Longtime Californian Otto Lee has dedicated much of his adult life to public and community service. After immigrating to the U.S. with his family in 1982, Otto earned a B.S. in chemical and nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley and a law degree from UC Hastings. Growing up in California helped to shape Otto’s strong interest in community and social services. Those close to him often say that public service is “in his blood”.
Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, Otto was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served onboard the USS Harry E. Yarnell as the Ship's Treasurer, Disbursing Officer and Assistant Supply Officer during the time of the first Gulf War. After his initial active duty, he continued to serve in the Naval Reserves and was recalled to active duty to serve in OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE in 2003 with the Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific that supports aircraft carriers based on the West Coast. He also served under Commander, Naval Forces Korea supporting the defense of Republic of Korea.
In January 2009, Commander Otto Lee deployed to Iraq in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM where he was stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad. He served as Chief of Drawdown Material Disposition Policy at the Multi-National Forces - Iraq Headquarters focused on base closures and materiel drawdown. For his yearlong service in the combat zone, he encountered a few close calls of mortar and rocket attacks. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Joint Services Achievement Medal, and the Iraqi Campaign Medal. He is very honored and humbled to be part of this historical accomplishment for our country, bringing our troops home safely.
Otto has been active in city government for the past decade. As a member and chair of the Sunnyvale Planning Commission, Otto helped usher in an era of smart growth and downtown revitalization. Elected to the Sunnyvale City Council in 2003, Otto was one of the city’s first Asian American city council members. He has also served as Vice Mayor and Mayor. Otto has also played a key role in transforming the city council into a more cohesive body with effective working relationships with key city staff. Otto helped usher in a new era of civility and fiscal responsibility that helped to turn the city’s $14 million budget deficit into a small surplus and thus maintain Sunnyvale’s excellent municipal bond rating of AA+.
Otto is the founder and managing partner of the Intellectual Property Law Group LLP, which has its headquarters in downtown San Jose’s historic Old Bank of America building. Otto’s focus is protecting the intellectual capital that fuels America’s innovation. He specializes in international intellectual property, trade secrets, and fighting anti-competitive business practices.
Despite maintaining a full schedule with the city council, U.S. Navy Reserves and his law firm, Otto is involved in numerous community and non-profit organizations. He served as the board chair of ACT for Mental Health, a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Nanotechnology, a member of the Sunnyvale School District’s Mini-Grant Committee, a member of the Santa Clara County Cities Association‘s Legislative Action Committee, President of the National League of Cities Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials, a member of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board, and a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Committee.
Otto has remained close to his parents, Jane and Kevin Lee, who instilled in him the values of accountability, respect for others and personal achievement. Otto is married to Sally, a CPA who currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Asian Americans for Community Involvement with three young children.
* Otto Lee is a member of the US Navy Reserve. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense