Otto was born in 1939 and spent his first 18 years on a farm in northern Indiana. He received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue. His introduction to Hanover came in 1964 when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers assigned him to work at CRREL. While there, Otto met and married his wife Mary Fregeau, who was working as a medical secretary at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic. Otto and Mary have been residents of the Burlington, Vermont, area for the past 47 years. They have two children and three grandchildren. Otto has been a member of the Assembly of Overseers since 1999.
Otto is the founder and Board Chairman of Engelberth Construction, Inc., a General Contracting firm that was founded in 1972 and currently has offices in Colchester, Vermont, and Keene, New Hampshire. The company employs more than 125 people and has annual sales ranging from 80 to 100 million dollars.
Otto has twice been a candidate for the Vermont State Senate from Chittenden County. Prior to his retirement, he was an active member of the Vermont Business Roundtable, serving on the health and economic development task forces.
In 2004 – 2005, Otto served on Coalition 21, a group made up of 21 people from government, health care providers, health insurers, public advocates, and business. This group was charged with making recommendations on health care reform in Vermont. Out of that experience, Otto authored a paper titled “Fixing Vermont’s Coming Health Insurance Train Wreck,” in which he discussed many of the issues that he believes need to be considered when developing a plan for health care reform. This paper, as well as many of his other papers on decision making, economics, and other topics can be accessed on his website, IsThereACreator.com.