John Suddarth for CongressJohn Suddarth for Congress

John Suddarth is a native of Prince William County. He grew up in Cherry Hill and graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School.  John has a bachelor of science degree in engineering from West Point with a minor in economics.  John’s career in the Army started as an artillery officer stationed in Germany. He left the Army as a captain after commanding a field artillery battery in the Rapid Deployment Force based in California. His accomplishments in the Army include earning the coveted Ranger Tab and being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

After the Army John worked as an aerospace engineer at GE before attending business school at Stanford University.  There he earned both an MBA and a Certificate in Public Management.  After business school John became a successful senior corporate executive running companies with multinational operations in over 15 countries.  His general management career has included stints as president of AMF Reece, the industrial sewing machine company, president of Morse Controls, chief operating officer of AMF Bowling Products, president of Humminbird, and president of the Teleflex Aerospace and Commercial Groups.

John’s specialty as a corporate executive was turnarounds. He brought innovative approaches to management, finance, marketing, production, and “lean” business systems that were so successful he was asked to deploy them across multiple divisions of large corporations.  Within the businesses he led, John was known as a motivator, team builder and mentor.  His companies were very competitive and excelled on a global basis.

John’s broad international experience also gives him a unique understanding of what it takes for America to be competitive with other countries.  For example, only in the US is the employer primarily responsible for an employee’s healthcare. Elsewhere the government fulfils this role.  Our healthcare also costs twice as much as it does in other countries without a better result. This means that an American worker has to be far more productive than a German, Japanese, or other nationality just to cover his or her family’s healthcare cost.  Our expensive healthcare system serves as a huge disincentive to American employment and needs to be reformed in order to make America truly competitive.  Reforming healthcare will give our workers the opportunity to have secure, well-paying jobs and will greatly grow our economy.

After 20 years as a corporate executive John struck out on his own.  He founded and is the principal of Linden Tree Capital, which has equity in private companies and owns commercial real estate. He is a co-investor in and a director of Lacas Coffee Company, which under his and his partners’ leadership has grown and thrived. He also served as the elected Board Chairman for Hanover Habitat for Humanity, a volunteer position, where he used his business and board experience to help the organization improve its fundraising and increase its home construction.

Throughout his career, John has worked with others to create trust, build consensus and establish common objectives in order to create meaningful and positive change.  John served on the board of three different 50-50 Joint Ventures, one in Japan, one in China, and one with operations in the US, UK, and Singapore.  With no side having a majority share and no direction from the board, stagnation had set in at each JV.  John worked to establish mutual trust and led the other board members in reaching consensus on establishing a vision and future direction.  With united boards, each of these JV’s was able to make the painful changes necessary to thrive and grow in the market place. 

As chairman of the local Habitat For Humanity, John and the executive director realized they had to create effective relationships and trust with partner families, neighbors, local businesses, churches, the local and state governments, the public and really every stakeholder in order for Habitat to overcome resistance and successfully build more homes.  Today that Habitat is respected across the county and seen as a vital part of the local community.

These experiences led John to believe one does not have to have complete control—or a majority—in order to be successful and move things in the right direction.  One just has to be willing to listen and be collaborative while remaining focused on his or her objectives. John would bring this same leadership ability and willingness to listen, cooperate, compromise and build consensus to the House of Representatives.

Deeply concerned about the direction of our country and a GOP seemingly hell-bent on reversing all the progressive accomplishments of the last 100 years, John has decided to devote himself to running for and then serving in Congress.  He will be a progressive voice strongly in support of universal healthcare, an excellent education system for every child in every zip code, action on climate change, reduction of gun violence, a rational foreign policy and major investment in infrastructure.  He also wants to work on campaign finance reform so that government turns its attention away from big donors and toward average Americans. He believes America can be a far better place to live, work, raise a family and to enjoy a healthy and prosperous retirement, but only if we embrace a progressive agenda, address our many problems and issues, and learn again to work together for the common good.