Peter F. Secchia
Born April 15, 1937, in Englewood, NJ, Peter F. Secchia served in the US Marine Corps (1956-1959). Mr. Secchia was graduated with a degree in Economics from Michigan State University (1963). He holds honorary doctorate degrees from several universities including his alma mater. He is Chairman of the Board of Universal Forest Products, Inc. and Chairman of River City Food Company.
Honored in 1994 as Michigan’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year, Mr. Secchia was recognized as the state’s outstanding self-made businessman. In 1995, the Economic Club of West Michigan named him “Businessman of the Year.” As the US Ambassador to Italy from 1989-1993, Mr. Secchia was hailed for his discretion, endless work hours and ceaseless travel and was presented with the Cavaliere di Gran Croce (The Knight of the Great Cross), Italy’s highest award. He also received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award.
In his 1994 State of the State Address, Governor John Engler appointed Mr. Secchia to chair “The Secchia Commission” and in 1999 the Governor appointed him to chair the Michigan Commission on Public Employees Pension and Retiree Health Benefits. Once Chairman of the Kent County (MI) Republican Committee and later 5th Congressional District Chairman, Mr. Secchia was elected by his party to be Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman, first in 1980 and again in 1984 and 1988. He was Vice-Chairman of the RNC (1984-1989) and host Chairman of the 1985 Republican National Committee Midwest Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids.
He is a close personal friend/advisor to former President Gerald R. Ford. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and past Chairman of its Endowment Committee, he chaired “Humor and the Presidency.” He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy at Rice University and a Trustee (and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee) for John Cabot University of Rome, Italy. In August 2001, the National Governors Association honored Mr. Secchia for his distinguished service to state government.