to the U.S. each year.

Amy also chairs the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer rights, which is responsible for with oversight of antitrust enforcement at the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. As chair, Amy has continued to be a leader in helping to advance policies that boost competition and protect businesses and consumers from anti-competitive behavior.

Her work has gained national recognition. Working Mother Magazine named her as a 2008 "Best in Congress" for her efforts on behalf of working families. The American Prospect named her a "woman to watch." The Star Tribune reported on her substantial progress, calling her "a fast-moving legislator."

Amy was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. Her senior essay in college, published as the book "Uncovering the Dome," chronicles the 10-year-history behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and is still used at colleges and universities across the country.

Amy is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, who attended Loyola High School and the University of Minnesota. Amy and John have a daughter, Abigail, who is 17 and began her senior year of high school this fall.



Pillar Award for Civic Engagement

Sam Rose
Founding Partner, Greenebaum & Rose Associates





Sam Rose is a 1958 graduate of Dickinson College and a 1961 graduate of the University of Baltimore Night School of Law. He joined the Rouse Company, a Maryland-based developer, in 1960 and worked there for 12 years. In 1966, he was made a vice president and helped open a branch office in San Francisco. In 1969, he opened his own office in Los Angeles. In 1980, he founded Greenebaum & Rose Associates, where he had responsibility for the commercial development activities of the company in the Washington, D.C. area. Over the next 30 years, Rose has been responsible for the development and management of over 5 million square feet of office space in the Washington area.


In 1983, Rose purchased land near Union Station, when few developers were interested in that area. Since then, he has built more than 1 million square feet of offices there. The project houses such tenants as CNN, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2010, his work was recognized by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association when the public-private partnership that financed the New York Avenue Metro Station, in which he was a key participant, won the award for an Outstanding Implemented Project. This project created one of Washington, D.C.’s hottest submarkets, NoMa, a vibrant, growing neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue and the U.S. Capitol.


In 2001, he established the Samuel G. Rose ‘58 Scholarship at Dickinson for economically disadvantaged students. He also established scholarship programs at Peabody School of Music (part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore) and Elizabeth Seton High School. In 2011, he and his wife, Julie Walters, established a prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. Rose is an emeritus board member at Dickinson and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He also established a scholarship fund at The Washington Center that has provided support to more than 100 students over the past three years. Without Mr. Rose’s support, these students would not have had the opportunity to be in Washington, D.C.



Master of Ceremonies

Dana Bash
Chief Congressional Correspondent, CNN



Dana Bash is CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, responsible for covering the activities of both the U.S. House and Senate. In 2010, Bash earned the prestigious Dirksen Award from the National Press Foundation for her reporting on Congressional earmarks and Senatorial "holds.” Named to this position in December 2008 and based in the network’s Washington, D.C., bureau, Bash has covered the U.S. Congress for CNN since March 2006.

As a member of the Peabody Award-winning “Best Political Team on Television,” Bash covered the candidates on the trail for the network’s America Votes 2008 coverage and interviewed the Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on numerous occasions. During the course of the long primary campaign, Bash also interviewed the major Republican contenders and broke many stories, including Gov. Mitt Romney’s decision to suspend his campaign.

Prior to covering Congress and the 2008 campaign, Bash reported as CNN’s White House correspondent from the nation’s capital and from locations around the world covering President George W. Bush and his administration. Bash has reported on major stories including Hurricane Katrina, the CIA leak investigation, and the capture of Saddam Hussein. She was instrumental in CNN’s 2006 mid-term election coverage and the 2004 presidential campaign, which she covered from start to finish.

Bash has extensive experience covering Congress. Prior to her on-air position with the White House unit, Bash was the Capitol Hill producer for CNN, where she had primary editorial and newsgathering responsibility for the network's coverage of the U.S. Senate. She covered every major story on Capitol Hill, including the Republican dominance in the 2002 elections, the war on terrorism, campaign finance reform, the Florida recount and the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. Frequently cited on-air by anchors and reporters, she also provided live reporting during the evacuation of the Capitol in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Bash was one of the first journalists to report that Vermont’s Sen. Jim Jeffords would leave the Republican Party in May 2001, giving control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats. In 2002, she broke the story of the government's secret intercepts of Al Qaeda translations on Sept. 10, 2001, for which received her first Dirksen Award.

In 2000, she covered the presidential primaries, including those in Iowa and New Hampshire, traveling extensively with former Vice President Al Gore, Sen. Bill Bradley and other presidential candidates. She also helped coordinate coverage for both the Republican and Democratic vice presidential selections. In addition to the U.S. presidential race, Bash covered House and Senate races across the country as well as national conventions for both parties.

Previously, Bash was an editor in CNN's Washington bureau, where she planned and coordinated the network's coverage of Capitol Hill, the State Department and key issues such as Medicare and Social Security. Bash also served as a producer on the network's public affairs shows, including Late Edition with Frank Sesno, Evans & Novak and Inside Politics Weekend with Wolf Blitzer, producing long-form live interviews with heads of state, lawmakers and other newsmakers.

Bash graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in political communications from George Washington University.



Honorary Dinner Co-Chairs

Mr. and Mrs. William C. Ford, Jr.
Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company





As Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford, Jr. is leading the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century.


