In 2013, Ott was recognized by International City/County Managers Association with their highest honor, the Award for Career Excellence in memory of Mark E. Keane. The association cited Marc’s creative approach toward challenging issues like budget deficits, homelessness, infrastructure management and education in their selection for the honor.His insistence that “a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from,” was put in to practice early in his tenure with Austin, as the City faced a $30 million budget gap that – if left uncorrected – was likely to persist and grow over time. Through a creative combination of employee-generated cost savings, thoughtful service reductions, strategic infrastructure investing and unprecedented public involvement, Ott and his team were able to navigate the fiscal challenge while preserving the current workforce.
Ott has also focused City efforts in areas critical to Austin’s future – reorganizing the City’s focus and investments around transportation, sustainability, comprehensive planning and infrastructure investment. Those efforts have revived long-stalled projects connecting Austin’s major highways and helped to focus much-needed infrastructure investments in east Austin. In 2013, those efforts realized a major milestone with the adoption of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan – the City’s first comprehensive planning document in nearly 30 years.
During Ott’s tenure, Austin has experienced a period of unprecedented economic success, attracting thousands of new jobs to Austin and billions of dollars in private investment. That has included major investments by Samsung, Facebook, Apple, Visa, LegalZoom, Hanger Orthopedic, US Farathane, HID Global, The Advisory Board Company and others. Major special events like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits continue to grow, while new events – including the United States Grand Prix and the ESPN Summer X Games – have created a home in Austin.
Throughout it all, a focus on fostering and unleashing the talents of Austin’s work force remains at the core of Ott’s approach to leadership. He has established ethics as a core value for the organization, requiring training for all employees annually, and instilling new organizational values built upon the principle of PRIDE.
Ott previously served as Assistant City Manager for infrastructure services for the City of Fort Worth. In that role, he was responsible for Fort Worth's infrastructure operations carried out by the departments of Water, Transportation and Public Works, Engineering and Aviation. Ott was also responsible for implementing one of the City Council's top strategic priorities: promoting orderly growth.
Prior to his position in Fort Worth, Ott was City Administrator for the City of Rochester Hills, Mich., where he had administrative and managerial oversight of all municipal operations.
In addition, Ott was City Manager of Kalamazoo, MI., from 1993 to 1997. He also served as that city's Deputy City Manager for two years and as an Assistant City Manager for almost a year. Prior to those posts, Ott served in leadership and support roles for the cities of Grand Rapids and Jackson, MI.
Ott earned his bachelor's degree in management with a concentration in economics from Michigan's Oakland University and a master's in public administration from the same university. He is also a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Innovation.
He and his wife, a surgical nurse and first assistant, have two children.