Robert A. "Rob" Gleason, Jr. is an American businessman who currently serves as Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.
Early life, professional career and memberships
A 1961 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, he is Chairman and CEO of Gleason, Inc., a business started by his grandfather. Gleason joined the business in 1965, after four years of active duty as a Captain in the United States Air Force, and was appointed agency in president in 1970, and served in the position until 1994. The company is ranked among the 150 largest property and casualty insurance brokers in the United States. In 2010, The Gleason Agency and Gleason Financial merged with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, the fourth largest brokerage in the world.
In 1998, Gleason was appointed a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Gleason also served as a trustee of Saint Francis University (which was, at the time, a college) from 1978-1988, and was Vice Chair from 1991-1992. He is also affiliated with various civic, philanthropic and professional organizations, and has served as director and secretary for the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and is also a trustee and former Chairman of Memorial Medical Center, a trustee of Conemaugh Health System, and Chairman of the Parish Finance Council of the Church of Our Mother of Sorrows. In May 2006, President Bush nominated Gleason to the Commission on Presidential Scholars.
He served in Governor Dick Thornburgh's cabinet as Secretary of the Commonwealth from 1985 to 1987. In 1993, the late Governor Bob Casey nominated him to be a member of the five-person Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a position in which he served until 1997. In 1997, Governor Tom Ridge appointed Gleason to the State Transportation Commission.
Republican Party politics
In 1996, he succeeded his father, Robert A. Gleason Sr., as Chairman of the Cambria County Republican Committee. In 2002, the political Web site PoliticsPA named him to their list of Pennsylvania's Best County Party Chairs, saying that Gleason "brings in money and gets things done" in a "tough county for any Republican."
In 2004, Gleason was named co-chairman of Catholics for Bush in Pennsylvania. He was elected chairman of the State Republican Party in June 2006, following the retirement of Eileen Melvin.
In 2009, Politics Magazine ranked Gleason and his brother Chris first on their "The Pennsylvania Report 100" list of influential Republican figures in Pennsylvania politics and noted that he was "a hard worker and efficient manager of the state GOP." Gleason currently serves as a member of the Catholic Advisory Committee of the Republican National Committee.
During Gleason's tenure as state party chair, the Republican presidential nominee has failed to carry Pennsylvania, though the party has consistently maintained control of the State Senate and had maintained control of the State Attorney General's office until 2012. The party had a difficult election cycle in 2006, with the re-election of Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. That year, Democrats also took control of the State House for the first time in Gleason's tenure as state chairman. However, in 2010, the party had the most successful cycle in its history, winning that year's gubernatorial election, a Senate seat, five new Congressional seats, retaining control of the State Senate, and retaking control of the State House. In 2012, the party also won 12 new county courthouse majorities and one victory for statewide court.