Captain Reuter (Roto) - US Navy (Retired) - Orlando, FL

Although his “life’s plan” has been filled with successes and blessings, growing up as a young boy, Roto watched our space program grow, and wanted to be an astronaut. It was on THAT path to fulfilling his dream, he joined the NROTC, and was commissioned into the Navy, later designated as a naval aviator. And even though he gave it his best shot, his “dream” of becoming an astronaut never came to fruition, however in the process of trying to reach it, he became a successful and respected Navy pilot and officer. One of his more demanding positions was as a test pilot, where his focus and that of his team’s, was ensuring the safety for our nation’s pilots who would eventually use the same equipment after it was fielded

For Roto, those were emotional times. During his time as a test pilot, he would test and qualify equipment and safety measures that if would have been in place just years before, might have saved, not one, but two of his lost fellow Navy pilot friends. CAPT Reuter is an inspiration to anyone that he encounters.

Once on board at NAWCTSD, as both executive officer and commander, he motivated the employees at TSD to work harder and together, to transform their organization from level-of-effort funded organization to a working capital fund (profit and loss) business model during a tenuous economic time in our recent past while still maintaining a workforce that was devoted and successful at accomplishing their mission of training the Warfighter.

His leadership “on and off base” greatly impacted many communities – not only those within his command, but also the partners of Team Orlando, and the central Florida community at large. Naval Air Warfare Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) is the principle Navy center for research, development, test and evaluation, acquisition, and product support of training systems. NAWCTSD is a lead member of Team Orlando, and has a great impact on preparing our Navy men and women through innovative simulations, training devices, and other learning technologies.

Team Orlando is a unique Central Florida-based coalition formed by U.S. leading military simulation commands, working alongside academic institutions, industry and other government agencies and organizations, and any given day, more than $16 Billion of simulation projects are managed through their Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T) epicenter. Every U.S. Warfighter’s training and preparation is touched by these technology solutions.

During his time in leadership at NAWCTSD, including his two years as executive officer and then as commander, Roto focused on an overall improvement for the NAWCTSD workforce, working with his team to make it the best place to work in Orlando. During his tenure, NAWCTSD continued to be recognized by the Orlando Sentinel as one of the best places for working families and moved up the list each year.

Roto dedicated a great deal of his time to working alongside his Team Orlando colleagues, and helping to tell the story of a unique collaborative alliance recognized as the nation’s largest cluster of Modeling, Simulation and Training while providing innovative, inspiring work together to prepare and strengthen our nation’s Warfighters. However, to many in Orlando it was a hidden jewel. And so began yet another quest to work with his team, partners and as a board member on the Central Florida Partnership, to help Central Florida community leaders and others understand the significance of the industry and the $6 billion economic impact from it each year.

While on active duty, he was also called upon to brief the governor, senators and other dignitaries on the importance of Team Orlando to Central Florida. Upon his retirement in 2012, he was engaged by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission to develop the strategic plan for the growth and diversification of the Modeling and Simulation Economic Cluster, a plan that is being followed to this day.

Also during his tenure with NAWCTSD, Roto was the founding member of the Central Florida STEM Education Council. He is still very involved with engaging youth in the multi-faceted possibilities and future careers in STEM, and does a live stream from l/ITSEC each year – straight to their classrooms — to hundreds of students all over the state of Florida Finally, when Roto retired after nearly 28 years of active duty, he continued to focus primarily on his beloved Central Florida community. He founded R-Squared Solutions, once again impacting the community, now as an entrepreneur and employer, and continues to give back to the community he loves through his involvement and servant leadership.

Roto has always said, you can be a resident or a citizen, and they are two different things. He chose the latter. His investment in relationships with our community leaders whether it be civic, business or non-profit, has truly made an impact on our region. As a longtime resident in Central Florida, a leader in a small business, and a friend of his, I have always appreciated his investment and commitment to our community and would like our state to recognize the significant accomplishments he achieved while both on active duty and since leaving the U.S. Navy.

Education and training accomplishments:

Bill “Roto” Reuter grew up in Key West, Florida, earning his diploma from Key West High School and a full scholarship to the University of Florida through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), where he earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy upon his graduation in August 1984. After being designated a naval aviator in December 1986 and completing his training for the F/A-18A Hornet, Roto served multiple deployments on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

He proceeded to the Naval Postgraduate School earning a master’s and postmaster’s degree in aerospace engineering, and was honored with the Admiral William Adger Moffett award, recognizing him as the Aerospace Engineering Student of the Year for 1992. He subsequently graduated in 1993 from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. Roto later earned a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration on Executive Leadership from IMPAC University in Punta Gorda, Florida, where he graduated with distinction. Roto has continued to gain additional certifications as an executive coach and leadership trainer as part of the John Maxwell Team. With this training, he continues to speak and coach on leadership, engaging many business leaders in Central Florida.

