2017 NAEM EHS and Sustainability Management Forum

Rick Otis, Member; Earth & Water Group


Rick Otis, Member; Earth & Water Group

Rick has successfully managed complex public policy issues for over 35 years. He is a nationally recognized expert in the federal rulemaking process and has the demonstrated ability to use analytic skills, negotiate under pressure, build consensus, and create strategies needed to prevail in difficult, often politically contentious circumstances.


As a Board Member and current President, Rick helped create the Reduce Risks of Invasive Species Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to promoting non-regulatory solutions to the economic, environmental, and public health risks posed by invasive species. He has a long standing interest in invasive species, particularly as they affect eastern U.S. forests. He is also a Senior Advisor to the Earth & Water Group, a Washington DC-based legal and environmental consulting firm.


Rick served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation where he was part of the Administrator's senior management team responsible for the agency's policy, rulemaking, and innovation activities. In a prior role as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Environmental Information, Rick was responsible for the Agency's efforts to expand electronic government services as a new mechanism for achieving the agency's mission. This included executive-level oversight of an effort that successfully shifted the public notice and comment activities of federal regulatory agencies from independent software and paper-based systems to a single web portal at www.regulations.gov. This project dramatically increased the transparency of federal rulemaking and transformed public access.


Rick has also served as early investor, Board Member, and CFO of a software startup in the text analytics space; the senior federal affairs official of the American Plastics Council; Congressman Fred Upton's lead staff for the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; a regulatory consultant to clients of the Jefferson Group; and a regulatory analysist in the Executive Office of the President's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.


He currently serves on the Board of Distinguished Advisors for the Environment and Public Health Network of Chinese Students and Scholars and the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild. He holds a BA from Ithaca College and an MBA from The Johnson School at Cornell University.

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