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What We Learned About Rick Otness ...


Rick shared that he has been a member since May 2007. He shared that he probably wouldn't have discovered Rotary if it hadn't been for Fred Brandt's negotiating skills. Rick wanted Fred to be a co-chair of Citizens for Dunwoody, but Fred insisted the only way he would agree was if Rick committed to attending a Rotary meeting.

Rick put off attending a meeting as long as possible, but finally fulfilled his pledge in May 2007, when Jackie and Scott Cuthbert were briefing the Club on their project which was giving the gift of vision to people in Costa Rica. Rick was so impressed with the project that he became a member within two weeks of attending his first Rotary meeting. He has served for 11 of the past 13 years on the Board of Directors, and was President of the Rotary Club in FY 2018, as well as serving as the Presidential Advisor to both Cathie Brumfield and Ardy Bastien.

Before joining Rotary Rick lived/worked in nine different states. He was born in Illinois, moved to Minnesota at the age of two, and stayed there until he left to attend college. He attended one year at Drake University (in Iowa) before transferring to Harvard (in Massachusetts), where he earned an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration.

After Graduating from Harvard, Rick worked for UPS for 21 years before accepting the management buyout in 1995. During that time he moved around the country doing jobs in South Carolina, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Connecticut before meeting and marrying Maureen (his wife of 36 years) and becoming a father in 1990 when his son Eric was born. Before leaving UPS he was one of three people to launch the UPS Marketing Department, and participated in the launch of several new innovative service offerings by UPS. Among those were the introduction of Next Day Air service, Early AM service, as well as founding the pricing function within the Marketing Department, and introducing discounted rates.

Since taking the buyout, Rick has been working with startups. He is still looking for a real success in startups, but enjoys helping to create programs and companies. Rick attributes his continued stay in Rotary, to the friendships he has formed with people he probably would never have met, but for being in Rotary. That and the projects that he has been a part of over the past 14 years have kept him an involved and active Rotarian. 

What Rick didn't - and wouldn't have - mentioned is that he was President Cathie's choice as Rotarian of the Year last year. And he said he didn't have any pictures, but we did in our archives - from Special Olympics basketball skills workshop and a GRSP Leadership weekend.

Posted by Carter Stout
September 9, 2020

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