Dr. Paul Otte served as a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Paul’s interest in leadership began when he was 17 and enlisted in the Marine Corps, leaving four years later as a Corporal.  It was there that he developed the leadership principles that guided him throughout his life.

The significance of Marine Corps philosophy grew more apparent to Paul after reading Warfighting, the US Marine Corps’ manual of military philosophy. This manual, written under the direction of the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Al Gray, describes the General’s philosophy on warfighting, serving as the authoritative basis of Marine Corps’ doctrine. Seeking more knowledge on the subject, Paul contacted Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, where he was referred to the grandfather on warfighting philosophy, General Gray. After reaching out to General Gray, Paul was invited to come stay with General Gray and his wife, Jan, to visit and learn more. With General Gray’s tutelage, Paul not only learned about Marine Corps philosophy, but became fast friends with General Gray and Jan – enjoying a long-lasting, close, working, and friendly relationship with them both.

The Corps’ influence on Paul and his leadership became clear through his work and interactions with General Gray. It was the result of this work that Paul and General Gray co-authored The Conflicted Leader and Vantage Leadership. Also during his time with General Gray, Paul accumulated ­a compilation of statements made by General Gray and remembered by Marines everywhere, which in 2014, Paul assembled into a book of “Grayisms.” The resulting product, Grayisms, is downloadable and available for free at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies website.

Dr. Otte’s professional interests included speaking, leadership programs, coaching, and scenario based leadership. Paul Otte was a self-proclaimed “recovering accountant” who began his business career at Arthur Young, a national public accounting firm, where he rose to the level of audit manager, then personnel director, before turning to higher education.  He first served as a VP for Business at Macomb Community College in Michigan, where he learned to focus on the customer (the student) and how to employ business principles to education.

In 1986, Paul became president of Franklin University in central Ohio. There he led a team of dedicated people who created a unique higher education model where students came first, courses were developed by professional educators and delivered by business professionals – all with limited resources resulting in affordable tuition. University courses were also offered on-line and through unique partnerships with community colleges and the military.  As a result, central Ohio students could take classes with students from around the country and the world.  After twenty-one years as president, Paul became Director of the university’s newly created Leadership Center in 2007, where he served until October 2012. In November of 2012, Paul became a Founder of the Ross Leadership Institute whose mission is to raise the quality of leadership in business, education, nonprofit and government organizations.

He continued to serve as a board member of State Auto Mutual (Lead Director and Chair of Audit and Independent Committees), Cooper State Bank (Chair of Audit Committee), and R.C. Olmstead until his death in 2015. His past Boards include Rockhill Insurance Company, BroadStreet Capital Partners, Inc., and Central Ohio Medical Group (COMG), plus over a dozen nonprofit organizations. Paul earned his B.S. (accounting) and MBA (finance) from Wayne State University and his doctorate (leadership) from Western Michigan University.  In addition, he received an honorary Associate Degree from Macomb Community College.


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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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