Bill Ford, Jr. joined the Board of Directors in 1988 and has been its chairman since January 1999.  He serves as chairman of the board's Finance Committee and as a member of the Sustainability Committee.  He also served as chief executive officer of the company from October 2001 to September 2006, when he was named executive chairman.


As CEO, Mr. Ford improved quality, lowered costs and delivered exciting new products. During his time in that position he took the company from a $5.5 billion loss in 2001 to three straight years of profitability.


Mr. Ford joined Ford Motor Company in 1979 as a product planning analyst and subsequently held a variety of positions in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and finance. In 1983 he began a 12-month course of study as an Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was elected chairman and managing director of Ford Switzerland in 1987. As head of Business Strategy for the Ford Automotive Group in 1990, Mr. Ford helped develop guidelines for establishing low-volume manufacturing plants in emerging markets. After being appointed general manager of Climate Control Division in 1992, he led a profit turnaround and a major improvement in product quality. Mr. Ford was elected as company vice president and head of the company’s Commercial Truck Vehicle Center in 1994. He left that position in order to assume the chairmanship of the Board of Directors’ Finance Committee in 1995.


A lifelong environmentalist, Mr. Ford is committed to increasing shareholder value by developing products that please customers and benefit society. Under his leadership, in 2000 Ford Motor Company published its first corporate citizenship report outlining the economic, environmental and social impact of company products and operations around the world. In 2004, the company completed the world’s largest brownfield reclamation project, the restoration of its Ford Rouge Center in metropolitan Detroit. Mr. Ford also championed the Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle, which was named North American Truck of the Year in 2005.


Mr. Ford’s charitable, volunteer and business efforts are highlighted by his commitment to the city of Detroit. As vice chairman of the Detroit Lions professional football team, Mr. Ford led efforts to build a new, environmentally friendly stadium in Detroit that was the site of Super Bowl XL. Through Detroit Lions Charities, he helped develop the Detroit Police Athletic League youth football program into one of the largest in the country.


Mr. Ford is Chairman of the Board of the Detroit Economic Club, a member of the Board of Trustees of both Henry Ford Health System and The Henry Ford, member of the Board of Directors of eBay Inc., and Chairman of the New Michigan Initiative of Business Leaders for Michigan. He also is a founding partner of Fontinalis Partners, LLC, a Michigan-based investment firm that acts as a strategic operating partner to transportation infrastructure technology companies around the world.


Mr. Ford was born in Detroit in 1957. He is an avid fly fisherman and car enthusiast, enjoys playing hockey and tennis, and is a black belt in the martial art of Tae Kwon Do. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University, a Master of Science degree in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Michigan.


Honorary Dinner Co-Chairs

The Honorable & Mrs. Norman Y. Mineta
Former Secretary of Transportation





Norman Y. Mineta is currently vice chair of public policy at Hill & Knowlton Strategies. He became the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation on January 25, 2001. In nominating him, President Bush said, "Norm made a reputation in the halls of Congress as someone who understands that a sound infrastructure in America will lead to economic opportunity for all Americans."

As Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Mineta oversaw an agency with 60,000 employees and a $56.3 billion budget. The U.S. transportation system includes 3.9 million miles of public roads and 2 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines. There are networks consisting of 120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public-use airports. The transportation system also includes more than 500 major urban public transit operators and more than 300 ports on the coasts, Great Lakes and inland waterways.

As a result of September 11, 2001, President Bush signed into law on November 19, 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), which among other things established the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Transportation (DOT). Secretary Mineta undertook the earth-moving efforts to transform, in the course of only a year, the TSA from a piece of paper into a fully operational agency with extensively trained new federal employees and numerous congressional deadlines met. On March 1, 2003, the TSA was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security as a fully-operational agency.

Prior to joining President Bush’s administration as Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Mineta served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, becoming the first Asian Pacific American to serve in the cabinet. He is the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served in a cabinet position.


Prior to joining the Commerce Department, he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation.

From 1975 to 1995 he served as a member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. As a member of Congress, Mr. Mineta was known for his dedication to the people of his district, for consensus building among his colleagues and for forging public-private partnerships. Mr. Mineta's legislative and policy agenda was wide and varied, including major projects in the areas of economic development, science and technology policy, trade, transportation, the environment, intelligence, the budget and civil rights. He co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as its first chair.

While in Congress, Mr. Mineta was the driving force behind passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the injustices endured by Japanese Americans during World War II. In 1995, George Washington University awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Medal to Mr. Mineta for his contributions to the field of civil rights.

Secretary Mineta and his family were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry forced from their homes and into internment camps during World War II. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Mineta joined the Army in 1953 and served as an intelligence officer in Japan and Korea. He joined his father in the Mineta Insurance Agency before entering politics in San Jose, serving as a member of its City Council from 1967 to 1971 and mayor from 1971 to 1974, becoming the first Asian Pacific American mayor of a major U.S. city. As mayor, he favored greater control of transportation decisions by local government, a position he later championed in ISTEA.

Secretary Mineta is married to Danealia (Deni) Mineta. He has two sons, David and Stuart Mineta, and two stepsons, Robert and Mark Brantner.

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