CFO of the Year – Nonprofit – Carter BloodCare
Aveteran in the blood bank and nonprofit industries, Walter Ott is considered an expert in his field.
After receiving his degree in accounting from the University of Houston, he served as chief financial officer at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston for 10 years before coming to Fort Worth in 1996 to work for Carter BloodCare as CFO.
“I have always enjoyed numbers, percentages, averages, etc. I have always worked as an accountant in some type of industry and enjoy working with other people on running a successful business while providing a needed service,” he says. “The position in 1985 with the local blood bank in Houston was my first job with a charitable not-for-profit company. I quickly realized the great feeling you receive when you see first-hand how lives are changed by what the organization does and you are a part of it.”
Carter BloodCare, Texas’ largest blood center, operates on behalf of patients in 58 Texas counties. Carter provides almost 400,000 units of lifesaving blood components for patients annually and is the primary provider of blood components and transfusion services for 300 Texas health care facilities, including regional children’s hospitals, central trauma centers, major cancer centers and transplant centers. Physicians order blood for up to 800 patients each day within Carter’s service area, and most patients receive more than one transfusion.
Colleagues describe Ott as a problem-solver and a team builder who has been instrumental in both strategic and financial planning for CBC. He has served on the financial committee of America’s Blood Centers and collaborates with fellow CFOs at other blood centers to identify and implement best financial practices. Under Ott’s leadership, his colleagues say, Carter is in sound financial shape, allowing it to continue carrying out its mission for the foreseeable future.
“I have always worked with a talented team of industry experts, both within the company and vendors, as partners to help analyze, plan and manage an efficient operation to serve the community,” Ott says. “In 1998 we completed the merger of the Fort Worth and Dallas blood centers to form Carter BloodCare. In 2001 we were invited to provide blood and extend our operations to hospitals in Waco. In 2007 we were invited and successfully merged with the blood center in Tyler to provide blood to East Texas.”
This year Carter is building a 29,000-square-foot facility in Waco to consolidate operations and continue to serve Central Texas. “We continue to look for ways to grow the various nontraditional blood bank services we offer to the local health care facilities like stem cell collections,” Ott says.
Married for 42 years, Ott and his wife have a daughter and son-in-law and two grandchildren. When not playing with his grandkids, Ott enjoys a round of golf and volunteers through his church for several charitable causes and Rotary Club. He is the district chairman for the Rotary Global Blood Drive Network and as a Rotarian he also delivers for Meals on Wheels. A little known fun fact about Ott: He attended the original Woodstock Festival in 1969.
“And I’m a fan of ZZ Top,” he says.
What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
You mean other than to buy Apple stock when it was selling for $150? It may sound boring but my father said to always save something from your paycheck for the future.
What books/publications do you read to stay ahead in your industry?
There are several trade magazines I enjoy about blood banking, insurance, investments, and local business publications like the Fort Worth Business Press.
Who would you say is your hero/someone you look up to, and why?
I don’t have any.
– Betty Dillard