May 1, 2017
The York County Bar is proud of the legal community's tradition and continuing commitment to upholding and improving our system of justice. This year, the Bar will celebrate Law Day on May 1, 2017 and honor local civic achievements.
The 2017 theme provides the opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Through its Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, this transformative amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played a pivotal role in extending the reach of the Bill of Rights to the states. Ratified during Reconstruction a century and a half ago, the Fourteenth Amendment serves as the cornerstone of landmark civil rights legislation, the foundation for numerous federal court decisions protecting fundamental rights, and a source of inspiration for all those who advocate for equal justice under law.
This year's guest speaker will be Governor Thomas Wolf.
Whether as a business owner or governor, Tom Wolf is a leader consistently taking on the status quo and trying to help middle class families. Tom Wolf is a different kind of leader, and he has been a different kind of governor.
Tom grew up in a small south central Pennsylvania town in York County and still lives in the house he was brought home to from the hospital.
Tom left York County to attend college at Dartmouth, but he interrupted his studies to join the Peace Corps and served two years in a small village in India before returning to finish his undergraduate degree. He later earned graduate degrees from the University of London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While finishing his PhD, Tom worked as a forklift operator and warehouse worker in the family business, the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products based in York, Pennsylvania. After graduating, his first full-time job was running a Tru-Value hardware store in Manchester, Pennsylvania.
Later, with two cousins, Tom took a risk by securing a loan to buy the family business. Over the course of 25 years, Tom and his cousins grew the Wolf Organization — eventually more than quintupling the business in size — before selling the company in 2006.
Then in 2007, Tom took the job of secretary of revenue in Governor Ed Rendell’s cabinet, where he instituted reforms that grew and strengthened the state lottery and laid the foundation for millions of dollars in additional benefits for Pennsylvania’s seniors.
In early 2009, in the depths of the recession, Tom returned to The Wolf Organization — the family company he had spent more than two decades building and growing — when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Tom immediately ended his gubernatorial campaign, bought back the business, and got to work reinventing the company.
Through innovation and smart investments, Tom was able to turn the company around. He changed the Wolf Organization’s business model, transforming it from solely a supplier of other businesses’ products into a company that sources its own American-made cabinets and competes directly with overseas manufacturers. Tom also made stronger investments in his employees because he knew that it was their work that truly made the Wolf Organization successful. So at a time when many businesses were cutting benefits, Tom continued to provide his employees comprehensive health and retirement benefits and continued returning 20 to 30 percent of the company’s profits back to workers.
Tom’s leadership philosophy is an extension of his lifelong investment in community development. In addition to serving on and leading the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to education, health, welfare, economic development, culture, and the arts, Tom has rolled up his sleeves to help build a Little League baseball field in his community, volunteered in soup kitchens, and painted a local school. Tom and Frances, his wife of 39 years, still live in York County and have two grown daughters, Sarah and Katie.
On January 20, 2015, Tom was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor.
Since taking office,Tom has taken a number of steps to make Pennsylvania a better place. As Pennsylvania governor, Tom is focused on three simple goals: jobs that pay, schools that teach, and government that works.