Michael R. Pompeo was sworn in as the 69th Secretary of State on April 26, 2018. He previously served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 to April 2018.
Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Mr. Pompeo was serving in his fourth term as congressman from Kansas’ 4th District. He served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee and House Select Benghazi Committee.
Prior to his service in Congress, Mr. Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade. He later became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.
Mr. Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.
Jim Edwards is CEO of United Bank, a $1.7 billion community bank in central Georgia. Jim has been actively involved in the banking industry at both the state and national level over the past 25 years. In addition to serving as chairman of ABA, he currently is vice-chairman of The American Bankers Mutual Insurance Company and is a member of the FDIC Community Bank Advisory Committee. Jim previously chaired ABA’s Community Bankers Council in 2016. He was chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association in 2013 and chaired its Leadership Section in 2000.
Jim received a bachelor’s degree from Emory University, an MBA from the University of Virginia and is a graduate of ABA’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He and his wife, Dr. Laura Edwards, have three grown children and live in Forsyth, Georgia.
Terry E. Branstad is the former U.S. ambassador to China, serving from 2017 to 2020. Branstad previously served as the 39th and 42nd governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999 and 2011 to 2017.
Following three terms in Iowa’s House of Representatives, Branstad was elected as the state’s lieutenant governor in 1978. In the following election cycle, he won the governorship. Branstad took office at the age of 36, making him Iowa’s youngest chief executive. Branstad served four terms as governor, from 1983 to 1999, making him Iowa’s longest-serving governor.
Branstad founded the law firm of Branstad and Associates, LLC and accepted a partnership in Kaufman, Patee, and Branstad & Miller. Simultaneously, Branstad served as a financial adviser to Robert W. Baird and Co., Inc. and was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa. His appointment as Des Moines University’s leader came after President George W. Bush named him head of the President’s Commission for Excellence in Special Education. Beginning in 2003, Branstad spent slightly over six years as president of Des Moines University, boosting the school’s graduate ranking and seeing DMU become the Wellness Council of America’s first Platinum Recognition University. He retired from DMU in October of 2009 to launch a gubernatorial exploratory committee and officially entered the race in January 2010. He then served again as governor of Iowa from 2011 to 2017.
Jason R. Henderson is Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Director of Purdue Extension. In this role, Jason leads the statewide public engagement and research-based education in Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Health and Human Sciences, and Economic and Community Development.
Jason is a nationally recognized expert in agricultural and rural issues. He has published more than 60 research articles in academic and Federal Reserve publications on topics such as land values, entrepreneurship, demographics, the growth of knowledge-based activity in rural America, the use of electronic commerce in agricultural industries, and the growth of value-added food manufacturing activity.
Prior to being named Director of Extension, Jason served as Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He holds masters and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa. Jason was raised on a family dairy farm in Northeast Iowa.
Chris suffered a spinal cord injury while playing football at Luther College (Iowa). The doctors gave Chris a 3% chance of moving anything below his neck again. Four years later, he defied the odds and walked across stage at his college graduation with his fiancé, Emily Summers. The video went viral twice, garnered 300 million+ views, and caught the eye of the country’s top media outlets (Good Morning, America, TodayShow.com, NBC Nightly News, CBS, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, etc.).
Three years later, Chris attempted another incredible feat – this time, perhaps the most important walk of his life – down the aisle with his wife, Emily. As with his Graduation Walk, Chris prepared relentlessly, spending four hours per day in the gym. Chris and Emily joyfully conquered the challenge – and walked seven yards down the aisle after their wedding ceremony. Seven yards symbolized the seven-year anniversary of his injury. Their beautiful story once again captured the heart of the world, with coverage ranging from nearly all of the top-tier U.S. media outlets to media in Germany, Italy and London, to name a few.
Chris is a well-respected motivational speaker and speaks at numerous events across the country. He was named to the ITA Group’s 2018 Hottest Keynote Speakers List, alongside Michael Strahan, Magic Johnson and Mark Cuban. Chris’s message focuses on the fact that we all face challenges, but our circumstances don’t define us – we do. With inspiring anecdotes and positive action steps, Chris connects with his audience in a genuine, entertaining and impactful way. Additionally, Chris coauthored a book with his dad; he and Emily released another book The Seven Longest Yards with the foreword written by Tim Tebow; and a feature documentary about his story titled, 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story, debuted in 2021 on major streaming platforms including Netflix.
Chris created the Chris Norton Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with spinal cord and neuromuscular disabilities by providing opportunities that would not otherwise exist. This is achieved through supporting the purchase of rehabilitation equipment for organizations/facilities and hosting the Chris Norton Wheelchair Camp, a free and accessible camp for kids and their families. To date, the Chris Norton Foundation has raised over $1 million dollars.
Chris and Emily have adopted five amazing girls and a boy. They have fostered a total of 18 children. They are both deeply committed to providing a safe, loving home for children in need. They are truly a remarkable couple, who positively impact those around them.