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John Rakolta Jr. (Romanian: Racolța; born June 15, 1947 in Oakland County, Michigan) is the CEO of Walbridge[2] (formerly known as Walbridge Aldinger). He was also one of the National Finance Chairs for Mitt Romney's 2008 Presidential Campaign. Rakolta's wife Terry Rakolta is the sister of Mitt's former sister-in-law, Ronna Romney.

John Rakolta
Personal details
John Rakolta, Jr.[1]

(1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 72)[1]
Oakland County, Michigan, US
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Terry Rakolta (19??-present)
Children4: 3 daughters (Paige, Eileen and Lauren) and a son (John Rakolta, Jr).
Alma materMarquette University
Harvard University BA
(civil engineering, 1969)
OccupationBusiness executive

He was offered the opportunity to be part of a consortium of five Detroit-area businessmen to provide a loan to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to convince him to resign so that the scandals he had created would end, but Rakolta declined before it actually happened, so the other four went on with it alone.

Rakolta received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Marquette University in 1970 and then studied smaller company management at the Harvard Business School.[3]

All four of Rakolta's grandparents were immigrants from Romania.[4][5] He is the Honorary-Consul General[6] for Romania in Detroit.

Rakolta's father, John Rakolta Sr. (1923–2003), was the head of Walbridge Aldinger before Rakolta. Rakolta Jr. began his career at Walbridge in 1971, became COO in 1978 and CEO in 1991. Rakolta is also on the board of the Munder Funds since 1993.[citation needed]

Aside from his work for the Romney campaign in 2008, Rakolta was a major fundraiser for the Bush campaign in 2004.[7] Most recently he was State Finance Chair for Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan. Rakolta served as the chairman of New Detroit from 2003 to 2010.[citation needed]

Rakolta's daughter Lauren Rakolta was also a major figure in Mitt Romney's campaign and previously had worked for Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. She was the finance director for Republican Rick Snyder's campaign for governor of Michigan in 2010.[8]

Rakolta was the finance chair for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.[9]

In 2015 Rakolta was co-chair of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children, which recommended reform for the school system of Detroit, including limiting the number of charter schools in the city.[10][11]

In 2015, Rakolta supported the Marco Rubio presidential campaign, 2016.[12] In July 2016 Rakolta had a private meeting with Donald J. Trump after which he supported Trump's campaign. He was a financial advisor for Trump in Michigan and helped fund Trump's transition team after the election.[13]

In 1993 the Rakoltas bought a property near Palm Beach, Florida, where they tore down a 1950s house and built a much larger one. The gardens they had there, designed by Jorge Sanchez, were given an award in 2013.[14]

In May 2018, Rakolta was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next United States Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b "Birth results for John Rakolta, Jr". Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  2. ^ "Building Design and Construction Consultants". Walbridg.come. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Constructorul, May 22, 2005, Ana-Maria Luca, Jurnalul Național
  4. ^ John Rakolta Biography Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Constructorul, 22 mai 2005, Ana-Maria Luca, Jurnalul Național, accesat la 23 aprilie 2017
  6. ^ Honorary Consulates of Romania in the US Archived June 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "The John McCain-Mitt Romney bond warms on the trail". July 19, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Destroit News article on Rakolta
  10. ^ article on Coalition for the Future of Detroit School children
  11. ^ Michigan Radio article on coalition cocharied by Rakolta
  12. ^ Troy, Tevi. "Rubio 2016: Romney ally endorsement". Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  13. ^ article mentioning Rakolta as one of funders of Trump's transition team
  14. ^ article on Rakolta gardens getting an award
  15. ^ Gray, Kathleen (March 28, 2018). "Detroit executive, GOP benefactor John Rakolta Jr. nominated by Trump as Ambassador to UAE". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "PN2021 – John Rakolta Jr. – Department of State". U.S. Congress. May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.

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