Jack London: An Outsider’s Path to Public Service
While a political outsider seeking the office of Chester County Treasurer this year is interesting, there is much more to the story about Jack London. London, who lives in Avondale, has followed a very unusual path to public service.
London was born and raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He sold flowers at his father’s flower shop in the Germantown section of Philadelphia to help pay for his tuition at William Penn Charter School.
About his childhood, London said “I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” and he learned the importance of hard work at an early age.
Growing up in a family that owned a small business taught Jack the “you work, you win” philosophy. Those words were instilled in him by his father, and they provided guidance throughout his life.
“If you really want something, you’ve got to go out and get it,” London said recalling his father’s words. “It’s never going to just come to you.”
London graduated from Temple University in 1996 with a degree in criminal justice and as a member of the criminal justice honors society. He was also a two-time national champion, All-American powerlifter.
After college, he enrolled in the Delaware County Police Academy, where he studied accident investigation and graduated as president of his class.
London was a patrolman for the Warminster Police Department in Bucks County for three years.
He left his job as a police officer to compete in professional bodybuilding after being discovered by one of the executives of Gold’s Gym Enterprises. He then went on to win awards such as Mr. North America in 1996 and the bronze medal in the 1997 World Bodybuilding Championships.
Throughout his career as a professional athlete, London wanted to return to the “greatest job” he’s ever had, which was police work. He came back to Pennsylvania to continue his career as a police officer. A hiring freeze averted him from becoming a county detective.
One day while training London was approached by an executive from New York Life who asked him about his interest in the insurance business, thus beginning London’s 20 years of financial and business experience.
After his four years of contributions to New York Life, he began work at General Electric’s financing division, GE Capital where he was a senior level executive for eight years. This led London to becoming involved in equipment finance.
His credentials at GE helped him become a top producer for Siemens where he was responsible for $40-$50 million in assets.
After eight years at Siemens, London then started his own company, London Financial LLC, which specializes in insurance, investments, equipment financing and private equity along with business consulting.
“My experience in financial services is a broad spectrum,” London said.
Before moving to Chester County in 2011, he and his wife, Debbie lived in Delaware for five years because of her job at JP Morgan-Chase in Wilmington.
The Londons decided to come back to Pennsylvania and settle in Chester County due to the quality of schools for their daughter, Brooke.
London sees running for public office as a way for him to give back to the community in Chester County, which he refers to as “the greatest place to live.”
His first attempt at political office was an unsuccessful run for state Senate in 2016.
“In losing, you win,” London reflected. “God has a path for us and it’s not always what you think it’s going to be.”
London is now seizing the opportunity to implement his experience in public and private sectors in his campaign for county Treasurer.
He saw his defeat last year as the beginning of the new wave of public servants.
“I think that the wave is starting, but we’re not there yet,” London said. “I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman.”
London divided the management of county finances into two parts, the “payables” and “receivables.”
He first explained that the “payables” are in the realm of the county Controller, Norm MacQueen. This includes county pensions, payroll and vendors.
London then explained that the Treasurer handles the “receivables,” which is the county’s revenue. If elected, London will manage Chester County’s tax revenue and will help decide how the money will be invested.
He will also sit on the board for the Chester County pension system, which also includes the Controller and the three county Commissioners.
The Treasurer’s office is a natural fit for London. His background in the spectrum of finance, business and as a police officer have prepared him for his campaign for Treasurer.
As a former police officer, he understands what it’s like to do something for the general public.
He sees his Six Sigma certification, which focuses on process efficiency of companies, as a useful tool for the Treasurer’s office.
“It will help the Treasurer’s office from a process management perspective,” London said.
London believes that he has a very good chance of winning the Treasurer’s office. However, he remains humble and stated that “nothing in life is ever for sure.”
When he moved to Chester County, London never saw himself as “political.” Then he was asked by constituents to run for office.
It became a self-actualizing moment for London, as he believed public service to be a calling.
“I know what I’m supposed to be doing in my life,” London said modestly. “It’s a very powerful thing that I never felt before in my life.”
London wants the people of Chester County to know that he will work diligently to save them money and make sure their tax dollars are not wasted.
“I’m always going to do the right things, the things that make the most sense for taxpayers,” London said
He was also inspired by seeing the need to become a leader in the county and the opportunity to give back to the community.
“It’s going to take a guy like me who has guts and fortitude,” London said. “I’m going to put myself upfront because I believe that the people of the state and this country are looking for leadership.”
The days of people saying that Jack London or any other outsider don’t have enough political experience are over. He is excited about his run for Treasurer and the taxpayer perspective he will bring to county government.
“I’m just getting started,” London said.
Written by Press Relations Intern, Brenden Curry