Born and raised in Southern New Jersey by a strong, single mother and one of a kind grandmother, Robert was destined to be a people person. His first business experience was in the mid- 70’s at a clothing store owned by his mother, Ann. Robert would greet customers at the door with a smile and would always get the same in return.
At age 6 he put on his first Martial Arts uniform, unaware that it was to be a way of life for him.
From delivering newspapers, operating boardwalk games, working in cafés and truck driving, a strong work ethic was obviously in his blood. From 1986 to 1989, Robert held the position of Chief Instructor/Office Manager for the Dragon Gym, whose main headquarters was located in Exton, Pennsylvania. The school had over 1,500 students and spent over $25,000 per month in yellow pages advertising alone. It was during this time while managing, teaching and learning, Robert’s natural abilities in working with people began to blossom.
In time, Robert returned to New Jersey and opened his own school named the Traditional Martial Arts Institute. With the great success and growth the school demonstrated within the first year, he began to realize his strengths and the positive changes that he could offer to others.
On October 6, 1990, Robert’s life took a tragic turn. While out with a good friend, a confrontation occurred which Robert did his best to avoid. Sadly, when all was said and done, a man cracked open a door, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
Through the divine providence, the love of family and friends, a special nurse, a wonderful and very talented neurosurgeon and an ancient principle he learned in his Martial Art study called “Pil-Sung”, Robert survived. However, he was far from unscathed. The bullet took away his ability to taste, smell and see. The darkness and uncertainty also brought him great fear and pain. Through strength, courage and indomitable spirit deriving from his study of Pil-Sung (Certain Victory), Robert turned the page and moved on with his life.
In 1995, Robert kissed his family goodbye and with two gym bags and $500 in his pocket, hopped on a one way flight to the Great Northwest. On March 13th, 1995, he opened his first business since his he became blind; the Modern Day Café. The café provided breakfast and lunch for over 900 employees of the Western Regional Center of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, located just north of the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.
During the 10 years that followed, he began to find both vision and purpose in life once again. He began to work with others who suffered horrific injuries similar to his own while at the same time sharing his story to all walks of life.
His catering varied from small meetings to international conferences, with professional men and women from all walks of life. Along with this business, he initiated a contract which fed 52 children a day, at the daycare center, located at the same government complex, where Modern Day Café was located.
Also during those years, Robert put his Korean Martial Arts uniform back on and began to teach and share his story to others all over the country. Most important, than all the rest during those years, Robert found love in his life and is a proud parent of two beautiful children.
On September 1, 2004 after a two year court battle, the Washington State Department Services for the Blind, Business Enterprise Program and Robert J. Ott were awarded the contract to become the ones in charge, of providing the labor, which feeds the 3rd largest US Military Site in the United States, known as, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Through this Robert became the President/CEO of the corporation with all of the responsibilities required through the contractual agreement.
Robert’s number of employees have been as high as 830 and his dedication to the US Soldiers became well known. He named this business, Certain Victory Food Services Inc., which follows his beliefs in strength, courage and indomitable spirit. He has been a speaker for the Wounded Warriors numerous times, and has spoken at many events, including speaking to many students across the nation, along with the schools located on base. In December of 2008, he was the Key Note Speaker for all 600 Doctors and Nurses at Madigan Hospital. Each day Robert always shows his appreciation and recognition to his destiny in life. Often he feels that there is more vision in his heart and spirit today, than ever before.
In 2007, Robert completed his book, titled “Certain Victory” and has shared his story of going from a victim to a survivor, to countless people all over the world. Currently, Robert is an official member of the Washington State Department Services for the Blind, Business Enterprise Program Committee. He shares to all, his great respect for the program and values it, as a great importance in his life. His admiration to the State Agency for the blind, along with his support, to both the clients and staff, are displayed often through the volunteering of his personal time.
When asked to take over the Owner/Operator position, for the food services of the OB2 building here, in Olympia under a two year contract, Robert embraced it. He views this as an opportunity to build the professionalism and customer service to the level it needs to be for all of the hard working and dedicated State Employees who work in that building.
When asked what he was going to name this business, Robert had no idea. That was until he heard his son called out by his nickname, “Bobby J.” Needless to say for a boy who at the time was turning 4 years old and having a Café named after him, the future will surely have no limitations.
On August 31, 2013, the 5 year contract with the Washington State Department Services for the Blind and Robert J. Ott, ended with Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Since then, the business was on several extensions with great uncertainty. Wednesday April 20, 2011 Robert received a phone call, at 11:00AM, informing him that he was just awarded the new Full Food Service Contract to feed the US Army, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for another 5 years. It took much strength, courage, indomitable spirit and teamwork to achieve this success, along with the Past Performance Evaluations, which made it all come together. Once again, another story of Certain Victory!
For more information on Robert J. Ott, his book, filmed documentary, Businesses, Martial Arts credentials or the many numerous articles and TV coverage that has been about his journey in life, feel free to go to his personal website www.certainvictory.com