Professional or employment history:

Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland, Roto was assigned to numerous high-risk test pilot assignments and responsibilities, and later given the responsibility of managing upgrades to the F/A-18 Program with an annual budget of more than $200 million.

In November 1998, CAPT Reuter began his second tour at the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron, serving as the Ordnance Support Team Leader, F/A-18 A-D Project Coordinator, and was responsible for merging the F/A-18 E/F Integrated Test Team into a single F/A-18 A-F Test Project Team. He led this effort until June 2002 when he departed “Strike” to serve as the Executive Assistant to the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) in Washington, D.C.

In January 2003, CAPT Reuter reported as Chief Test Pilot of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) and subsequently assumed command in June 2004. Upon completion of his command tour, he reported to Commander of Naval Air Forces and served as the Director for Aircraft Material and Engineering.

In 2007, he was selected to lead the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), assuming his role as executive officer in May 2008 and commanding officer from May 2010 to June 2012.

Roto retired following the completion of his role as commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division/Naval Support Orlando after 28 years serving our country. He seamlessly transitioned to the business community when he formed R-Squared Solutions, LLC, a full-spectrum consulting firm specializing in leadership and executive coaching, high-performing organizational development, and DoD/federal industry business development.

Using his first-hand command experience, including leading high-tech research and development programs with annual budgets exceeding $1 billion, Roto helps his clients develop federal engagement strategies to capture DoD and federal business while working with local companies to help them adapt their technologies to other uses, thereby growing their business and producing more jobs.

Advocacy on behalf of veterans:

Roto is a 5-year board member and immediate past president of the Navy League Council of Central Florida where he spearheaded the creation of a memorial dedicated to the Navy’s legacy in Central Florida. Roto engaged city and county leaders directly to facilitate the creation of this important memorial on the hallowed ground of the U.S. Navy’s enlisted while the Recruit Training Center was in Orlando. The Lone Sailor Navy memorial is a reflection not only of our men that have served but rather a celebration Orlando’s distinction as the Navy’s first ever co-ed boot camp by erecting a woman stature dubbed the Blue Jacket Recruit, designed and constructed in Central Florida under Roto’s leadership.

Additionally, Roto serves as a mentor for the Camaraderie Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving those with the invisible wounds of war. He has coached and mentored dozens of Veterans to date with transition into the civilian workforce both professionally and personally. He also assists colleagues transitioning out of the military into entrepreneurship.

Roto is often asked to speak to several Veteran’s organizations regarding his experience transitioning into a civilian profession, leadership, and the modeling and simulation industry. Since active duty, he continues to speak at events honoring the Sea Cadets and JROTC units in Central Florida. As a member of the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force, he advises the community leaders on issues affecting our defense activities and priorities in Central Florida and the state.

Civic activities and contributions:

Roto is very committed to the serving the Central Florida community and is involved in a variety of organizations, which focus on the community’s growth, veteran well-being, and support of the Navy to name a few. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of Orlando, Inc. (Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce) and the Florida Defense Contractors Association. He is also the current chair for the Samaritan Resource Center, an organization committed to reducing homelessness specifically for residents on the east side of Orlando.

He is a member of Representative Stephanie Murphy’s modeling and simulation advisory committee along with the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force facilitated by the Orlando Economic Partnership and the National Center for Simulation. Roto continues to engage both State and Federal government officials on behalf of the many issues facing central Florida from homelessness, veteran affairs, to Florida’s role in the defense of our nation. He has participated in several trips to DC and Tallahassee on behalf of the Central Florida Partnership, now the Orlando Economic Partnership.

In 2016, Roto was elected to the board for the National Center for Simulation, an association supporting and expanding the modeling and simulation community. As a community leader, Roto serves on the Board of the Metro Orlando Chamber of Commerce and served as chairperson for Leadership Orlando (Class 80). He is a member of the NDlA’s Interservice/lndustry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (l/ITSEC) Committee focusing on STEM engagement.

Roto is also a founding member of the Central Florida STEM education council, an organization focused on aligning and augmenting STEM activities in our region.
He also served as the Waterford Chase East Homeowner’s Association President for nearly 9 years. Leading a 723-home community through the recession without the need for special assessments that would have put even more burden on our homeowners.

As a passionate citizen who understands the value of giving back, Roto often is invited to speak/lecture on leadership and other topics to the many fraternal organizations, schools and the University of Central Florida, lecturing in the Aerospace Engineering department connecting students to the practical application of engineering in flight.

Awards or honors:

Roto has over 3,000 hours of flight time in 33 different aircraft, of which more than 2,100 are in the F/A-18. He has been awarded two Legion of Merits, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Upon his retirement in 2012, he was engaged by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) to develop the strategic plan for the growth and diversification of the Modeling and Simulation Economic Cluster. Leading a dynamic group that included Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, city of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, representatives from UCF, the EDC, and National Center for Simulation, they built a plan that is still being followed to this day. In 2015, Roto was recognized by his community and peers as a Veteran of Influence.